Friends of a popular Pakistani preacher, who was killed by a hit-and-run driver, believe he may have been murdered because of his conversion from Islam.
Rashid Mehmood, 33, came from a rich, influential Muslim family but turned to Christ in 2005. Though he trained as a lawyer, he decided to become a pastor and preach the Gospel, despite strong opposition from his relatives.
On 23 December 2013, Rashid was a passenger on a motorbike driven by his pastor friend when a car began to chase them, and then deliberately struck the motorbike. Rashid suffered serious head injuries and died later in hospital after undergoing surgery.
Two days before his death, Rashid had preached about Jesus being the only true and living God and the embodiment of God’s love, quoting from the Koran at several points. According to sources, Rashid was a role model for other Christians with a Muslim background and his death “broke people’s hearts.”
Source: Release International
- Pray for those grieving the loss of Rashid that they will be comforted by the Spirit’s sure presence.
- Pray Rashid’s passion for sharing the Gospel continue among other believers from Muslim backgrounds.
- Just as God reached out to Saul, a ruthless persecutor, may He also draw to Himself those who opposed Rashid (Acts 9:1-19).
IRAN: Shahnaz Jayzan Released from Prison
Shahnaz Jayzan, an Iranian Christian arrested in December 2011, was released from prison on 28 January. Shahnaz was imprisoned along with Naser Zamen-Dezfuli, Davoud Alijani and her husband, Pastor Farhad Sabokrouh. The three men were earlier freed after spending over 200 days in jail.
Shahnaz’s release was conditional, and she is required to report to the Revolutionary Court of Ahwaz every four months. According to sources, Shahnaz and Pastor Farhad are not permitted to hold church services or visit Christians in Khuzestan province. Also, they were told they should leave Ahwaz, their hometown.
Source: Mohabat News
- Thank God Shahnaz has also been released from prison.
- Pray that she and her husband will continue to serve God faithfully, despite the limitations placed on them by authorities.
- Remember in prayer the many other Iranian believers who remain imprisoned, ask God to grant them endurance and pray also that they will soon be released.
You can impact and encourage imprisoned Christians by writing letters, reminding them that they are not forgotten.
SOUTH SUDAN: Female Church Workers Raped and Killed
Scores of female church workers were massacred last month as they sought refuge at a church in the central South Sudanese town of Bor.
The women, several of whom were elderly, had fled rebel attacks to hide in the St Andrew’s Episcopal Church compound, when rebels descended on them, raping several of them before shooting them at close range. Five of the women worked as pastors in the church.
Since the conflict erupted, several churches have been attacked and looted, and pastors harassed. In Malakal, the St Francis Catholic Church compound was attacked and looted in mid-January, and the priest robbed. The local Anglican and Evangelical churches were also looted.
The most affected areas are the north-eastern states of Jonglei, Unity and Upper Nile. Bor, the headquarters of Jonglei State, was totally destroyed, with houses, food stores, shops, banks and churches burnt down and looted.
Source: World Watch Monitor
- Plead with the Lord to intervene, to bring a cessation of the brutality and bloodshed.
- Pray for those who have lost loved ones and livelihoods, ask the Lord to strengthen them, provide for them and comfort them in their sufferings.
- Pray the Lord will use this time of unrest to strengthen His church and draw many into His kingdom.