Ethiopia has been in the news recently and it is good that the world can see the struggles that are taking place there. Christians in China, India and the Ukraine are facing persecution and they all need our prayers.
Ethiopia – prayer answered but more needed
On 23 November, with rebels a mere 120km from the capital Addis Ababa, Prime Minister Abiy left his office and joined the Ethiopian National Defence Force (ENDF) on the battlefield. Aware that the collapse of Ethiopia would trigger a Christian crisis of monumental proportions, urgent prayer was requested.
On 24 November, as rebels advanced on Addis Ababa the prayer was 'that Baal-perazim - the Lord of the breakthrough (2 Samuel chapter 5 verses 17-20) - might intervene to "turn back the battle at the gate" (from Isaiah chapter 28 verses 5-6)'.
By 28 November, ENDF and Afar Special Forces had liberated Chifra in Afar Region. The ENDF and Amhara forces then proceeded to recapture town after town along the A2 Highway, starting with Shewa Robit. The historic and culturally significant town of Lalibela has been liberated, as have the strategic towns of Dessie and Kombolcha.
On 2 December, 150 WFP trucks arrived in Mekelle with enough supplies to feed 3.7 million people for several months. On 6 December the government announced that ENDF and Amhara forces had recaptured the strategic towns of Dessie and Kombolcha (captured by TPLF a month earlier).
God has indeed turned back the battle! God has been faithful despite errors of judgement from Prime Minister Abiy. PM Abiy has declared that the war will continue until the TPLF no longer poses 'a threat to the peace and security of the country'.
However, the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) is responding to military defeats by unleashing terror: destroying and looting infrastructure and massacring civilians.
What needs to be understood is that Ethiopia's TPLF is no different to Sudan's al-Bashir regime: human rights abusers par-excellence, ousted by popular uprisings, yet deeply invested at every level, supported by a well-entrenched deep state and totally unwilling to accept their demise.
Please pray that God will intervene in Ethiopia, and for Ethiopians; that the nation might be blessed to be a blessing to others. May God protect our brother Prime Minister Abiy and grant him wisdom and strength as he seeks to lead the people into a new era of unity, peace and prosperity.
May this crisis draw Ethiopians to their knees in prayer, for there they will find the one in whom all hope and healing resides: the Lord Jesus Christ.
China – arrests and injustice
The Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 will take place between 4 and 22 February. The Paralympic Games will be held 4 to 13 March. In the light of these major events, China wants to present to the world a good image, yet it continues its practice of religious persecution.
The official motto for the Games is ‘Together for a shared future’ but for the Chinese Communist Party the future should not include Christians.
On Sunday 21 November officers in Shanxi Province detained Pastor An Yankui of Xuncheng Reformed Church (XRC), along with his young and recently married co-worker, Zhang Chenghao. On 24 November Yao Congya (wife of An Yankui) and Guo Juan (wife of Zhang Chenghao) received detention notices from authorities explaining that their husbands have been criminally detained for 'illegally crossing the national border'.
The charges are false, and XRC is being persecuted because of its criticism of and resistance to the CCP. Please pray for truth and justice to prevail and for strongholds and obstacles to be broken.
India – anti-conversion bill in Karnataka
Karnataka's anti-conversion bill will be tabled in the state legislature when sitting resumes on Monday 13 December. As Church in Chains explains (2 Dec), 'Anti-conversion laws are intended to prevent Hindus converting to other religions but lead to increased violence against Christians because extremists use them as a license to carry out attacks, accusing Christians of forcibly converting Hindus.'
A recently released fact-finding report by three Indian human rights organisations ranked Karnataka third among states with the highest number of attacks on Christians, surpassed only by Uttar Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.
An investigation into the issue of alleged forced conversions found no evidence of forced conversion; all Christians questioned confirmed that they had converted of their own free will and that their lives were much better since having done so. Consequently, the investigation was dropped. On Saturday 4 December Christians held a silent protest outside the Karnataka Legislative Assembly in Bengaluru (Bangalore), requesting the state defend religious liberty.
Please pray for the protection of these Christians. Persecution of Christians is increasing in the state in anticipation of the bill passing into law.
Ukraine - provocation
On 24 March 2021, Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenksy issued a presidential decree establishing that retaking Crimea from Russia is now Kiev's official policy. Faced with what was essentially a declaration of war, Russia responded with a show of military strength designed to deter Ukrainian adventurism.
The West is exploiting the 'crisis' as an opportunity to menace and sanction Russia. Since April, weapons have flooded into Ukraine making arms suppliers (especially Turkey and the US) a lot of money. Although Russia is unlikely to invade Ukraine - for it would have nothing to gain and a lot to lose – others take this as an opportunity not to be wasted.
Please prayfor discernment, courage, peace and healing, because East vs West geo-political tensions are already having a profound and detrimental impact on religious liberty and Christian security in the region.
Aira Chilcott is a retired secondary school teacher with lots of science andtheology under her belt. Aira is an editor for PSI and indulges inreading, bushwalking and volunteering at a nature reserve. Aira’s husband Bill passed away in 2022 and she is left with three wonderful adult sons and one grandson.
Aira Chilcott's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/aira-chilcott.html