Release 60 - Release International

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Release 60 - Release International

RELEASEWOMENENCOURAGING OUR SISTERS – INSPIRED BY THEIR FAITHThe Costly CallOur ministry involves:Showing God’s compassionproviding for the needs ofthe families of martyrs andprisonersServing God’s churchenabling them to survivepersecution and its effectsSharing God’s lovehelping the persecuted churchbring to Christ those who areopposed to the gospelSpreading God’s Wordsupplying Bibles andliterature to meet the needfor growth and evangelismSpeaking as God’sadvocatesbeing the voice of the martyrsand the oppressedRELEASE SPEAKERSWhy not invite one of Release’s teamof development managers to speakin your church or small group?North and Central England, WalesTel 01234 271855South of England Tel 01689 823491Ireland Tel 028 9334 0014Scotland Tel 01294 602674release:potential (youth)Tel 01689 823491Chief Executive:Andy DipperCouncil of Reference:Rt Rev Michael Nazir-AliRt Rev Wallace BennLyndon BowringDavid CoffeyMartin GoldsmithFrog and Amy Orr-EwingBoard of Trustees:Peter C. Ewins ACA (Chairman)Geoffrey L. Alexander (Vice-Chairman)Geoffrey A. Seaton FCCA (Treasurer)David Adeney, Robert Ashurst,Ian R. Frith, William J. Hanna,Tony Jones, Susan V. RandRelease International,PO Box 54, Orpington BR5 9RTTelephone 01689 823491email info@releaseinternational.orgwebsite www.releaseinternational.orgRELEASE MAGAZINEDesign: Mike ThorpeCopyright© 2011 Release InternationalRegistered Charity 280577. The ministry ofChristian Mission to the Communist World,a company limited by guarantee in England,No. 1506576. Registered office: Times House,Throwley Way, Sutton SM1 4JQ.For many women the call to follow Christ can require manysacrifices – as Pullamma discovered.A frail woman in her sixties, with poorhearing and failing eyesight, Pullamma isfrom a small village in the Indian state ofAndhra Pradesh.When she heard the gospel and acceptedit she was the first person in her communityto become a Christian. Pullamma had beenill at the time and was praying for a ‘god’ toheal her. Someone visiting the village sharedthe gospel with her, and she committedherself to the Lord Jesus Christ.As a result, she was thrown out of hervillage. Local people snatched the two acresof land she owned, and denied her access towork or any means of providing for herself.For several days she slept in the open air,under bushes, living – as she put it – like anomad.Her desire to continue following Christshone through her adversityShe eventually managed to find friendswho allowed her to sleep at their home.Release’s partner in India, the All IndiaChristian Council (AICC), heard of her plightand began advising her.When Release staff met Pullamma lastautumn her desire to continue followingChrist shone through her adversity.HEART2HEARTWOMEN’SCONFERENCESJoin us for a special time of fellowshipand prayer, and a chance to hear firsthand from sisters who have facedpersecution.Saturday, May 21 10am-3.30pmChristchurch, St Albans Road, Barnet,Herts EN5 4LATickets cost £7 (concession £5)Saturday, July 2Methodist Church, Badminton Road,Downend, Bristol BS16 6NUContact the Release office on 01689823491 for more informationPullammaCONTINUING STRUGGLELife continues to be a struggle for her. Thereare now a few believers living nearby whotake turns providing meals for her.With the help of our partner, she hasapproached the local government about thepossibility of having a small piece of landon which she can have a more permanenthome. Other options are currently beinglooked at by our partner, including someform of nursing home care where she canreceive Christian love and support.Pullamma’s story is a reminder of howisolated a person can sometimes feel onbecoming a Christian. Some of us mayexperience this, if we find ourselves to be theonly Christian in a local neighbourhood, orplace of work (or if no other member of ourfamily is a Christian). In such circumstancesany true Christian fellowship we find is avital lifeline.PLEASE PRAYPlease pray for Pullamma, and thank Godthat she remains a follower of Christ. Prayalso for AICC staff who are seeking to helpher; that God will give them wisdom inknowing the best way forward.10 RELEASE


