AFGHANISTAN — Christians Thankful for Answered Prayers
Christian workers in Afghanistan are praising God for several recent answers to prayer. Authorities recently stopped a group of Taliban fighters who were preparing to attack multiple sites. The Taliban had loaded a truck with eight tons of explosives, but it did not blow up. It was the largest truck bomb ever defused in the city and had the potential to destroy everything within a 5,000-foot radius. Five of the Taliban militants were killed and two were captured. The Christian workers also report that several Pashtun tribal leaders have told local Taliban members that the Taliban can no longer use their territory. The Christian workers ask for prayer that the Taliban networks will be broken, that there will be no spring offensive by the Taliban, that more tribal leaders will deny use of their lands to the Taliban and that local believers will grow in courage.
SRI LANKA — Repeat Attack on Persecuted Pastor’s Home
A large mob attacked a Sri Lankan pastor’s home recently, while he was away at a court hearing related to a previous attack on his home. Pastor Pradeep Kumara was in Colombo when the attack occurred, but his wife, Aruna, and their two children were trapped in their home for three hours while the mob rioted, demanding an end to church services in the village. The mob ordered Aruna to come out of the house and promise to stop holding worship services in the church, and our contacts report that she was injured in the incident. Although police were called, they were unable to control the mob.
Pastor Pradeep and his family started a church more than 10 years ago in the south of the country, where there are few Christians. They were forced to move six times in four years, and at one point their house was firebombed.
INDONESIA — Church Bulldozed in Permit Dispute
About 40 local government officials watched as a bulldozer destroyed the unfinished church building of the Batak Christian Protestant Church (HKBP) in the Bekasi region on March 21. Officials ordered the destruction because the HKBP had no building permit. Although church leaders were in the process of applying for a permit, the church’s construction was strongly opposed by the mainly Muslim neighborhood. On March 21, the 600-strong congregation met to pray that the demolition would be stopped, and they pleaded with officials to rethink their decision. Local church leaders and rights campaigners insist that the demolition was illegal under the constitution, which guarantees freedom of worship. The church’s pastor, Torang Parulian Simanjuntak, said he intends to file a lawsuit against the Bekasi Regency’s administration. He also said the church will continue to meet near the demolished church.
SIERRA LEONE — Armed Men Attack and Rob VOM Worker
Thieves entered the compound of a VOM partner in Sierra Leone last week and attacked and robbed him. They stole the battery from his car as well as the home’s generator. “They were well armed and could have harmed me if I made an attempt to stop them,” he said. “Please keep our family in your prayers. My concern is that the Lord keep me and my family under his mighty arm. I have made up my mind to remain a preacher and follower of Christ, and nothing will change this. May the Lord continue to strengthen all the persecuted in Jesus’ name.”
Like several other nations in Africa, Sierra Leone is under growing pressure from Islamists who seek to Islamize the country. Incidents of persecution against Christians also continue to increase. Police promised to investigate the incident.