25 July 2023
More than 50 Christian converts from Islam arrested in Iran; Church building destroyed by vandals in Lakes State, South Sudan; Church leaders celebrate two new church buildings in Upper Egypt
- More than 50 Christian converts were arrested by security forces in five cities across north-western Iran in the period 11-18 July. The believers were arrested at their homes or venues for “house churches” in Tehran, Karaj, Rasht, Orumiyeh and Aligoudarz. At the time of writing the charges against them are unknown and they remain in detention. Worship in Iran’s majority language Farsi (Persian) is forbidden and Farsi-speaking Christians are typically charged with “acting against national security”. Pray for an end to this wave of arrests. Ask that the authorities will release all those arrested unharmed, and that Christian converts will be able to live and practise their faith in peace.
- A church building in Rumbek, Lakes State, South Sudan, was burned down on 22 July by unknown attackers. Gabriel Majok Mayom, one of the church leaders, said that “the church is not a structure, the church is the people”, but added that the loss of the building was a blow to the congregation. Ask the Lord to provide for His people who have lost their building and equipment.
- Church leaders in Minya governorate, Upper Egypt, have expressed their thankfulness at the laying of foundation stones for two new church buildings, one in New Minya city and the other in Zayya Sultan district. Dr Andrea Zaki Stephanous, Egypt’s most senior evangelical leader, said, “Today events are brimming with joy.” He also expressed his thanks to President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi for his support for the Christian community. Before the repeal of Ottoman-era restrictions by President El-Sisi’s government in 2017 it was virtually impossible for any new churches to be built. Give thanks for the opportunity to construct two new church buildings. Pray that the new buildings, when finished, will be a blessing to the Lord’s people.