Praise and Prayer

Pray: Eleven Missionaries Arrested, Beaten in India

ASSIST News Service reports that eleven Gospel for Asia missionaries were arrested and several Christians were beaten February 17 in Chhattisgarh, India.

The incident took place while the missionaries were leading a three-day meeting for believers in Chhattisgarh's Korba district. On the second day of the meeting, an anti-Christian extremist group, along with local politicians and police, attacked the crowd. They severely beat the missionaries who were leading the convention, as well as several Christians in attendance. They also destroyed the sound system and the tent where the meeting was being conducted. The missionaries were arrested at the conclusion of the attack.

Chhattisgarh has an anti-conversion law, which outlines several steps that must be taken in order to change one's religion. The law is vague and offers wide leeway in arresting and punishing those charged with violating it.

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Praise/Pray: Vietnam Churches Growing, In Need of Bibles

Mission News Network reports that despite government intervention and intimidation, Christianity is flourishing in Vietnam.

"A large church that actually had about 1,000 members was burned to the ground recently by the government. But in spite of the persecution, the church continues to grow," said Patrick Klein, president of Vision Beyond Borders. "It seems like the Central Highlands and the north are very much persecuted. In the south, they've backed off because there's a strong foreign presence. But the Central Highland and the north are very much persecuted, especially the tribal Christians."

Klein reports that Bibles are in critical demand in Vietnam, where the shortage is not as well-known as in places such as China.

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Praise: North Dakota House Passes Personhood Bill Tuesday

The rights of unborn children gained a victory in North Dakota on Tuesday, as the state House of Representatives voted to recognize the personhood of all human beings from conception.

Led by American Life League Associate group North Dakota Life League, North Dakota's Personhood Movement celebrated the passage of the bill, introduced by State Rep. Dan Ruby, in a 51-41 vote. A grassroots personhood campaign had spurred the outcome, with thousands of calls asking legislators to support the bill in its unaltered form.

"We are very excited about the personhood movement in North Dakota-which has the chance to become the first state to protect the rights of all its citizens from their biological beginning," said Jim Sedlak, vice president of American Life League.

Fifteen other states are currently pursuing personhood legislation.

At press time, the State Senate vote is still awaited. North Dakota will become the first state in the Union with personhood legislation if the measure passes the Senate.



Pray: Blasphemy Charge against Pakistani Teen Forces Family into Hiding

ASSIST News Service reports that a Pakistani Christian family has gone into hiding after a grade 9 student was accused of blasphemy by his Muslim classmate last week.

After Naveed Aziz, 14, misplaced Christian literature belonging to his brother, a classmate from a hard-line Muslim background found it and accused Naveed of blasphemy when he asked for it back. Teachers at the government-run school tried to hush up the matter after learning that there was no blasphemous content in the literature. Nonetheless, Muslim organizations in the area incited students of other schools and colleges to implicate Naveed in a blasphemy case.

Police finally arrested Naveed. His brother, Shafique, who is a pastor, turned himself in hoping to assist his brother, but both were allegedly tortured. The brothers' family fled after receiving multiple threats from radical Islamists.

Religion Today Summaries

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