Let's pray this week again for the situation in Ukraine
Release International reports this week that occupying forces have closed down the three largest evangelical Protestant churches in Melitopol and shut down churches in Mariupol. In another raid, pro-Russian soldiers reportedly claimed that only one faith would be tolerated – Russian Orthodox.
- Russian troops raided Grace Baptist Church in Melitopol while a worship service was underway, shut it down and ordered the pastor to leave the city.
Grace Baptist Church worship service was being broadcast live when the troops moved in. Viewers watched online as soldiers halted the service. That video has since been removed from the Internet.
- The previous month occupation forces shut down Melitopol’s largest Protestant church. Melitopol Christian Church is described as charismatic and known for its 1,000-seat auditorium, substantial campus, palm trees and fountain.
- In the nearby village of Chkalovo, Russian Federation soldiers entered a church, broke up the evening service and shut the church down.
According to reports, they told the congregation: ‘Your feet will not be here after the referendum. We have only one faith: Orthodoxy.’ The church in Chkalovo has held worship services in the village every day since the war began. It was shut down on September 21.
- At Kurchatov Church in Mariupol, armed soldiers with their faces hidden by masks detained Baptist Pastor Leonid Ponomaryov and his wife Tatyana. They raided their home on the evening of September 21.
Neighbours reported hearing groans and cries as the pastor and his wife were taken away. No word was given to the family and church members of why or where they were being held.
- In the Luhansk region, Russian troops and separatists captured the city of Lysychansk in July. Local residents told them where the Christians were living, and leaders of the six Protestant churches were forced to flee. Remaining congregation members were driven underground.
Russian forces seized the Lysychansk Christian Centre and gutted the entire church library, tossing all the bibles and children’s books into a pile in the neighbouring yard.
At risk to themselves, Christian women who remained in the city have recovered the books and taken them to a place of safety, in the hope that they can be restored to the church in the future.
Release International associate Hyun Sook Foley says: ‘To gradually remove books day after day from the yard involved the risk of being identified as a Christian by occupation authorities who have been detaining and questioning Christians.’
This sort of thing has been going on in annexed Crimea since 2014, and has now begun the the more recently occupied areas.
Let's give thanks this week with Wycliffe Bible Translators for encouraging progress in Bible translation
The number of language programmes that Bible translation teams are working on has seen its biggest leap on record, with new programmes starting at a rate of one per day.
Also, Bibles and New Testaments have been launched at a rate of almost one per week.
- This year there has been the largest increase on record in one year of 367 languages where work has begun. That’s a massive 13% increase in one year – representing a new programme being started every day!
- There has also been the biggest increase on record of 52 languages with portions of Scripture available for the first time.
- A newly translated Bible or New Testament has been launched for almost every week of the year.
- Add portions of Scripture to this, and Scripture has been published in a new language at a rate of almost two per week.
- The number of languages with a complete Bible has risen by 7 to 724(from 717 last year).
- The number of languages with a complete New Testament has risen by 35 to 1,617 (from 1,582 last year).
- A further 1,248 languages have portions of the Bible translated (up 52 from 1,196 last year).
Finally let's pray for Wales
- For plans for outreach at the Urdd Eisteddfod in Llandovery next Spring
- For a place for us to meet in Llandovery to be finalised SOON
- For the development of imaginative forms of outreach in the marts ... particularly in the Carmarthen Chaplaincy Centre ... and for New Testaments and Scripture reading notes to bear fruit in people being saved.
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