Remember Our Brothers and Sisters

I was surfing this morning and ended up at youtube.  I started at the persecution blog and this post about the thinking blogger award.  This led me to this post on the inspiration korner about the award (I was trying to find out who gives the award).  I then went to the main page of the inspiration korner blog where I saw a post about a video…the video below (that’s how I went to youtube…I had to watch the video).


Here are some quotes that really hit me from the video:

 I told them that [conversion to Islam] was not possible.  I am a Christian. — James (10 year old boy)

Help me Lord, I do not want to deny you — Rikka (teenage girl)

Hearing things like that from believers causes me to examine myself.  It also makes me think about my family.  Now that God has given Cyndi and I Lydia, I have three main prayer requests for her: 

  • Her salvation
  • That God would let Cyndi and I be ready to let her do whatever God calls her to do
  • That Lydia would have a strong faith and would be willing to give the same answers if ever faced with persecution



Gideons, Persecution, and Free Speech

In an update to this post about two Gideons who were arrested in Flordia for passing out Bibles on a public sidewalk , we find out that their initial case was dismissed.  But then we also find out that they are going to be charged with violating another statute.  From the story on

Two Florida men who wanted to give Bibles to children in their community are being charged under a state law that bans anyone from being within 500 feet of the land on which schools are built unless they have “legitimate business” or “prior authorization.” 

 The story goes on to point out the “unconsitutionality” of this law:

“This obviously is unconstitutional for several reasons,” Cortman said. “The First Amendment gives you a right to be out there and engage in speech. Is anyone who uses the sidewalk or [the adjacent] highway now in violation?”

He said another issue is the definition of “legitimate business.” It’s not for the government to apply those words using one definition to one group of people, and then apply those words using another definition to another group of people, he said.

“The government is not allowed to have unbridled discretion to define words in whatever manner they choose,” he said.

On the face of the statute cited by the prosecutor, people driving by the school on the highway technically are in violation of the law, unless they have an exemption, and if the same exemption doesn’t apply to the two members of Gideons International, then that creates a content-based speech restriction, which also isn’t proper, Cortman said.

“The question I have is why is the state so intent on punishing these gentlemen for passing out Bibles on public property?” he asked. “This is just beyond comprehension.” 

 The state is intent on punishing these men because Christians are the only group that society says it is ok to not tolerate.  Think about it:  people tell us (Christians) that we are supposed to accept and tolerate them and their views but then those same people turn right around and refuse to tolerate Christianity.  


Well, my post this week is less about persecution and more about a reflection of the past year.  1.5 years ago when I signed up for the Voice of the Martyrs and PersecutionBlog's Blogosphere program, I committed to several things:

1. Place an banner on your site signifying that you blog for VOM.
2. Agree to do a minimum of two posts per month about Christian persecution mentioning Voice of the Martyrs with a link to the main website, the Persecution Blog, and/or the newsletter.

Pretty simple, huh?  Well, for the first several months, I did a great job.  Then, Cyndi and I moved to Richmond.  Then I set up a new website.  Then, I got busy at work.  Then we went to Serbia.  Then, Cyndi and I had a baby.  Then I was migrating everything to this new site.  Then….well, you get the idea.  I could make many excuses, but the fact of the matter is I slacked off.  My posts went from several per week to barely the two per month.  Since the beginning of the year, I haven't even posted once about the persecuted church. So, from today on, I'm going to get back on the ball.

I thought I would  start by listing the ways everyone out there could help our brothers and sisters around the world:

1. Pray.  But how do you know what to pray for?  Why not sign up for VOM's e-mail newsletter at
2. Pray.  You could also choose a prisoner listed at
3. Give.  Our brothers and sisters need the Word.  Why not sign up to send Bibles into restricted nations through the Bibles Unbound program.
4. Give.  VOM, like all ministries, needs support.  Why not give to them directly?
5. Read.  Why not educate yourself on matters involving persecuted Christians around the world.  You could choose a book from the VOM bookstore or hop over to
6. Help Others.  Once you have read your book, why not pass it onto someone else.  Believe it or not, there are still people out there that think persecution  is a thing of the past.
7. Blog.  As part of helping educate others, why not join the VOM blogosphere yourself.



Think it Can’t Happen Here?

According to WorldNetDaily,

Two men who are members of Gideons International, the Christian organization that is famous for, among other ministries, placing Bibles in motels and giving them to children, have been arrested after trying to hand out Bibles on a public sidewalk in Florida, according to a law firm.

Officials with the Alliance Defense Fund have confirmed they will be representing Anthony Mirto and Ernest Simpson, who were arrested, booked into jail and charged with trespassing.

Jeremy Tedesco, one of the ADF’s lawyers on the case, confirmed to WND that the organization’s clients were on a public sidewalk when they were handing out Bibles and school officials summoned police.

Did you ever think it could happen in America?  I sure didn’t.  And I can’t believe that the police actually knew so little about the rights that we as citizens have.

[Update 04-06-2007  08:53:45] I have a new post on this issue.  You can read the update by going to my post on Gideons, Persecution, and Free Speech .

Interesting Article on Persecution

I was looking at the IMB's website a few days ago and ran across two articles I thought were interesting.  The first is entitled "Should we pray for God to lift persecution?"

He told her about 40 people gathered in the remote bush outside a village. They all sat on mats in the hot, African sun to sing worship songs and share testimonies.

