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Coptic Martyr

The Coptic Martyr of Cairo

The latest international thriller from best-selling author Martin Roth

Four Americans in Egypt on an archaeological dig. In the blistering summer heat they are fighting amongst themselves. Then they unearth a body. It is an old priest who has been murdered.

The gruesome discovery sets in train a sequence of events that leads to a deadly Islamist attack on the ancient church where the Americans are working.

The leader of the expedition, Professor Rafa Harel, must decide whether to withdraw his fractious team or continue on a mission to unveil a controversial series of wall paintings, knowing that these images have the power to spark even greater violence.

Meanwhile, watching over all of them is a dreamy young Egyptian Christian named Amir. His only quest in life is to become a martyr...

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North Korea – Much to Pray For

A week of prayer for North Korea, promoted by Christian Solidarity Worldwide, starts on June 23rd.

Last week I presented some online materials to help your church. Here are more.

The Institute on Religion and Democracy has a website page, Human Rights in North Korea. It includes the harrowing testimony of Sungwoon Bang, imprisoned in a North Korean concentration camp after trying to flee to China:

One day, workers at the concentration centre were called to weed a field. We worked under close supervision: we had to shout out our numbers so that we could not run away. I hurriedly devoured ears of grain while weeding. When I saw frogs, I devoured them too. To survive here, one had to lose all sense of decency without concession. To eat anything, we would violate the rules at the concentration centre, even if we would be beaten to death. We weren't ashamed to do anything. That was the way to survive.

Soon Ok Lee, who also escaped from North Korea, has a website devoted to her story, including a description of life in the concentration camps:

If the mother is pregnant, according to the North Korean law that says that a criminal’s seed must be scorched up to its third generation, they abort the baby. If somehow the baby survives and is born, they strangle the baby by stepping on them in front of its own mother. I also witnessed many human experiments. They said it was pointless to test weapons and chemicals on animals because they were created to target their enemies, other human beings. I also saw many Christians in the camp. Because of their belief in God, and because they sang hymns in the camps, they were stepped on until death. If they didn’t deny God, they were often times burned to death from boiling hot liquid metal.

Helping Hands Korea is a relief organisation aimed at relieving the plight of the North Koreans. Among its projects is the Ton-a-Month Club, aimed at raising funds to send a ton of foodstuffs each month for people in the North.

Human Rights Watch includes at its website a major report on North Korean refugees who have fled into China, with many testimonies:

In his first year at the 14th administrative camp, a security officer shot dead the driver of a coal trolley who stopped to pick chestnuts that had fallen from trees onto the tracks. "I saw that dead driver still had a chestnut clutched in his hand." Another time an officer caught a prisoner trying to chew an oxtail whip for nourishment; he beat the prisoner and forced him to eat intestinal worms picked out of a latrine. The man died two days later. He concluded: "There are so many miserable stories. People pick undigested beans out of the dung of oxen to eat. They compete to take the clothes off of dead bodies to wear. It is not a human world."

There is much to pray for.

June 14th, 2003


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