LETTERS TO THE PERSECUTED CHURCH
Many around the world are persecuted for their faith.
What an opportunity we have to pray for those struggling because of their faith. Below you will see many believers persecuted for their faith. Read their biographies, write letters of encouragement and pray for those sacrificing so much for the gospel.
Don’t forget those who are in prison. Remember them as though you were in prison with them. And don’t forget those who are suffering. Remember them as though you were suffering with them.
PRISONER PROFILE - SAHEB FADAEE (IRAN)
Saheb (Zaman) Fadaee is serving a 10-year prison sentences on charges of “acting against national security” and “promoting Zionist Christianity.” He is a member of the Church of Iran.
He was sentenced in July 2017 and began his sentence a year later in July 2018. Saheb was also sentenced to 80 lashes for drinking wine during Communion.
On June 22, 2020, Saheb (Zaman) Fadaee’s prison sentence was reduced to six years. Further areas for appeal are also being explored.
Would you like to write to Saheb? CLICK HERE
PRISONER PROFILE - YOUSEF NADARKHANI (IRAN)
Yousef Nadarkhani and three of his church members, Saheb (Zaman) Fadaee, Mohammad Ali (Yasser) Mosayebzadeh and Mohammad Reza Omidi, are serving 10-year prison sentences on charges of “acting against national security” and “promoting Zionist Christianity.” The men are all members of the Church of Iran.
Yousef, 45, had spent nearly three years in prison after being sentenced to death for apostasy in 2010. He was acquitted in September 2012.
The believers, along with Yousef’s wife, Fatemeh Pasandideh, were arrested on Friday, May 13, 2016. Yousef and Fatemeh were released on bail the same day, while Saheb, Mohammad Ali and Mohammad Reza were released on bail two weeks later.
The four men were sentenced in July 2017 and began their sentences a year later in July 2018, after violent arrests at their homes. Fatemeh was reportedly told she would be arrested if she left Gilan Province. Saheb, Mohammad Ali and Mohammad Reza were also sentenced to 80 lashes each for drinking wine during Communion.
Yousef became a Christian at age 19. His wife is also a Christian convert from Islam, and the couple have been fighting for more than 10 years for the rights of their two boys to be recognized as Christians. For the past several years, the boys have been denied certificates showing they completed their studies, because they refused to take Islamic classes.
On June 22, 2020, Yousef Nadarkhani’s prison sentence was reduced to six years. Further areas for appeal are also being explored.
Would you like to write to Yousef? CLICK HERE
PRISONER PROFILE - TWEN THEODROS (ERITREA - EAST AFRICA)
Twen was arrested in the Eritrean capital, Asmara, in 2004 but was released after her father persuaded her to sign a paper saying she would not continue to meet with other Christians, share her faith or engage in Christian activities. In 2005, she was re-arrested after she was found participating in an evening prayer meeting in an underground church. Following her arrest, Twen was sent to Mai Sirwa Prison. In 2006, she was joined by a large group of detainees who were arrested at a Christian wedding celebration in Asmara.
Twen in Good Health – May 2019
A VOM partner reports that Twen is in good health in prison.
Would you like to write to Twen? CLICK HERE
PRISONER PROFILE - MUSSIE EZAZ (ERITREA - EAST AFRICA)
Mussie Ezaz was arrested in September 2007 when Eritrean authorities came after him for his work as a youth minister with the Kale Hiwot (Word of Life) Church. He worked as an evangelist for 14 years and served with Youth for Christ for a number of years before developing a ministry to youth at the Kale Hiwot Church, and other believers described him as a kind, generous and gifted leader
Recent reports indicate Mussie is located at the maximum-security crime investigation unit (Wenjel Mermera) in the capital city of Asmara. Many other pastors and church leaders are and were imprisoned there, some for more than 10 years. As with other Christians imprisoned in Eritrea, Mussie has never been tried or charged. His family has no idea whether he will ever be released.
Mussie is married and has three children waiting for him to come home.
