By Michael Ireland, Senior Reporter, ASSIST News Service, email@example.com
“Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body.”– Hebrews 13:3, ESV
WHEATON, IL (ANS, November 2, 2015) – As churches all across America are this week focusing on the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church, Sergey Rakhuba, President, MISSION EURASIA., www.missioneurasia.org says Christians are experiencing persecution in more countries of the world today than followers of any other religion.
In a ministry update to friends and supporters, Rakhuba says: “This is certainly true in Central Asia where it is becoming more and more dangerous to practice Christianity.
“In fact, four of the five Central Asian countries where Mission Eurasia works are listed on Open Doors World Watch List for 2015, including Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan. Persecution is also a terrible reality for many other countries of Eurasia, such as Ukraine, where evangelicals have been abducted, tortured and murdered for their faith during the ongoing war with pro-Russian separatists.”
Rakhuba says that, as believers, we know that “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Eph. 6: 12).
“That’s why I am urging you to join me in prayer this Sunday and throughout the year for the following persecuted believers whom Mission Eurasia is supporting, and for other needs of the persecuted church in Eurasia.”
Rakhuba is asking Christians across the United States to please pray for:
Tohar Haydarov, a young believer from Uzbekistan, who converted from Islam, and was then sentenced to 10 years in prison on fabricated charges.
Ykylas Kabduakasov, an evangelist from Astana, Kazakhstan, who was arrested for “religious extremism,” but in reality, he was being persecuted for sharing the gospel with his Muslim coworkers and friends. He is now facing up to 10 years in prison.
Dmitry Shestakov, a pastor from Uzbekistan who escaped religious persecution three years ago by fleeing to Kiev, Ukraine with his wife and three daughters. If no Western nations are able to grant asylum to the Shestakov family, then the Ukrainian authorities may deport them back to Uzbekistan.
Karim Kashkumbayev, a pastor from Astana, Kazakhstan. He escaped arrest two years ago by fleeing to the US, where he is now living in exile, away from his wife and four young children.
Churches in Central Asia,that they would continue to grow and fearlessly share the gospel, even though they face many challenges in this predominantly Muslim region.
Churches in rebel-occupied areas in eastern Ukraine, that they would continue to share the Good News, despite the persecution they are suffering at the hands of pro-Russian military groups.
Christians all throughout Eurasia, as religious persecution is increasing, and the number of persecuted Christian leaders is growing. Pray that God would strengthen them, and give them courage to proclaim the gospel, no matter their circumstances.
Rakhuba also asks that believers also remember in prayer Mission Eurasia, as we strive to aid persecuted Christians and promote religious freedom in Eurasia through our Religious Freedom Initiative (RFI). Pray that God would provide opportunities, partnerships, and resources for us to grow this ministry.
On the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church this Sunday, November 1, 2015 (also observed Sunday, Nov.8), and throughout the year, Rakhuba thanks churches and individual believers for their support and partnership on behalf of believers who are suffering for their faith in Eurasia.
Image One: Tohar Haydarov.
Image Two: Yklas Kabduakasov
Bio Image: Michael Ireland
About the writer: Michael Ireland is a Senior Correspondent for the ASSIST News Service, as well as a volunteer Internet Journalist and Ordained Minister who has served with ASSIST Ministries and ASSIST News Service since its beginning in 1989. He has reported for ANS from Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Israel, Jordan, China, and Russia. Click http://paper.li/Michael_ASSIST/1410485204 to see a daily digest of Michael’s stories for ANS.
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