Open Doors International are asking for prayer for believers in a Central Asian village who are facing the closure of their church.
On 21st June, the small Baptist house church was visited by local police officers who asked church staff members to provide proof of state registration and demanded to know what was happening in the house.
The church was registered in the city, and the house church itself registered in a different city. They were holding meetings in the private residence in the village specifically for villagers who were unable to get to the city to attend church. However, they did not have state registration permitting the home in the village to be used as a church.
As a result of their lack of registration, the police officers confiscated the church staff members’ passports and the passport of the home owner. The owner of the home is also the church deacon. The officers told the staff, who are two brothers, to visit them the next day at the police station.
When they arrived at the police station, the brothers were told by a high ranking officer that they were forbidden to hold church meetings in their home any longer. If they did, they would be held accountable to the country’s law concerning religion and religious organisation.
The following day, another man visited the church home. He introduced himself as the village council chairman and admitted to sending the police officers to the church. He told the brothers that, as long as he held his chairman position, no Christians would be allowed to have services in his village, and that he would start a case against the church if they did not obey.
The Pastor of this church told Open Doors: “We believe what the Word of God says to us, … that for those who love God, all things work together for good. Let us pray and hope in Him, and trust this situation to Him.”
- Pray for the Church pastor, staff members and villagers affected b this decision. Pray for wisdom as they deal with authorities, and to make the right decisions about the church’s future meetings in the village.
- Pray for the village council chairman, that he will relent and allow the Christians to worship together in the village. Pray also that he will encounter Jesus Christ and come to a realisation of the truth of His Gospel.
- Pray for the police officers involved to also come to acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour in their lives, through the witness of the believers in this village.
- Pray for protection for Christians in Central Asia, as they face increasingly strict laws on registration and freedom of worship. Pray for the church to be united together in prayers for their region, and to grow strong in faith and in God’s word.
1 Timothy 2 vs 1 – 2: “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.“