Religious freedom report indicates much prayer is needed

By November 11, 2005

USA (MNN) — Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Vietnam. These are all countries the United States is calling “Countries of Particular Concern” as part of the State Department’s 2005 International Freedom Report.

Voice of the Martyrs’ Todd Nettleton says, “The countries did not change from the report one year ago. Although, in announcing the report they did talk about progress in Vietnam. They talked about progress in some of the other places.”

The report, required under U-S law, allows the government do something about this, says Nettleton. “The law allows the government to sanction some of these countries as a way of kind of influencing them toward more freedom of religion. Only Eritrea has been sanctioned in the last year. (It’s) interesting because Eritrea has probably the least economic value to the United States.”

Nettleton says however, that there is good news going on in all of these nations, spiritually. “These are countries where the church is growing. Is it the persecution that helps the church grow? Or, is it the fact that the church is growing that leads to more persecution?” Either way, God is doing great things.

While their countries of particular concern in the eyes of the U-S, Nettleton says, “We, as Christians, should think of them as countries for particular prayer. These are places where Christians are suffering. These are the places where our brothers and sisters are locked up, are beaten, are sometimes even killed for their faith in Christ.”

VOM is working in each of these countries. “China, obviously, we have a very major work in China. North Korea is a country we have focused more attention on this year and Iran, we’re sponsoring some television broadcasts into Iran,” says Nettleton.

Pray that their work will encourage the church, empowering them to do even more to see people turn to Christ.

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