CONTENDING FOR THE FAITH
Pastor in China Upholds Faith after Nearly Year in Prison
November 24, 2016 — MorningStarNews.org reports: “A pastor in southwestern China, jailed for nearly a year on fabricated charges and suffering a liver disease, focuses on trusting God in a letter of encouragement to his wife, according to China Aid.
Authorities took Pastor Li Guozhi, better known as Yang Hua, into custody after a raid on his church in central Guizhou Province on Dec. 9, 2015. In a Nov. 8 letter to his wife, Wang Hongwu, Pastor Yang encourages her to focus more on God than on the ‘noise’ of humanity, according to the Texas-based advocacy organization.
‘Our wonderful God, our Lord forever,’ he writes. ‘Who can guess His wisdom and mystery? Our faith is built on His words (He never changes and never does wrong; this is the unchangeable maxim). Sometimes, somebody will decide something by guessing and then [testing their theory], but we don’t. We listen more to God and less to human beings.’
After describing how doctors applying sulfur ointment were able to heal the scabies he had suffered all over his body, he tells her not to worry about his health.
‘The fatty liver disease was diagnosed in prison,’ he writes. ‘The suffering is bearable. The Lord has grace. The canker sore has not returned since May of this year. Thank God.’
Pastor Yang was initially arrested for ‘obstructing justice’ and ‘gathering a crowd to disturb public order’ after he tried to stop authorities from confiscating his computer hard drive, according to China Aid. He was sentenced to two consecutive, five-day administrative detention sentences for each charge, but on Dec. 20, 2015, when he was supposed to be released, his wife saw authorities forcing the blindfolded pastor into an unlicensed vehicle, the advocacy group said…” (“Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life” – Revelation 2:10. Jesus said in the Beatitudes: “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you” – Matthew 5:10 – 12. See the next two reports.)
If You Don’t Convert We Will Shoot Your Son: ISIS’ Ultimatum To Iraqi Christian Mother
November 25, 2016 — ChristianToday.com reports: “A young Iraqi Christian in the village of Qaraqosh, near Mosul, has told of being forced at gunpoint to convert to Islam under Islamic State.
Also interviewed is a woman who speaks of her despair at the destruction of churches in the town.
Qaraqosh was taken over in 2014, when Ismail was only 14 years old. Now 16, he told the BBC how he and his mother were forced to become Muslims.
‘They told me to say ‘there’s no God but Allah’ and you’ll become a Muslim. I said, ‘There’s no God but Jesus’ so he slapped me. I was still young,’ Ismail said.
‘He slapped me and pointed the gun at my head. He told my mum, ‘If you don’t convert to Islam we will kill your son.’‘
He also told of witnessing the murder of six people by children.
‘A car stopped and six blindfolded people dressed in red got out. They had them on their knees and then IS children arrived. Each child stood behind one of the men in red. Someone who seemed to be their leader started reading from some papers. When he finished reading, the children shot the men dead.’…”
Middle Eastern Christians facing ‘tragedy’: church
December 19, 2016 — Breitbart.com reports: “A leading church figure in the Middle East said Monday Christians across the region were facing a ‘tragedy,’ and accused the international community of failing to act.
‘The situation of Christians, especially in Syria and Iraq, is a tragedy,’ said Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, apostolic administrator of the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, in a press conference ahead of the Christmas holidays.
The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem heads the Roman Catholic Church in the Holy Land.
He said up to two-thirds of Christians have left in those two countries, citing in particular Aleppo — the previously mixed city in northern Syria which has been devastated by more than five years of civil war.
‘In Aleppo, before the war there were 300,000 (Christians),’ he said.
‘Now it is about 50,000 maximum.’
He accused world governments of failing to act to help stabilise the region, instead resorting to ‘slogans.’…”