From the Middle East

Share Button 17, 2013 [Persecution]  I met a couple from the Middle East recently, who live in a country where churches are being burned. The Mslm Brthrhd has given them (and all Christians in their country, as in others)  four options: convert to Islm, stay and pay a regular tax, leave, or be killed. where churches are being burned. They were given those options, and though many of their friends were leaving, they decided God wanted them to stay and minister.

There had been great religious freedom in the past in their country, and suddenly, almost overnight, it was gone. (I remember friends from Eritrea saying the same thing happened to them and warned it was coming to the US one day.) Now, each day, they do not know whenever they leave their homes, if they will return alive. They told their children that men may come into the house through holes they bore in the walls from house to house, and put a knife to Mommy’s throat, and their own. “There will be some blood, and it will hurt, but just for a little while and then you will be with Jesus in heaven and it won’t hurt anymore. Just tell them, ‘Jesus loves you, God loves you,’ and tell them you forgive them.  I’m sure I’m not doing justice to the exact words she uses, but the mother was weeping as she shared this with us; but then she took a deep breath and was calm. “‘I’m sorry for my tears. We are not sad.

I am just emotional because of some murders of Christians that happened recently in a nearby country and the Western Christians seem to not care. We are just like you. We live normal lives, but everything has been turned upside down. Aren’t we one body? Why do you not think of us? We need your prayers. We are in danger. My family considers it a joy to suffer for Christ and continue to minister to those who have stayed. We have fasted and prayed  three days a month for our country, for years, for people come to a knowledge of Christ. We did not expect it to come through war and suffering, but it is.

When I first learned of the persecuted church around the world, in 2004, I was stunned. I knew that kind of thing took place in the early centuries after Christ. I had no idea it was taking place today. .”What is it about this faith that is so precious people are willing to die for it?” I wondered. For the next year I couldn’t stop thinking about that and when I had the opportunity to visit women in jail in Indonesia because of their faith, people who had to secure Bible study material in China the way spies pass secret goods, whole churches in India that share the pages of a single Bible–I realized it is in suffering we draw close to God. In our Western self-sufficiency, we think we draw near to Him, but we have no idea.

The photo above is a stock photo representing the real woman, to protect her identity.
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