Officials in Bandung, Indonesia, have closed the Indonesia Christian Huria Church (HKI), forcing its 200 members to worship elsewhere. On Oct. 23, 2012, Bandung’s vice regent ordered authorities to seal the HKI building after prominent area Muslims pressured residents to withdraw approval for the church building. They posted a sign on the front of the building reading, “This building … is sealed.” Under Indonesian law, churches must obtain 60 signatures of local non-Christians in order to get a building and operating permit. The 15-year-old church in Bandung had obtained 77 signatures of non-Christian neighbors before several were pressured to withdraw their support. Church members must now travel more than half an hour through heavy traffic to attend church on the other side of the city of 2.4 million. This is the latest in an alarming trend of church closures on West Java, some of which have been accompanied by violent protests.
Turkey—Men Attacked While Distributing Bibles Source: VOM Sources
Two Christian men distributing Bibles in a busy shopping district of Istanbul were attacked and severely injured on Jan. 4, 2013. Paramedics took the injured men to the hospital, and police arrested two suspects in the attack. However, the two Christian men disappeared the same evening, and their whereabouts are unknown. A VOM contact had distributed Bibles and Christian DVDs in the same area three days before the attack. In 11 days, his team distributed 10,000 New Testaments and DVDs, and saw many people come to Christ. “Please pray for these two young men as well as for the Turkish Christian community, to be bold for Jesus [and] … build more courage,” our contact asked.
Sudan—Church Demolished in Khartoum Source: Release International
Police and government officials demolished a church in Sudan’s capital recently because the church’s members are South Sudanese. The Sudan Pentecostal Church in the Khartoum suburb of Soba Al Aradi was torn down without warning on Jan. 2. An engineer involved in the demolition told Christians that the church’s members are “no longer considered citizens of Sudan.” Officials said the church was demolished because the South Sudanese are in the country illegally (the suburb was originally a refugee camp for southerners). Christians, however, see the move as further evidence of a government bid to make Sudan purely Islamic.
Pray for those who help launch gospel balloons into North Korea. Also pray for the men and women who find the balloons. Many have suffered under the Juche philosophy for decades; pray that they will see the truth of the gospel and turn to Christ.