Would you like to write to MUSSIE? CLICK HERE
PRISONER PROFILE - HAILE NAYZGI (ERITREA - EAST AFRICA)
During the early morning hours of May 23, 2004, Haile Nayzgi was arrested and taken to Police Station #1 in Asmara. He was the leader of Eritrea’s Full Gospel Church, which is comprised of 120 to 150 house meeting groups. The church groups were closed by government decree at a meeting with a government official on May 15, 2002. At that time the church groups were given an application form for government registration. The Full Gospel Church filled out the form and returned it to the appropriate offices, but no reply was ever received.
Haile is married and has three children. He was previously an accountant with World Evangelical Alliance. During his incarceration, Haile has been refused any personal contact with his family. When family and friends went to take food and clothing to the prison for Haile on August 24, 2004, they were told that he was no longer there. Mr. Nayzgi has been moved to various locations since his arrest, but the actual charges against him have not been released.
Would you like to write to HAILE? CLICK HERE
PRISONER PROFILE - IMRAN GRAFUR (PAKISTAN)
On Jan. 11, 2010, Imran Ghafur Masih was sentenced to life in prison and fined 100,000 rupees ($1,155 U.S.), according to The Voice of the Martyrs contacts.
Imran has been in prison for nearly 10 years on false blasphemy charges.
Imran Ghafur’s family told us how Imran spends his time in prison. At midnight, Imran prays and sings spiritual songs. Sometimes Muslim prisoners join him and ask him to pray for them. Imran also spends a lot of time in prayer and Bible reading. He is anxious to be released so he can “do missionary work for Jesus.”
Would you like to write to IMRAN? CLICK HERE
PRISONER PROFILE - ZHANG SHAOJIE (CHINA)
Pastor Zhang Shaojie of Nanle County Christian Church in Henan Province, is currently serving a 12-year prison term for “gathering a crowd to disrupt the public order” and a fabricated fraud charge.
Pastor Zhang was initially detained on Nov. 16, 2013, when authorities asked to meet with him at his church. Instead, authorities bound Zhang, who served as the local head of the China Christian Council and Three-Self Patriotic Movement, and took him into custody.
Zhang was sentenced to 12 years in prison on July 4, 2014, and his August appeal to a higher court was rejected. Zhang was 49 when he was arrested.
Would you like to write to ZHANG? CLICK HERE
PRISONER PROFILE - JOHN CAO (CHINA)
On March 5, 2017, police arrested Cao San-Qiang (John Cao), a Chinese pastor known for his work among Myanmar’s poor. Authorities charged Pastor Cao with “organizing illegal crossings of national borders.
Pastor Cao, 58, is married to an American citizen and is a long-time resident of North Carolina. Experts believe his arrest and sentencing are related to the ruling Communist Party’s attempts to control the house church movement.
Pray for the pastor’s wife, Jamie Powell, and their sons, Benjamin and Amos.
7-year Sentence Upheld – July 2019
Would you like to write to JOHN? CLICK HERE
PRISONER PROFILE - ALIMUJIANG YIMITI (CHINA)
In September 2007 Chinese government officials closed Alimujiang Yimiti’s business and accused him of using it as a cover up for “preaching Christianity among people of Uyghur ethnicity.” Alimujiang, a former Muslim, became a Christian more than 10 years ago and has been an active Christian in the growing Uyghur church.
On Aug. 6, 2009, the Kashi District Intermediate Court secretly sentenced Alimujiang to 15 years imprisonment on the charge of “illegally providing state secrets to foreign nationals.”
Gulinuer his wife, and her two children are only allowed to visit Alimujiang for 15 minutes every three months. She said he needs prayer for prison life, since he encounters many who are antagonistic. She requested prayer for her children. She said her 8-year-old is always dreaming about when his dad gets out. Her oldest son has lost hope and is sad and discouraged.
Would you like to write to ALIMUJIANG? CLICK HERE
PRISONER PROFILE - DR. KIFLU GEBREMESKEL (ERITREA)
Dr. Kiflu Gebremeskel, a leading figure of Full Gospel Church of Eritrea, founder and senior pastor of Southwest Full Gospel Church and member of the executive committee to the Full Gospel Church of Eritrea, was arrested on May 23, 2004. He has a Ph.D. in mathematics from Chicago University. His wife and four children have not been able to visit him.
