(Voice of the Persecuted) Yesterday may have seemed like any other day, but we witnessed God perform a miracle and many of you were used by Him to fulfill it! God doesn’t need us to accomplish miracles. However, it seems He takes great pleasure to perform miracles by means of our prayers, our hands, His Church—to shine His light brightly from us, the Body of Christ!
For those of you who follow our mission, you know we are greatly concerned for persecuted Christians who go mainly overlooked, such as Christians in North Nigeria and in Pakistan. We believe this is possibly the reason God has called us to be their voice, to encourage and care for them. When it comes to aid and support, many of these Christians are falling through the cracks and rarely, if ever receive any relief. We call them ‘the invisibles’, as we are surprised what little interest is shown even in detailed reports we’ve shared about them, and the amazing testimonies of their incredible faith. Testimonies that would inspire the entire Body of Christ to endure and have hope, even in the most intense trials.
Due to our work with Pakistani Christians, we are very aware of the crisis situation for those seeking asylum with the UNHCR in Thailand. We are in contact with them, everyday. Living conditions for many is horrific to say the least. They are often arrested by the police as illegals. The Thai government does not recognize the asylum seeker certificates given to them by the UNHCR.
A few years ago, I met Wilson Chowdry of the British Pakistani Christian Association(BPCA), who was advocating for Christians in Pakistan. In May, he went to Thailand to see the condition of Pakistani Christians for himself. What he found was heartbreaking and knew he had to start a humanitarian mission to help. Recently through him, we were able to secure urgent aid for a Pakistani family. By the end of the month, Voice of the Persecuted voted to begin Project 133 Thailand to aid some of the families that have been assessed with the greatest need. Based on the immensity of the crisis and so many asking for help, at times we can feel overwhelmed wondering how to proceed. On Tuesday evening, we prayed for the Lord to guide us to be good stewards in this mission and direct how we should serve. You see, each time we have stood at the foot of the mountain unable to navigate the impossible, we’ve handed it over completely to God and He has never failed to answer!
Yesterday morning, I received a message from Wilson about the Pakistani Christians who were arrested by Thai authorities and taken to the Central Jail. What transpired over the next few hours was nothing short of a miracle. What seemed impossible for one, God quickly brought 5 together united in the Body to fulfill His purposes and work a miracle for those suffering in His name! Read Wilson’s report of this God inspired collaboration below.
(BPCA) On Wednesday 6th October, Royal Thai police arrested 26 Pakistani Christian asylum seekers, including children, from an area called Pracha Songkhro 28 in Bangkok. The terrified families were arrested very late at night from a condo called Phasuk mansion, taken to Huai Khwang police station and from there will eventually be transferred to the Immigration Detention Centre (IDC). Due to an extremely slow processing time none of these suffering families have ever been assessed for asylum determination by the UNHCR, and in fact many of them have assessment interviews scheduled for up to two years from now, a dismaying and unacceptable delay which has left them extremely vulnerable.
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Our officer in Thailand, Christian Malik, called Pastor Joshua who was amongst the victims. He described the desperate conditions they are facing inside the IDC:
“We have been in the police station since yesterday evening and we have not yet eaten any food. The younger children have been sobbing for milk and we have no provisions, this is an alarming situation. We are all having to cope with the trauma of being locked up despite not believing we are criminals”.
Pastor Joshua spoke of their hope in God and their undying belief that God will help them. He said :
“We continue worshipping and praying, it gives us confidence and enables us to bear witness among the non-believers. We hope to rescue and baptise the lost souls inside the IDC.”
Christian contacted legal aid representatives at Asylum Access, an NGO working in Thailand, to see how we could help. They explained that the system was slow and and rigid:
“The immigration police undertake sweeps in asylum communities across Bangkok during the first 10 days of every month. There is no mechanism in place to rescue these victims they simply have to go through the legal process”.
Christian Malik described the situation faced by arrested victims. He said:
“Children have been locked up along with their parents and appallingly there is no provision of milk for babies and scarce food provision. It is completely inhumane. Families have been taken from their makeshift homes leaving doors wide open, which inevitably results in the loss of all their savings and belongings. Living in cramped cells is demoralising, and after even a short time of being packed in with so many other detainees contagious disease is rampant”.
We are so thankful to God that working with the Jubilee Campaign; Voice of the Persecuted; TrotB Ministries and the Farrukh Saif Foundation; the BPCA has been able to raise the necessary funds to pay the overstay court fines for 12 of the asylum seekers.
A few of those detained declined help, deciding instead to take a risk and endure Central Jail with the hopes of somehow raising the necessary funds to bribe Thai police into releasing them, thus avoiding detainment in the IDC and needing to raise funds for bail. Paying the overstay fine prevents a person going to Central Jail, but bail still needs to be paid at a later date to avoid further detention in the IDC.
The costs of paying the fines would have been a huge burden on any of our charities individually, but by breaking convention and proving charities can work together, we have successfully helped the traumatised victims.
Lois Kanalos of Voice of the Persecuted said:
“Praise God! He achieved the impossible again, leaving no doubt who is behind us.”
Paying this fine prevents these families from being moved for 35 days to the horrific Central Jail where they would be placed in the general prison population amongst rapists and murderers. The men are restrained naked in shackles, their heads shaved, and women are made to remove their underwear and jump up and down to show they have nothing concealed while men ogle. Mothers are separated from their children, and incredulously even from their babies who are then neglected and not provided any milk or nappies. From Central Jail the detainees would again be moved to the deplorable IDC where ‘food’ consists of cucumber in hot water.
We know that our supporters will agree that this would be a horrendous fate to befall anyone, and being able to prevent it for these families is exhilarating for us at the BPCA, and we would love to be able to do much more. To free each individual from IDC we need to raise a further £1000 (approx. $1568USD) for each of them for their bail fees, which will entitle them to a two year protection from re-arrest.“
Wilson also asked if you can help towards this payment for their freedom. Voice of the Persecuted would like to partner with BPCA to obtain protection for these Christians and keep them out of the inhumane conditions of the IDC. You can donate to either one of our missions for this cause. When using PayPal, please include Bail for Thailand in the note portion on the donation page. When mailing your gift, include the same in a note.
Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16
To all our supporters, Thank you for allowing God’s light to shine on those coming out of the jail, today. We were also able to cover 2 more families who’ve been suffering greatly with shelter and food for a month. May they give God all praise and know His hand is on them. May it not be us, His vessels, but God who is glorified in all we do.
Voice of the Persecuted uses your donation for those God has burdened on your heart. Whether it be Nigeria, Pakistan, Thailand or another VOP aid project, you can be sure it will be used exactly where you want it to go. Be a part and come along on the mission! You go with us to these nations through your gifts.
Lois Kanalos, Founder/Advocate
Together with your generous support, we can reach the goal to alleviate horrific suffering. In darkness and desperation, let us serve in love, with open arms and giving hands to provide light and hope.
Everyday, we thank God that He is working through you to care for His children and further His Kingdom! As you greatly bless others, may God continue to bless you. Thank you so much for your support. We couldn’t do it without you!
You may also mail your gift to:
2740 Third St
P.O. Box 122
Trenton, MI. 48183