Christians in Afghanistan are less fearful than they were a couple of years ago, and many are dedicated to witnessing and growing in their faith. “The fear that gripped the believers in 2010 is gone,” wrote a VOM contact. That year, two Christian men, Said Musa and Shoaib Assadullah, were imprisoned for their faith, and a parliamentary leader called for the execution of Christians. But since then, some believers have become more open about their faith and several small groups have started meeting again. The Afghan Christians “see that God has kept them,” the contact wrote. He said one group of believers has drafted a statement committing themselves to evangelism and discipleship. Today, persecution comes mainly from family and communities, rather than the government. Among the ongoing difficulties facing believers in Afghanistan are ridicule in the workplace, dismissal from jobs for being non-Muslim and the inability to find a Christian marriage partner. Thank God for his work among the Afghan people, and pray that their witness will bear much fruit.
Russia—Moscow Authorities Destroy Church Building Sources: VOM Sources, Forum 18 News
Unidentified workers, backed by police and civil volunteers, tore down the Holy Trinity Pentecostal Church in east Moscow in the early morning hours of Sept. 6. The workers arrived at midnight with bulldozers and diggers, looting the building of sound equipment, musical instruments, service books and Communion materials before using heavy equipment to demolish the structure. A church caretaker was taken to the police station and prevented from contacting church members for three hours. By morning, the church building was a pile of rubble. The church held a service on Sept. 8 at the site of the destroyed church, using chairs and other materials salvaged from the rubble. Authorities later threatened to punish Pastor Vasili Romanyuk for holding an “unapproved religious meeting.” Pray that authorities and the church will come to an agreement about where the church can worship.
A 24-year-old Lao pastor was found dead in the forest in July, and Christians believe he was murdered. Thong Hak, of the Khmu tribe, left his village on a Friday to go hunting. When he didn’t show up to preach in his church on Sunday, believers began to search for him and soon found his body in the forest covered in blood. Thong Hak attended Bible school in the Laotian capital of Vientiane. Pray for his parents, siblings and the church he served. Also pray that his church members will remain faithful and will continue to depend on God.