July 31; reported August 6, 2012 Bhutan
If you’re like me, you tend to think of Buddhists as peaceful, nonviolent people, but as you will see from this report, they are not necessarily so. Reports from various areas tend to tell of the violence of “radical Buddhists” against Christians, but Bhutan is officially against Christianity. On July 31, Pema Sherpa, a house church leader from the town of Gelephu, was beaten and threatened with death by a government official. The reality of life for the Christian in Bhutan is distressingly the same as in many other anti-Christian countries: “The practice of Christianity is technically illegal, and Bhutanese who become Christians can pay a high price. They may lose their citizenship and associated benefits such as free education and healthcare, their job, and even access to water and electricity. Some face harassment and beatings.” About 2% of the population in Bhutan is Christian.
Source: Barnabas Aid
August 6 & 7; reported August 7, 2012 Laos
In an action that is against the constitution of Laos, the village leaders of Nahoukou village ordered five families to stop practicing their Christian faith – to stop meeting together and to recant their faith (which is considered a “foreign religion.”). They were threatened with harm if they do not comply with the village leaders and fellow non-Christian villagers. When the church leader there, Tongkoun Keohavong, was questioned in the village, he said: “God is real. When we believe, we are healed from sickness and immediately delivered from the possession of evil spirits.” He further stated: “We cannot deny the reality of God’s power.”
April – present, reported July 23, 2012 Uzbekistan
Baptist house church leader Yelena Kim has been charged with illegally teaching religion in the country of Uzbekistan; the sentence for this is 3 years or less. Her house church was raided during a Sunday service in April, but police returned in June with a warrant and confiscated bibles, computer discs, a copier, and more. Yelena’s husband is being charged too, apparently, but the source was unclear. Another church member, Losif Skaev, also had his house raided and Christian items were removed. This “comes amid international concerns about President Islam Karimov’s perceived autocratic style towards groups and individuals deemed dangerous [to] the former Soviet state. Critics say Karimov takes a ruthlessly harsh approach to all forms of opposition” (BNL). The Kims had been fined a number of times prior to the raids and sentencing.
Please pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ.