For more on my Lenten Focus, see my Ash Wednesday post. A quick summary is that I am spending Lent fasting and praying for the Persecuted Church, and I invite you to join me.
Located on the island of Borneo in East Asia, Brunei is the 27th country on the World Watch List. Last May, the country adopted Sharia Law, the first in the region to do so.
Brunei’s economy is based almost entirely on oil and natural gas. The country’s population benefits from high subsidies and no taxes. It has one of the highest standards of living in the world. Ethnic Malays benefit from positive discrimination within the country and make up about two-thirds of the population. The same family has led the country for more than six centuries.
Islam is the official religion, and it is the only religion taught in school. A combination of Islamic law and English common law was used in Brunei, but beginning May 1, 2014, Sharia law will be introduced in three phases. It will be used for civil and criminal affairs for both Muslims and non-Muslims. Christians face a variety of restrictions, including confiscation of religious materials intended for distribution and sale, and prohibitions on religious teaching in private, non-Islamic schools. Evangelism and conversion to Christianity are prohibited, Bible importation is forbidden, and the government regularly ignores requests to build or expand churches. Even religious symbols on imported magazines are censored. Only three types of churches are legally registered in the country: Catholic, Anglican and Methodist, comprising about 20 churches in total. No new churches have been permitted, so many believers must meet secretly.
- For all workers who are risking their freedom in advancing the gospel and interacting with new believers
- That Bibles and biblical materials may reach Christians despite the ban on those materials
- That restrictions on Christian worship may be relaxed for the minority believers
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