EDITORIALEncouragementat the PakistanHigh CommissionIn January I hadthe privilege ofrepresentingsupporters in theUK and Ireland, andChristian partnersin Pakistan, when Ipresented our petition to the Pakistan HighCommission in London. I was joined by ourpatron, Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali. We hadbeen given an opportunity to talk with theHigh Commissioner himself, which was anencouraging sign.As we entered the High Commission thecongeniality of both the receptionist andthe third secretary was professional andrespectful. Waiting for a few moments inthe reception hall, some seemed curious asto what was in the two large boxes of paperswe were carrying.We were taken up stairs to the sittingroom in the High Commissioner’s suite.A plaque on the wall commemorated thefounding Governor-General of Pakistan,Mohammed Al Jinnah.When the new nation of Pakistan wasformed in 1947, following the partitionof British India, Jinnah’s vision was for acountry where every citizen, of every classor creed, could enjoy equal rights and equalopportunities. This included religiousfreedom.Religious freedomIn his policy speech of August 11, 1947,Jinnah declared: ‘You are free: you are freeto go to your temples, you are free to goto your mosques or to any other place ofF o u n d at i o n sworship in this state of Pakistan. You maybelong to any religion or caste or creed.’Jinnah’s dream was symbolised in thecountry’s flag: the Muslim majority wererepresented by the green, and the country’sreligious minorities (Christian, Hindu andothers) by the white stripe. All were to bevalued and treated equally.Mindful of this heritage, we wereintroduced to the High Commissioner,Mr Wajid Shamsul Hasan, and membersof his team. We talked about the conditionof Christians in Pakistan and the adverseimpact of the laws on their ability to livewithin society.Growing extremismWe noted that extremists are increasinglytaking the law into their own hands,carrying out extra-judicial killings andare seeking to force the moderate majorityto maintain unjust laws which are usedagainst minorities in Pakistan, not justChristians.We urged the High Commissioner tochallenge the Government in Pakistan toreform the unjust laws in a constitutional‘The message I bring from theunderground church is: “Don’tabandon us! Don’t forget us!” ’Pastor Richard Wurmbrand, founder of Release, writing inTortured for Christ.review, including, but not limited to, theblasphemy laws. The High Commissionerpromised to take up our concerns withPresident Zadari and Prime Minister Gillanipersonally.As a moderate Muslim, Mr Hasan hada lot of sympathy with our concerns. Hisview was that extremist elements withinPakistan are rising in strength and thatthis is both potentially destructive andextremely unhelpful for the coalitionGovernment.Prayer vigilI emphasised twice that the gathered groupoutside and across the road was not aprotest, but a prayer vigil, and that peoplewere praying for the people of Pakistan, forthe High Commissioner and for a reform inthe constitution.Much to the surprise of his staff andthe policemen on duty, Mr Hasan thenannounced that he would like to speak tothe group outside.He thanked those who had come forbearing the cold, for praying and forsupporting the Pakistani people, andencouraged us all to remember that thereare many being oppressed in Pakistan,including Christians. His statement wasrecorded by BBC Radio Four and ourselves(you can listen to it on our website at www.releaseinternational.org/audio).Grace, strength and justiceAt the end of his speech, I offered to prayfor him, the High Commission and forthe Government of Pakistan. Togetherwe Christians prayed for God’s grace, forstrength and that justice would be upheldin Pakistan for all.It was truly a very encouraging time. Ireally want to thank everyone who signedthe 51,530-strong petition, and also thegroup of wonderful friends who gatheredtogether to pray on that cold pavementbehind the barriers in Knightsbridge.Thank you, each and every one of you.Together we stand with our brothers andsisters in Christ who face persecution fortheir faith in Jesus. Praise the Lord for Hisgrace and goodness! Let’s press on and keepon praying and campaigning for Christiansin Pakistan, in North Korea and in othernations around the world this year.Andy Dipper, CEORELEASE 11

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