Advocate for Religious Freedom with Your Elected Officials: Take a moment to review how your elected officials scored on key issues in The Midterm Congressional Scorecard for International Religious Freedom for the 112th Congress Go to your state page, click on the names of elected officials and you will be able to send pre-written letters (thanking them or encouraging them to do better) based on their scores. Let your representatives in Washington know that religious freedom is important to you. Your letters make a difference!

Week of Prayer Vital During ‘North Korea Freedom Week’: As North Korea celebrated the “Day of the Sun” (the 100th Anniversary of the birth of Kim II Sung) Open Doors was calling for prayers, asking Christians to celebrate a Day of the Son through constant intercession for persecuted believers.  “North Korea is the worst nation in the world as far as persecution of Christians. In fact, they’ve been on the Open Doors World Watch List for ten years in a row and for good reason,” says Jerry Dykstra of Open Doors. With all this in mind, Open Doors is making the annual North Korea Freedom Week a week of prayer. From April 23 to 29, Open Doors is asking believers to pray with them for the many needs in North Korea–from Christians’ safety to leaders’ salvation. You may sign up anytime this week, April 23-29, to receive pray alerts for North Korea.  Sign up here to join in prayer for North Korea. Read more>>

Nigerian Suicide Bomber Targets Churches On Easter Sunday: Churches celebrating Easter services were the targets of a suicide bomber who killed at least 38 people in Kaduna city in northern Nigeria. Security personnel at one of the church buildings blocked the bomber, believed to belong to the Boko Haram Islamic sect, who then decided to detonate his explosives in the street at a nearby motorcycle taxi center. Dozens of people were injured in addition to those killed. The bombs damaged  church buildings, homes, hotels and vehicles.  Read more>>

Christian Acquitted of Blasphemy Charge in Pakistan: A Pakistani Christian, falsely charged with “blasphemy” after rescuing his 8-year-old nephew from a beating at the hands of Muslim boys, has been cleared of the charge. Dildar Masih, a 27-year-old father of two young children, was acquitted on March 26 after prosecutors failed to produce any evidence against him.  Masih said that during his imprisonment, he stood by his faith that Jesus would free him from the false charge and that he would be able to return to his family. “About 13 people are currently imprisoned in Multan Central Jail under blasphemy charges,” he said. “I was the only Christian, and probably the only one to have been able to return home in less than a year.” Read more>>

Turkey’s Religious Freedom Record Slides: Sentiment against Christians in Turkey has persisted so long that the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has recommended it as a “Country of Particular Concern”.  Pastor Orhan Picaklar knows such anti-Christian hostility first-hand.  Pastor Picaklar, of Agape Church in Samsun, lives in the Black Sea region, a bastion of Turkey’s Islamic-imbued nationalism, where Christians live under increasing pressure. He has seen his building attacked and his family and congregation threatened. Though Picaklar’s congregation has never pressed charges for previous hate crimes, last month they decided to formally complain. Read more>>

Features

HM covers from over the years

HM Magazine Turns 35

In 1985, Doug Van Pelt photocopied a letter-sized sheets of paper, bound them together, and handed them out in person on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin. It's all digital now, but, along the way, Van Pelt stirred up quite a few waves, played some seriously heavy music, and made a few friends along the way. Here: A quick look back at the magazine's 35-year history with Van Pelt and new owner, David Stagg.

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Employed to Serve

Forward Under a Dying Sun

Most of these days, the sun rises and sets on a world that feels like it's dying. Across the pond, where Employed to Serve calls home, they're learning how to support their latest record a year into its release. HM contributor Andrew Voigt recently sat down with Justine Jones to learn more about the band, marrying your bandmates, and their outside shot at touring with Rammstein.

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Comrades 2020

Becoming Comrades

The trio of Comrades – husband and wife Joe and Laura McElroy alongside drummer John Gaskil – is used to living in a van and touring the country. Now, their new normal has provided them with a moment to "be adults" for once. We recently sat down with the McElroys to talk more about the spiritual reality within life, how soon they'll be able to release new music, and how koalas are their new normal.

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Photo by Quinsey Sablan

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