Pakistani pastor shot and injured after refusing to convert to Islam; Armenian church leaders call on US President to act to prevent genocide in Nagorno-Karabakh; Two civilians killed by soldiers in Christian-majority Kayah State, Myanmar; Taxi driver attacked for playing Christian song in Belo Horizonte, Brazil; Authorities prevent church bombing in Uganda
- A pastor in Punjab, Pakistan, was hospitalised after being shot in the shoulder by an Islamist extremist on the evening of Sunday 3 September. Eleazar Sidhu – also known as Pastor Vicky – is the minister of a church in Faisalabad where Islamist slogans and threats against him were painted on the walls. He was returning home from conducting an evening service in nearby Jaranwala when he was accosted by an armed extremist. The gunman asked Pastor Vicky to recite the Islamic declaration of faith, which would have been considered a conversion to Islam. The pastor was shot when he instead began reciting a declaration of faith in Christ. The shooting follows widespread anti-Christian violence in Jaranwala last month. Give thanks for the faith of our brother Sidhu. Pray for his recovery and the wellbeing of his family. Pray also for the Lord’s hand of protection over Pakistan’s vulnerable Christian community.
- Armenian church leaders in the United States have called on President Joe Biden to take urgent action to prevent genocide by starvation in the Christian enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh. This region has been blockaded by Muslim-majority Azerbaijan since 12 December 2022. In an open letter, the church leaders said that this “cruel and inhumane blockade” was leading to shortages of food, water, medicine, fuel and other essentials. Armenian and British church leaders have also appealed to UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. Pray that these appeals will be heeded, and that action will be taken to end the blockade and prevent the genocide of Armenian Christians.
- Anti-Christian violence is continuing in Myanmar, with further attacks on civilians in Christian areas by the Buddhist extremist Tatmadaw (Myanmar military). Two civilians were arrested and killed by soldiers in the Momauk township of Christian-majority Kachin State on 30 August. Around 100 people from the area have since been displaced, with some taking shelter in a church building. Three men were also killed in aerial attacks on villages and IDP (internally displaced persons) camps in Kayah State, which has a large Christian population. Ask for an end to violence in Myanmar, so that all people can live in peace. Pray especially for the Lord’s protection over His people.
- A Christian taxi driver in the Belo Horizonte metropolitan area of Minas Gerais State, Brazil, was attacked by her passengers for playing a Christian song as she was driving. Mariana Domingues Fidelis, 27, asked two passengers to get out of her taxi after they began swearing at and threatening her. After leaving the taxi the couple began punching Mariana and pulling her hair. A parking attendant nearby intervened, and the couple were arrested. Pray for Mariana, asking that she will recover from the shock of her experience. Ask that the Lord will strengthen believers in regions of the world where hostility towards Christians is increasing.
- Police in Uganda have foiled an attempt to carry out an attack on a church in the country’s capital Kampala on Sunday 3 September. Kintu Ibrahim, 28, was arrested as he was about to enter the church with an improvised explosive device. He confessed that three other men have also been sent to carry out similar attacks. Praise God that the police were able to intercept the terrorist and prevent loss of lives. Pray that any other planned attacks will be thwarted.