About 2,000 Eritrean Christians are believed to be under arrest because of their religious beliefs, held in police stations, military camps and prisons in 12 known locations across Eritrea. Dr. Gebremeskel is one of the 28 clergymen being held.
Would you like to write to DR. GEBREMESKEL? CLICK HERE
PRISONER PROFILE - DR. KIDANE WELDOU (ERITREA)
Pastor Kidane Weldou disappeared (March 2005) and is presumably detained by Eritrean security forces. His vehicle was found abandoned in downtown Asmara. He is a senior pastor of the Full Gospel Church and has been a leader in the church for many years. Weldou is married and has four daughters. His family has been unable to learn his whereabouts.
According to Compass Direct newly compiled statistics smuggled out of Eritrea indicate that at least 1,918 Eritrean citizens are imprisoned and subjected to torture and forced labor because of their religious beliefs; 95 percent of these known religious prisoners of conscience are Christians.
Would you like to write to KIDANE WELDOU? CLICK HERE
PRISONER PROFILE - MUSSIE EYOB (ERITREA)
Mussie Eyob became a Christian in 2008. In 2011, while living in Saudi Arabia, he visited a local mosque in Jeddah to meet and talk with attendees about Christianity. He was arrested for preaching to Muslims and imprisoned in Saudi Arabia.
He was deported back to Eritrea in November 2011.
Mussie is being held at the Me’etr prison in north west Eritrea. It is situated in a dry, barren, inhospitable area with harsh weather conditions for most of the year. The prison itself is like a labor camp where prisoners are required to work the land, something that is extremely difficult for prisoners who are old or infirm
At last report, Mussie appears to be in reasonably good health and he tries to work on behalf of the sick and the weak. Before he was arrested, Mussie supported his mother and sister.
Would you like to write to MUSSIE EYOB? CLICK HERE
PRISONER PROFILE - MERON GEBRESELASIE (ERITREA)
Pastor Meron Gebreselasie was arrested on June 3, 2004. Meron, also known as Million, was the pastor of Massawa Rhema Evangelical Church in Massawa, a Red Sea port city. He was also an anesthetist at Massawa Hospital.
Meron was detained at a checkpoint. He has been in prison ever since. He has been charged, tried or given prison sentences.
Would you like to write to MERON GEBRESELASIE? CLICK HERE
PRISONER PROFILE - NASER NAVARD GOL-TAPEH (IRAN)
Naser Navard Gol-Tapeh was arrested on June 24, 2016 when 30 intelligence agents raided an engagement party at a house in the Andisheh township of Karaj, near Tehran.
Most of the Christians were released after questioning, but Naser and the Azeris were transferred to Evin prison – some sources suggest that Naser was not released because he was older than the other Christians present and was perceived as the leader.
On May 23, 2017, Judge Ahmadzadeh sentenced Naser to ten years in prison.
In 2020 he wrote a letter in which he requested prayer that his family would come to follow Jesus and for the spread of the gospel in Iran.
Would you like to write to NASER NAVARD GOL-TAPEH? CLICK HERE
PRISONER PROFILE - WANG YI (CHINA)
Pastor Wang Yi is the influential leader of Early Rain Covenant Church in the city of Chengdu, Sichuan province – one of the best-known house churches in China. He and his wife, Jiang Rong, were detained in December 2018 and charged with “inciting subversion of state power” and “illegal business operations.”
On Dec. 30, 2019 , Pastor Wang Yi was sentenced at the Intermediate People’s Court of Chengdu City, Sichuan province after a secret Dec. 26 trial. He was charged with “instigating subversion of state power” and “illegal business management” for being the senior pastor of Early Rain Covenant Church. Along with the nine year sentence, he was sentenced to deprivation of his political rights for three years.
Would you like to write to WANG YI? CLICK HERE