Please pray that God would protect, sustain and bless his precious, faithful, suffering Church in the Sudan, India, Nigeria and Indonesia; may he provide all her needs -- material and spiritual -- and enable the believers to 'shine like stars' as they 'hold out the word of life' .
Sudan has been on a fragile path to democratic rule since the military’s overthrow of al-Bashir in April 2019, following four months of mass protests. The current administration - involving the military, civilian representatives and protest groups - was then established as part of a power-sharing agreement. It faces towering economic and security challenges.
An attempted coup led by a pro-Bashir faction within the military was thwarted early on Tuesday 21 September. Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok said that the coup was “orchestrated …. to abort the civilian democratic transition".
It involved an attempt to take over the building housing state radio and television and the use of tanks to block the bridge between Khartoum and Omdurman, hampering oil production. Civilian-military tensions are soaring.
Praise God that the coup attempt was thwarted and keep praying that the government may remain strong in the face of efforts to overthrow democracy.
But it’s complicated. Customs officials are still refusing to release a shipment of Bibles in violation of Sudan's Fundamental Rights and Freedoms Act 2020; the government is not honouring its promise to return to the Church properties confiscated by the former regime; and Islamists have been permitted to threaten and intimidate Boutros Badawi (a Christian and senior adviser to the Religious Affairs Minister) with impunity.
Many fear that the government is trading away the rights of Christians for peace with belligerent Islamists.
In my last article we prayed for a young man – Nitish Kumar – who had been set on fire by Hindu nationalists because he was a Christian. He was in hospital fighting for his life but succumbed to his injuries on September 25.
Please pray for the Kumar family; may the God of all comfort sustain them; and may those who perpetrated this heinous murder be brought to justice.
Meanwhile in Karnataka, a state in India’s southwest, there is a proposal to enact a law to prevent conversions to Christianity among Hindus. MP Goolihatti Shekhar (BJP - Bharatiya Janata Party), alleged that not only are 'forced conversions rampant in Karnataka', but churches petition to file cases of atrocities against Hindus! [Presumably cases of violent persecution.]
He told the parliament that his own mother had converted to Christianity and been 'brainwashed' into not wearing vermilion on her forehead and abandoning idol worship. Even worse, he said, she had downloaded a Christian song as her ringtone, and this had 'caused embarrassment to the family'.
The QUAD - officially the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue - is an 'informal alliance' comprising India, Japan, Australia and America. Its primary purpose is maintaining maritime security in the Indo-Pacific in the face of China's assertive behaviour. It presents Australia and the US with a wonderful opportunity to apply pressure on India over human rights.
First however, Australia and the US need to stop praising India as 'the world's largest democracy' and recognise that India's last federal election (April-May 2019) was actually the most sophisticated subversion of democracy in modern times.
Instead of lauding our 'shared values', Australia and the US need to recognise that India's ruling BJP is a Hindu nationalist outfit that promotes religious apartheid and stokes sectarian divisions for political gain.
Please pray that Australia and the US do not waste an opportunity to challenge India over its appalling human rights: in particular, its lack of religious freedom and Christian security.
Pray also that the spirit of deceit be banished and that Indians will grow disillusioned with hatred and conflict and yearn for social inclusion and peace, and that God would raise up righteous leaders in India in every field and at every level -- to the benefit of the Church and the nation.
The people of eastern Niger State are mostly ethnic Gwari/Gbari; of whom 38 percent follow ethnic religions, 29 percent are Muslim and 33 percent are Christian (mostly Roman Catholic).
Today, Boko Haram controls some 500 communities in eastern Niger and has established itself as the supreme authority. Residents – Muslim and Christian - have been ordered to defer to them (not police); replace secular education with Islamic education; and marry off all girls aged 12-yrs and over.
Terror is widespread. They have reportedly also threatened to take over Shiroro Hydro Power Station, one of Nigeria's largest power stations, and are recruiting, arming and training locals for a fight against the government.
In the geographically strategic state of Kogi, terror attacks are escalating as ‘bandits’ and Fulani herdsmen target churches and Christian academics in killings and kidnappings.
Please pray for God intervene in Nigeria to end corruption, facilitate security, discredit Islam, and initiate constitutional reform. May God protect, comfort and sustain the Christians, giving them grace, wisdom and discernment in this time of terror. By the power of the Holy Spirit may Nigerians come to the LORD.
Muhammad 'Kece' Kosman is a convert to Christianity (baptised 2014) and former Islamic cleric. In July 2020 Kece created a YouTube channel through which he offers an intellectual critique of Islam. On 21 August one of Indonesia's most senior clerics accused Kece of blasphemy and insisted he be arrested lest Muslims 'show their anger'.
Kece was arrested on 25 August and detained in South Jakarta. That night, four prisoners, led by Inspector-General Napoleon (imprisoned for corruption) and aided by the prison warden, broke into Kece's cell and beat him mercilessly. Kece filed a complaint, triggering an investigation.
Napoleon has demonstrated his intent to establish himself as a principled defender of Islam and patriotic champion of Indonesia. These related cases, against Kece and Napoleon, could trigger an explosion of Islamic zeal with repercussions for the Church in Indonesia.
Please pray that God would protect and sustain Muhammad Kece, giving him peace which surpasses all understanding, to guard his heart and mind in Christ Jesus. May God intervene in the judicial process: may impunity be denied, may justice be achieved, and may righteousness be advanced for the sake the Church and the Gospel in Indonesia.
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