IRAN: Update - Acquitted Believer Released From Evin Prison
Mostafa Bordbar, a Christian resident of Rasht (northern Iran), was unexpectedly released from Evin prison on 3 November, following 11 months in prison. All charges were dropped after a hearing by the appeals court on 30 October.
In an appearance before the appeals court, Mostafa was granted an opportunity to defend himself regarding the charges that were made against him. As a result of the hearing, all charges were dropped and he was granted release from prison.
In June of this year, an initial court had sentenced Mostafa to 10 years in prison for being part of a 'dissident group' and 'undermining national security'. However, his lawyer, Ms Shima Ghousheh, a member of the Human Rights Commission in Iran, appealed the decision in hopes that with the statements she prepared the charges would be dropped.
Mostafa was arrested along with 50 other Farsi-speaking Christians on 27 December 2012. These believers had gathered in northern Tehran to celebrate Christmas and worship the Lord in the home of a fellow believer.
Sources: Mohabat News, Fox News, American Center for Law and Justice
- Thank God for Mostafa's release.
- Pray for God's protection over him and his family.
- Pray that the appeals of other imprisoned believers in Iran will also result in their being released.
LAOS: Believers Blamed for Villagers’ Deaths
A group of new Christians in a Laotian village have been blamed for the unrelated deaths of three men. When the deaths occurred shortly after their conversion, the community concluded they had angered their ancestors.
In March 2013, two evangelists shared the gospel in three remote villages in Laos. As a result, 178 people received Christ and 18 were baptised. Shortly afterward, three men from one of the villages died from unrelated causes. One was given the wrong medicine, one died in his sleep and the third was accidentally electrocuted while trying to run a cable line.
The shaken community consulted with a witch doctor, who concluded that the strange new religion introduced to the community had angered their ancestors. 'Those Christians have to renounce their faith or they have to leave the village!' he warned. 'Otherwise, more people will die.' The community leader became angry with the new Christians and called a meeting for the whole village; army and police officials were also present. At the meeting, authorities ordered the believers to renounce their faith. They also forced the Christians to pay travel expenses for the army and police officials and to pay funeral costs of the three who had died.
Source: VOM Sources
- Praise God for the evangelists' work in Laos and the group of new believers.
- Pray that the believers will be firm in their faith despite this opposition.
- Pray that God's word will convict and transform those still worshipping their ancestors.
INDIA: Church Attacked, Assailants Arrested by Authorities
Members of Christian Faith Centre have been attacked by a fundamentalist Hindu group and the pastor has been severely beaten. As a result, security guards have been posted outside the church.
Members of Christian Faith Centre, an Assembly of God church, were attacked on 27 October by Bajrang Dal, a fundamentalist Hindu group. According to reports, the attackers disrupted a prayer service and severely beat the pastor leading the prayer. After beating the pastor, the radicals dragged him to a police station and attempted to file a case against the pastor for forcefully converting Hindus to Christianity. Because this church has been attacked in the past, the police recognised this as an incident of persecution and arrested the radicals. In the future, the police will keep several security guards outside the church during Sunday worship to avoid this incident happening again.
Source: International Christian Concern
- Praise God for the protection the police will provide to this church.
- Ask the Lord to grant the pastor a full recovery from his beating.
- Pray for the members of Bajrang Dal to come to repentance and faith.