This is a prayer request I got this morning from medical missionaries that the church I served supports. Please take a few minutes and pray. This follows well the scripture meditation I posted yesterday!
As we have mentioned in the past, the proposed religious law in Kz has been making strong headway through the Upper and Lower Parliaments where they passed the bill unanimously. As of last week, the bill sits in the hands of the president of this country who can choose to sign it or veto it. He has 30 days to do so. The president was quoted earlier this year as saying, 'We don't need missionaries in Kazakhstan.' He holds great power!
Our friends have told us lately that on the news each night, the newscasters report on the religious law and they always end by saying that, in their opinion this new law is not strict enough. Inflammatory and sensationalized broadcasts of several Christian services have been repeatedly aired on the local TV stations (at least 3 times a day) in an attempt to promote anti-Christian sentiments and to promote the idea that Christianity is a sect.
Religious leaders all over Kazakhstan are asking for Christians to intensify their prayers for this country during this time. If brought into effect, these laws will shut down mission work and illegalize Christianity. Here is a summary of some of the changes in the bill:
Children under the age of 18 will not be permitted to attend church without written consent from BOTH their parents – this will prevent orphans and children of non-believers from attending Christian gatherings. Proselytizing (sharing the gospel) will become illegal. A spot fine of $500 will be given to individuals caught sharing their faith, their pastor will get a $500 fine, and their church will be fined $3,000. If they are caught a second time, their church will be shut down. A church is only official and permitted if they have 50 members who all are officially registered by bringing in their identity card to the officials. Religious humanitarian charities also have restrictions under the proposed bill. Religious literature publishing, importing, or distribution will be banned and will require government approval.
These restrictions are worse than what is currently in place in countries of Central Asia where Christians are openly persecuted. We ask that you join us in praying for our country.
For more information, there are plenty of news reports on this throughout the internet. Here are a few: http://www.forum18.org/Archive.php?article_id=1222 http://www.christiantoday.com/article/kazakhstan.under.fire.over.new.religion.law/22048.htm http://www.rferl.org/Content/Kazakhstans_Draft_Law_On_Religion_Sparks_Debate/1355491.html http://www.rferl.org/Content/Kazakh_Pass_Religion_Law_Surprising_OSCE/1353258.html
"Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you, and that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men." 2 Thessalonians 3:1-2a.
Thanks for standing with us in prayer for Kazakhstan and our brothers and sisters there!!