The government has forbidden three Protestant groups in Gyanja to have worship meetings, according to an Apr. 8 report by Forum 18 News Service. Locals, who spoke anonymously for fear of state reprisals, informed Forum 18 that authorities warned one group, “If they met for worship on the following Sunday or at any future date they will all be arrested.” The following Sunday, local and riot police arrived at the church in two buses to stop any worship. Protestants told Forum 18 that church officials reluctantly decided not to hold a Sunday service. “People are now very afraid.”
Many religious groups have told Forum 18 that registering for legal status is “a torturous process,” and complaints to officials about slowness and hostility are dismissed.
Ironically, President Ilham Aliev said recently that “freedom of religion and freedom of conscience have been fully established in Azerbaijan.”
Though evil men seek to stop the spread of Christianity through threats and intimidation pray that believers in Azerbaijan will not lose heart, but become more emboldened and persistent in their faith. Pray for their protection and an outpouring of the Holy Spirit that brings many to salvation in Christ.
“Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead according to my gospel, for which I suffer trouble as an evildoer, even to the point of chains; but the word of God is not chained.” 2 Timothy 2:8-9