While few Cuban Christians have been imprisoned for their faith in recent years, the Cuban government still mistreats, marginalizes and openly opposes Christians, especially those who are active in ministry. “Don’t be fooled by appearances,” a Cuban pastor told VOM recently. The pastor has been humiliated, threatened, beaten and interrogated more than 20 times. Recently, three officials appeared at his church’s Sunday service and told him they were going to take his property and use it for a store. “I got firm with them,” the pastor said. “I told them they couldn’t do that because we were under the protection of the Holy Spirit. And they backed off.” The pastor’s doctors have told him to stop his pastoral work because the stress is harming his health. But he continues to serve his congregation. “I’m working for the Lord with all my heart,” he said. Pray that God will sustain this pastor and other Christians as they minister in Cuba.
Jordan—Christian Girl Kidnapped Source: VOM Sources
A Christian girl from the town of Fuheis was kidnapped by Muslim fundamentalists on Oct. 15 and forced to convert to Islam, according to VOM sources.“The whole [population] of Fuheis is protesting to have her back,” wrote a VOM contact. Fuheis, which is 12 miles north of Amman, is the only settlement in Jordan that is still predominantly Christian. About 60 percent of its 20,000 residents are Greek Orthodox. The rest are Muslim or Catholic. The VOM contact said Jordan’s prime minister visited Fuheis to help defuse the situation, asking residents to stop protesting and forget about the girl. But instead, the citizens asked him to leave their town. Kidnapping young Christian women and forcing them to convert to Islam is common in Egypt, but it hasn’t been prevalent in Jordan. Pray that this girl will be released and that the Jordanian government will defend the rights of all its citizens rather than just the Muslim majority. Also pray that Jordan will prevent extremism from growing along its borders.
Kazakhstan—Police Intensify Church Investigation Sources: Forum 18 News Service
Police in Kazakhstan raided Grace Church in Astana during an Oct. 3 service, as part of an ongoing investigation. Church members were detained at the church throughout the day while police conducted a search. They confiscated items from the church’s safe as well as computers, DVDs and books. They also sealed a room where the church kept a printing press. Later, police asked 11 church members to voluntarily provide blood samples to see if the church administers drugs. A local news agency later reported, “The police established that the Grace Church’s pastor during the service serves his visitors a red-colored drink, which according to the expertise of the center for research of medicinal drugs contains phenol group substance as well as hallucinogens.” Pray that the members of Grace Church will remain faithful as they face this intense scrutiny.