Barnabas Prayer Focus: Uzbek, Africa & Kazakh

August 31, 2013 by  
Filed under newsletter-world

Uzbekistan – Christian children’s camp raided

Christian children’s camp raidedChildren at a Christian camp were subjected to questioning, and the homes of the camp’s organisers searched, when it was raided by the authorities. Four bus-loads of officials, including police officers and riot police, descended on the camp in Mironkul, Samarkand region, on 23 July.

Police officers brandishing rubber batons collected statements from all 9 adults and 22 children present, including small children. Although all involved were eventually released, equipment and Christian resources were confiscated, and it is thought that charges will be brought against the camp’s four organisers. The homes of these four were searched, and further items, including Bibles, were seized. Harsh laws exist in Uzbekistan to regulate religious activity, including the unauthorised holding of children’s meetings and the teaching of religious beliefs without official permission.

Pray for the peace of the Lord to come upon all who were present during the raid, particularly the children, who may have been traumatised by what they have experienced. Give thanks for those who conduct children’s ministry in Uzbekistan despite the danger they are putting themselves in, and pray that the children to whom they minister will grow up to be strong men and women of God. Pray that legal proceedings against the leaders of the camp will not continue, and for greater freedom for Christians in Uzbekistan to carry out their ministry in peace.

Central African Republic – Islamist rebels attack Christian villages

Islamist rebels attack Christian villagesOur Christian brothers and sisters in the Central African Republic (CAR) continue to suffer at the hands of Islamist rebels who seized control of the country in March. At least 15 Christians were killed, and around 1,000 people displaced, in raids on 14 Christian villages in Bouar in early August. Eye-witnesses reported that the rebels threw the bodies of those killed, who included a five-month-old baby, into a river.

A senior Christian leader, the Rev. Nicolas Guerékoyamé, was arrested in Bangui, the capital, for criticising the new regime during a sermon. The church leader has spoken out against the regime for failing to take action against the militants who are persecuting civilians. Since the military coup, the rebels have been rampaging through the country, killing and raping innocent people and looting their property. In general, they have targeted Christian areas and spared Muslim ones.

Pray that the cruel and merciless activities of the Seleka rebels will be brought to an end, and that stability will soon be brought to CAR. Pray that Mr Guerékoyamé will be released and that the government will allow freedom of speech to all CAR’s citizens. The country’s new leader has said privately that he wants to make CAR, which is around 50% Christian and only 15% Muslim, an Islamic republic. Pray that he will not succeed in making 85% of the country’s population second-class citizens.

Kazakhstan – Detained pastor at risk of psychiatric abuse

Pastor Bakhytzhan KashkumbayevPlease continue to pray for Bakhytzhan Kashkumbayev, a pastor who has been in prison in Kazakhstan since May for “inflicting serious harm to health”, following a complaint made by a church member’s mother. Lyazzat Alamova’s mother claimed her daughter suffered psychological harm after attending the pastor’s church; Lyazzat herself has repeatedly rejected the claim.

Pastor Kashkumbayev has launched a hunger strike and appealed to the UN to protect him from psychiatric abuse by the authorities. A police investigator has ordered that the pastor be transferred to a psychiatric assessment centre, where the church leader fears that “special substances” will be used to make him insane. His concerns are not without grounds; when the allegations were originally made, Lyazzat was given unspecified injections to make her passive.

Pray that the Lord will protect Pastor Kashkumbayev from harm by the authorities and give him the strength to face whatever tactics are used against him.

– barnabas team

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