Suddenly the local authorities arrived.

Many scattered. About 14 bold believers stayed behind and said they wouldn't stop praising the Lord. All 14 were detained, including Abdul.

"I didn't fight them," Abdul said. "I've been having this problem for a long time. They don't need a reason to detain me. They say I disgrace the Fulani."

From the jail, he called Malone, but not because she would bail him out. He just longed for soothing words of encouragement from his Fulani "madujo," or mother.

That encouragement is the best thing Malone can offer when her Fulani "children" face persecution. She hates to watch them face the cruel and tragic treatment, but she knows God uses it to draw others to Him.

"I can't think of any instance in my experience where persecution has caused someone to turn back from the faith," she said. "In fact, it more often has the opposite effect."

She once asked a new Fulani believer why he wanted to become a Christian after watching his friends get beaten.

"That's why I think Christianity must be the true way," he replied. "No one would be willing to go through that suffering for a lie!"

The next article is Beyond the bookshelves:  Librarian guides underground worship movement:

For more than 20 years, Malone has been sorting books and helping the students at a seminary in West Africa research their assignments. But her after-hours gig involves a bit more risk.

That's when Fulani believers come to her house seeking guidance with their underground worship communities – which are popping up everywhere despite harsh, new Muslim laws assigning the death penalty to Christian converts.

With Malone's guidance, those few Fulani started taking the Gospel to their own people. A few converts became a few more.

Then, the region erupted in riots. People of different religions and ethnic groups clashed over the government's installation of Islamic regulations, called Shari'ah law. Many were slain. Rioters burned the pastor school to the ground, along with churches and many homes of the Fulani converts.

Malone remembers her thoughts as she returned to her library to find all the books still smoldering, charred beyond use.

"I used to feel guilty about doing this ministry when my job was to be a librarian," she said. "After that, I changed my way of thinking. I realized books are temporary. It's the people that last."

But the new religious tension forced some changes in the Fulani ministry.

"We've had to go more undercover," Malone said.

She can't visit the new Fulani believers at their homes anymore. Some of them lost children when their grass and stick homes were torched. Others have been detained without reason.

"If she visits them, they are going to have more problems with their neighbors and the Muslim brothers," Abdul explains.

So Abdul and his Fulani brothers launched their own evangelism plan, forming a structure for their worship communities. Small groups gather in homes for worship and Bible study. Sometimes larger groups assemble, but spontaneously, and not in the same place twice.

We need to remember to pray for our brothers and sisters around the world who suffer for the cause of Christ.  But should we pray for God to lift persecution?  I think the answer is a clear NO.  Look at what happened here in America with no persecution.  The church became soft, ineffective, and full of apostacy.

Instead, we should pray for God to be glorified, people to be saved, and witness of the believers.  We should pray that God would let them know people are praying for them.  Pray that God would give them strength and boldness.  Pray that He be glorified through the situation.

You can also write letters to those in prison for Christ around the world.  Voice of the Martyrs has an excellent program where you can find out about those who are jailed around the world for their Christian beliefs.



Kyrgyzstan Prayer Request

This is from a recent Voice of the Martyrs prayer  update:

July 28th, a church planter and his son were surrounded by a large mob opposed to their ministry in the predominantly Muslim community in Kara Kuldza, Kyrgyzstan. The church planter suffered broken fingers and severe head injuries. Both his home and the building where the church meets were ransacked and all the Christian literature was taken out and burned in the street. The national director for the Bible League in Kyrgyzstan reports that such incidents are not uncommon. Mobs have frequently disrupted worship services and threatened to burn down their homes if the religious activities do not stop. In several locations, the wives of the church planters have been raped when they would not flee.

Pray this church planter will fully recover from his wounds. Ask God to protect him and his family from further attacks. Pray the Holy Spirit will bring many people in Kyrgyzstan to a precious relationship with Jesus.

Don't know much about Kyrgyzstan?  Check out the Kyrgyzstan page on the CIA Fact Book.



Chinas Three Self “Church”

Before I get going to far, I should probably explain some things.  The way I understand it, China "officially" has "freedom" of religion.  But, if you want to be a Christian, you MUST go to the Three-Self Church.  These "churches" aren't real churches….they are more like government propoganda houses.

I was reading new articles in my RSS reader when this article on Worthy News popped up.  It appears as if a pastor had gone too far and the government didn't like it:

MIDLAND, TEXAS / SHANXI PROVINCE, CHINA (ANS) — A pastor in the Three-Self Church in Pinglu County, Shanxi Province was prohibited from preaching and forced to leave the church by the Chinese Religious Affairs Bureau.

But what could have caused him to fall out of favor?  Well, it seems he invited another pastor to come preach in his pulpit:

According to information received from a reliable souce by the China aid Association (CAA), the Pinglu Church invited a Hong Kong based American Pastor Dennis Balcombe (Chinese name Bao Dening) — who is strongly opposed by the local Religious Affairs Bureau — to visit the church,

Pastor Balcombe was born in the United States and is an active missionary in Asia. He contributed a great deal to the charismatic revival in Henan Province in the mid 1980s. He is now senior pastor of Revival Christian Church in Hong Kong, (see:

If you want to read more, read the full article on the Pastor who was evicted from the Three-Self Church in China.