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Courage and hope remain for Roshni

Mission Network News - Thu, 09/17/2015 - 5:00am

(Photo courtesy Open Doors USA)

India (Open Doors) -- Fifteen-year-old *Roshni of India is still struggling with the trauma of her past. Two years ago, she was raped as a punishment for passionately sharing her Christian faith. She and her parents filed a case against the assaulter, but they were denied justice as he was set free after serving only two years of imprisonment. The news of his release petrified Roshni--so much so, that she stopped eating. As a result, she fainted due to weakness and was admitted to the hospital to recover. Roshni is just one of the hundreds of Christian girls and women in India who are physically or sexually assaulted because of their faith in Jesus Christ. Many of them fear disgrace and do not file official complaints. If they do report the abuse, they are called into court to remember and testify in public about their horrific experiences. They are usually denied justice because the judicial system is never in favor of Christians. “The culprit managed to bribe the lawyers and make connections with the local politicians. He was set free,” says Roshni’s father. Roshni comes from a very poor family. They struggle to meet even their basic needs. Roshni and her family--her parents, three brothers, and two sisters--moved to the city five years ago from their native village in hope of earning a better living. Her parents came to faith during a Christmas worship service where they saw people being healed in Jesus’ name. Slowly but surely, the entire family, including Roshni, gave their lives to Jesus. In the excitement of her new faith, Roshni began sharing about Christ. “I used to share my faith with my neighbors. They ridiculed me for it,” she recalls. After a brief pause, she resumes: “The ladies in my neighborhood often made fun of me, but one day they seemed very interested about my faith. They called me to a home to share about Jesus and served me juice, which I drank, not knowing that they planned to drug me and have me raped afterwards. After the drink, I lost consciousness. "When I came back to my senses, I realized I had been raped. Since I feared public disgrace, I ran to my home silently and told my parents everything. A police complaint was made, and the case lingered for two years. My attacker was jailed during that period of time but was proven innocent and released.” “She tried committing suicide after the incident. By God’s grace we were able to bring her to the hospital in time and her life was saved,” recalls her father with tears rolling down his face. Due to financial constraints, Roshni was able only able to study through the 4th grade; however, she manages to read the Bible slowly. Roshni still struggles with depression and is trying to overcome her fears and feelings of insecurity. When a partner of Open Doors went to visit Roshni in the hospital, she still looked sad and pale. For a long time she just stared outside the window. During the conversation, she told the Open Doors representative that she liked to sing worship songs. She was then gently persuaded to sing one worship song. She sang in an exceptionally sweet voice. The lyrics were very clear: “When I sing, Lord, let Your spirit fill my soul and let Your name only be glorified. Let it be that I keep singing and You keep listening to my song of praise.” Her expression changed as she sang. She looked a lot stronger and her eyes beamed with courage and hope. India ranks #21 on the Open Doors 2015 World Watch List of the worst persecutors of Christians. *Name changed for security reasons
Categories: Mission Network News

Government crackdowns alert Christians

Mission Network News - Thu, 09/17/2015 - 5:00am

(Photo courtesy Hans V)

Egypt (MNN) -- Red flags are going up among Egyptian Christians following the latest round of government crackdowns. President Abdul Fatah al-Sisi’s administration is trying to eradicate corruption and terrorism in Egypt. As a result, they’re passing hundreds of new laws restricting basic freedoms. Take the freedom of assembly, for example. “When you start talking about a law against people gathering together in a private home, well, is that going to affect house churches? Obviously it could; the police could come into that meeting as well,” explains Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) USA spokesman Todd Nettleton. Bottom-line: while government crackdowns are intended to target terrorists, Christians could bear the brunt of unintended ripple effects. “I think as we see him [SiSi], sort of, ‘tighten’ the levers of control, Christians are starting to say, ‘Wait a minute, we need to watch this closely,’” Nettleton shares. Government crackdowns: 2013 Two years ago, then-President Mohammed Morsi was ousted in a coup d’état by Egyptian Armed Forces. Several weeks of protests followed as demonstrators for and against Morsi’s removal gathered in the streets.

2013 protests

A series of government crackdowns culminated on August 14, 2013, in what is now known as the Rabaa massacre. The following summer, then-Defense Minister Abdul Fatah al-Sisi was elected President. “When SiSi came to power, predominantly the word we heard from Christians in Egypt was, ‘This is a good thing,’” Nettleton shares. “Coming out of the Muslim Brotherhood being in control, this looked like…a step in the right direction.” However, a barrage of new laws and the latest government crackdowns are making believers a little uneasy. Government crackdowns: 2015

President Sisi
(Photo courtesy Abdelfattah Elsisi via G+)

According to a recent Al-Monitor report, nearly 200 laws have been passed since Sisi took office. “There is not a sitting Parliament, and so these laws are being put in place by the presidential administration without a lot of checks and balances,” explains Nettleton. Furthermore, the laws are being put in place under the auspices of “fighting terrorism.” Anyone who questions whether the laws are needed is assumed to be a supporter of terrorism. “There are some real challenges going on in Egypt,” says Nettleton. “These laws are already being used to ‘put a lid on’ freedom of speech and freedom of assembly.” Over 20 people are currently being detained because of their activity on Facebook. “It does seem--from a human rights perspective, and a freedom perspective--things are going in a very concerning direction.”

(Photo credit 8thirty8 Facebook page)

Learn more about the troubles faced by Egyptian Christians on VOM’s Web site. As this story continues to unfold, please surround Egyptian believers in prayer. “Certainly as we see these laws passed, we want to be aware of the fact that they do affect Christians there as well,” notes Nettleton. Prayer Points
  • Pray that the new laws being put in place won’t hinder Church growth.
  • Ask the Lord to protect His followers in Egypt from potential harm.
Categories: Mission Network News