“Remember the prisoners as if chained with them – those who are mistreated – since you yourselves are in the body also.” Hebrews 13:3
From 10 to 17 November 2002, hundreds of thousands of congregations worldwide will be observing International Days of Prayer for the persecuted Church. It is estimated that over 200 million Christians suffer persecution from totalitarian and anti-Christian governments. Over 200 000 Christians die for their faith every year.
This year the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted (IDOP) is seeking to focus particularly on Afghanistan, Red China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Laos, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Turkmenistan. The World Evangelical Alliance has launched a website for IDOP. This includes country profiles, sermon and Bible study aids and programmes for use in Sunday services or Sunday School programmes. You can access the IDOP website through the Frontline Fellowship website: (www.frontline.org.za) which maintains a live link with IDOP. You can also download recent reports on Zimbabwe, Sudan, Angola and other areas of persecution where Frontline Fellowship works, from our website.
Please do especially remember the persecuted Christians during this week. Encourage your congregation to focus on praying for the persecuted. Include prayers for the persecuted in your family devotions. We would recommend that you pray the Psalms for the persecuted Church during this time. In our family we have been using mealtimes to particularly pray our way through the Psalms for those Christians suffering in Zimbabwe. (Some of the Psalms you may find particularly relevant and appropriate for the persecuted Church would include: Psalm 2, 5, 7, 11, 27, 37, 46, 52, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 64, 67, 68, 72, 83, 91, 94, 96, 97).
“O Righteous God, Who searches minds and hearts, bring an end to the violence of the wicked and make the righteous secure.” Psalm 7:9
Pray for Sudan
Despite “peace talks” and promises of a “cease-fire”, aerial bombardments by the Sudan Air Force have increased. There have been reports that the Government of Sudan has obtained advanced MiG-29 fighter-bombers. And we have begun receiving reports of MiG-29’s bombing hospitals and churches in Southern Sudan. There have also been increased threats by the National Islamic Front government to shoot down unauthorised (non-United Nations) aircraft. There have been specific threats to shoot down aircraft belonging to organisations not registered with the United Nations, such as our mission, and any attempting to enter ‘no-fly zone’ areas.
Please pray for the Frontline Fellowship team, which is delivering and distributing a major shipment of Bibles to desperately needy and neglected areas.
“Finally, brethren, pray for us that the Word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified, just as it is with you, and that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men; for not all have faith.” 2 Thessalonians 3:1-2
Pray for Zimbabwe
Marxist president Robert Mugabe has mobilised the state-controlled media, the army, police, mobs of “war veterans” and youth militia to invade farms, businesses and game reserves, slaughtering endangered wildlife, destroying huge forests, looting farm houses, burning fields of crops, mutilating livestock and beating up and murdering members of the opposition. Pastors have been arrested, even for conducting a prayer meeting. Those few journalists not controlled by the government have been subjected to extraordinary harassment and terrorism. The only independent daily newspaper has been repeatedly bombed; the Editor and journalists beaten and tortured. An independent radio station has also been bombed. Zimbabwe is in the grip of state-sponsored terrorism and anarchy.
“Destructive forces are at work in the city; threats and lies never leave its streets.” Psalm 55:11
Please pray for missionaries, pastors, farmers and game rangers who are attempting to save lives in the midst of the lawlessness and man-made famine being engineered by the Zimbabwe government.
Pray for Reformation
On October 31st, Frontline Fellowship hosted the fourth annual Reformation Conference in Cape Town. After a full day of great Power Point presentations and discussions, boxes of Bibles and books were given to the Xhosa pastors present, for the work of Reformation in Khayelitsha. About a million Black people – mostly Xhosa-speaking — live in Khayelitsha, a huge city of mostly informal dwellings near Cape Town. At a Reformation Sunday church service a week earlier, Peter, Tim and Victoria launched a new outreach in Khayelitsha, co-operating with the Ministers’ Fraternal, in distributing Bibles for the many poor and destitute people in their congregations. Film evangelism, Leadership Training, Literature distribution and special services are planned over the next three months as we seek to serve and empower these many congregations with the Word of God.
Our Covenant Bible College in Zambia has just completed its second successful year. The principal, Rev. David Fraser, reports a great enthusiasm for evangelism and Reformation by the students, who conduct evangelism throughout the surrounding villages and lead church services as far as 80 km’s away. Their transport being by bicycle or foot. Outreaches by the mission base team have been conducted even further afield, including in nearby Moçambique.
“Declare His glory among the nations, His marvellous deeds among all peoples.” Psalm 96:3
The Frontline Fellowship mission base in Zambia has not only been serving the community by training pastors from several denominations, but by providing the only medical doctor at the district hospital. Many lives have been saved by the medical work, and even more have been led to Christ through the chaplaincy ministry conducted by the Bible students in the hospital.
Other associated evangelists, trained by Frontline Fellowship, have been conducting regular mission outreaches into Zimbabwe and the Congo. The Excellence Christian Academy, which we have been supporting in Zambia, now has over 180 students, and they recently conducted an outreach in neighbouring Malawi. Earlier this year I conducted Reformation Seminars in Lusaka, Kabwe and Petauke, with a total of over 300 pastors, teachers and other participants.
Please also pray for my wife, Lenora, and her father, Rev. Bill Bathman, who are engaged on a five-nation mission trip to Eastern Europe. Bill Bathman, who has been ministering (mostly to the persecuted Church in Eastern Europe) for over 50 years, has been taking his daughter, Lenora, behind the Iron Curtain since she was four years old. By God’s grace, Bill and Lenora have already completed their ministry in Romania, Slovenia, Hungary and Austria and are now in Poland. It is our prayer that these countries, which suffered so much under communist persecution and have come shining through, will become missionary-sending nations, particularly to those countries that are still suffering persecution.
“May Your ways be known on earth, Your salvation among all nations.” Psalm 67:2