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VOM workers in Central Asia are encouraging Uzbek pastors through conferences that train them how to respond to persecution and by visiting them individually. Workers have visited 40 pastors in the past 12 months. A pastor who serves in a remote village said, “Brothers, sometimes it is so sad and so hard. All sides are not happy because you’re a Christian. … But your visit, teachings and the Word of God — it’s like a breath of fresh air! Come back often!” According to conference organizers, the most difficult aspect of persecution is the spiritual side. Believers may persevere through intense trials and then struggle later as a result of discouragement. The conferences are intended to encourage those serving on the frontlines.
Uganda—Pastor Requests Prayer for Healing Source: VOM Sources
A Ugandan pastor attacked with acid on Christmas Eve 2011 asks that we pray for his recovery. Bishop Umar Mulinde wrote, “Thank you for your love, prayers, best wishes, financial support and encouragement. … I am currently in Kenya, where I am meeting my four children and my mother for the first time in a full year. It’s really an emotional moment.” Umar has undergone extensive medical treatment in another country. He says his family continues to receive death threats and that no one was ever charged in his attack. “Please continue to pray for us … for the security of God, family needs and a quick recovery.”
Mexico—Evangelicals Pressured to Renounce Faith Source: Latin American Indian Mission
In mid-December, 52 evangelicals were arrested in a community north of Mexico City and pressured to renounce their faith. The evangelicals were arrested on Dec. 17 during a community meeting in Pahuatlan, Hidalgo. They were taken to the small community jail while guards were posted at all of the town exits so news of the arrests would not reach state officials. The evangelicals were deprived of food, water and sanitation facilities, and the pastor was bound to a chair. They were repeatedly told they could not leave until they signed a renunciation of their “new” religion. In the past, villagers have accused Christians of breaking community harmony by failing to respect old customs or support village fiestas. The evangelicals were released after three days. About 250 Christians, including 150 children, left the village as a result of the arrests.