[img]https://www.sermonindex.net/images/forum/2004/may/featured_news.gif[/img]BELARUS COURTS SEIZE PROPERTY OF 2 BAPTISTS FOR EASTER HOSPITAL VISITLocal courts in Belarus have ruled to confiscate the personal property of two Baptists and to dock the pay of another after the three sang hymns and distributed New Testaments during an Easter visit to a hospital in the southeastern town of Mozyr April 17. Regional religious affairs official Vladimir Klevtsov maintained on Sept. 1 that the three had violated the countrys religion law. Police were ordered to confiscate a car from Vasili Bilas, and an accountant at the workplace of Leonid Martynovich was ordered to dock his pay by one fifth every month. Court bailiffs threatened to remove valuables from the home of Nikolai Krynts. These measures follow the trios refusal to pay fines of 20 times the minimum wage for staging religious, sports, mass cultural or other spectator events.From the news flow at Intercessors Network
One can only gasp for breath.Let us engage in thorough intercession.Why are these poor friends targeted for persecution, while we are not. Our laziness as to spiritual work would qualify us for the whip.I suppose the Lord has almost given up on us.Terry
I have close friends in Belarus and have visited and preached there. Before the collapse of the old USSR, Belarus was looked upon as the perfect example of Soviet Citizenship; their citizens were Soviet and Communist first, and Belarussian second. Ethnicity had been subsumed in political identity. When the USSR collapsed the governing hierarchy in Belarus did not change its personnel. Some key characters moved from one government department to another but the politicians who had created the perfect example of Soviet Man remained in control of the country.Initially there were cosmetic changes intending to draw western funding into the country, but as disappointment took hold the country gradually reverted to its old ways. It is the only one of the old states of the USSR which would actively seek re-union with Russia. Belarus is now the most hostile of all the old soviet bloc to Christianity. During the last few years Christians have 'worked while it is day' and pushed out in powerful evangelistic thrusts into the country, but government 'hassle' has intensified at the same time.This news item is not a sudden jump but a next step in Belarus opposition to Christianity. There are many old soviet saints who have always believed that the 'head that was wounded' will recover. This has brought two opposite responses and a consequent tension among Christians. The one response has been to 'labour while it is day, the night cometh when no man can work'. The other response has been to 'shake of the dust of your feet as a testimonty against them'. In the years since the collapse of communisim hundreds of thousands of Russians, Belarussians, Ukrainians, Romanians and many others have emigrated to the US. Many of those who left had experienced fierce persecutions aimed at themselves and their families in the 'bad times'. They have young families and the opportunity to keep them safe; what would you do? Another tragedy hidden here is that all these people groups are intensely family orientated. The emigration of middle aged parents and families has torn families apart and left many of an older generation behind.Of those who have settled in the US another tension has emerged. The older saints are suspicious of the 'world' in the US and want as little to do with it as possible; they will strive to maintain their culture, language and traditions. The younger generation want to become American as quickly as possible. This tensions is tearing into many homes of immigrants.The events of the last decades have had enormous disruptive consequences to hundreds of thousands of Christians (perhaps millions) in the old soviet bloc. As we are able they desparately need our understanding and prayer.Added to all this pain... Belarus public buildings have digital readouts of time, temperature and background radiation! Most of Chernobyl's fallout landed here.