Vietnamese officials in Muong Cha district, Dien Bien Province, destroyed two new church buildings of ethnic minority Hmong Christians last month and threatened to tear down a third. The Ho He Church, erected in April by the unregistered Vietnam Good News Mission, was demolished on June 17. The Phan Ho Church of the registered Evangelical Church of Vietnam (North) was destroyed four days earlier on June 13, 2012. As local police, paramilitary forces and other authorities descended on the church buildings by the dozens, the Christians could only watch as the houses of worship were reduced to rubble. Both congregations have since divided into small groups and continue to worship. Thank God that they have stayed faithful during this time of persecution and ask that no other churches in the area will be torn down.
Iran’s Revolutionary Court recently upheld Pastor Farshid Fathi’s six-year sentence for “political offenses,” forcing him to complete a prison term that began more than 18 months ago. Farshid was arrested in December 2010 for his Christian work, but authorities continue to cast his activities as political offenses. He was convicted for allegedly being the chief agent of foreign organization in Iran and for administering funds for foreign organizations, a charge often used to arrest and convict Christians. Farshid has become much beloved among inmates in Tehran’s Evin prison, according to Elam Ministries. Farshid’s trial had been repeatedly postponed by judicial authorities until earlier this year. Farshid’s wife, Leila, relinquished the deed to their home to pay his bail, but even so, he was never released. Farshid and Leila have two children. Pray for Farshid’s endurance as he continues to bring light to those in Evin prison during the remainder of his sentence.
Kenya—Seventeen Wounded in Somali Militant Attack on Kenyan Churches Sources: Reuters, BBC News
At least 17 Christians were murdered in simultaneous attacks on two churches in Garissa, Kenya on Sunday, July 1. Along with the 17 killed, more than 40 people were wounded. Masked assailants launched grenades and opened fire with assault rifles on two churches, a Roman Catholic church and an African Inland Church (AIC), which are approximately two miles apart. Television footage showed the attacks’ effects: benches knocked over, blood pooled on the floor or splattered over the walls, garments lying on the floor and Bibles strewn throughout the church buildings. The attacks occurred in Garissa, a provincial capital about 120 miles west of the Somali border. Local officials called this the worst attack since Kenya sent troops into Somalia to crush the al Shabaab militants. Christians in the area are concerned about what this means for their future.
Pray for Christian prisoner Imran Ghafur, accused of false blasphemy charges and serving a life sentence. VOM is supporting his family, including his elderly parents who need ongoing medical care. Imran hopes to be released early so he can serve as a missionary to his people.