“But before all this they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for My name’s sake. This will be your opportunity to bear witness.”
Did you know that God is bringing humble, persecuted Christians before top government officials – and they are “bearing witness” for Jesus?
And – did you know that powerful government officials are stepping up to help them?
Here is one example of how it works . . .
We rendezvoused with the U.S. embassy official on a second floor coffee shop, an armed guard staring as we walked through a metal detector. Foreigners are a rare sight in this crowded city after terrorist attacks by militant Islamists tried to purge the area of “infidels.”
I arranged the meeting so that the U.S. official could hear directly from a persecuted Christian in this hostile country. Will you pray for more opportunities like this?
Two years ago, the U.S. did something no country had done before: The White House and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo elevated religious freedom as a top priority in foreign policy.
The U.S. now vigorously promotes religious freedom to other countries and in international settings like the UN. And when the U.S. leads, other countries follow.
But to do this well, the U.S. State Department needs accurate information from people on-the-ground in each country. The State Department relies on its embassies to build relationships and gain first-hand knowledge of what is happening inside countries.
They need to see and learn all they can about church bombings and targeted killings of innocent Christians. They need to know of the daily persecutions that believers face, like beatings . . . kidnappings . . . homes destroyed . . . education and jobs denied . . . false accusations . . . imprisonment and injustice.
Persecutors wield these weapons ruthlessly and keep Christians in dire poverty or bondage to discourage others from following Christ.
In this particular country where we met, U.S. officials are restricted in where they can travel. It is too dangerous. So we brought an “infidel” to them.
“Abu” (name changed for security) is considered one of the worst kinds of infidels in his country – someone who left Islam to follow Jesus. The official was eager to hear his story and asked insightful questions.
Then the official asked, “Why did you become a Christian?”
This was Abu’s “opportunity to bear witness” – just like Jesus said would happen!
(Will you pray for God to use encounters with “kings and governors” for His glory?)
Abu described his life before Christ. He left his family’s religion after reading the Bible and realizing Jesus is the true and only Savior.
He shared how he suffered for his faith. For Abu, the cost of discipleship has been high.
In one horrific incident, his attackers caught him . . stuffed him inside a sack . . . and threw him into the middle of busy traffic. By God’s grace, he escaped.
Several decades after his conversion to Christ, the persecution continues. Neighbors and extremists threaten him.
Yet Abu trusts God to protect him and provide for his needs – as your support for Christian Freedom International is helping to do. He stands willing to die for our faith if needed.
The official asked probing and insightful questions – clearly, not only probing Abu’s faith but also gathering evidence and intelligence on what is really happening in this country where U.S. diplomats cannot safely travel.
A few weeks later, the U.S. Ambassador invited Abu to a reception at the embassy to celebrate religious freedom.
Leaders from that country at the reception noticed him. An invitation by the U.S. government to a prominent event helps raise the stature of Christian converts who are despised in that society. The world’s most powerful country signaled to antagonistic leaders that persecuted Christians are equal.
Later, the U.S. State Department’s Annual Report on International Religious Freedom reported on Christian converts experiencing “harassment, threats and social isolation” and included information provided by Abu. The ambassador and embassy stressed to the nation’s top leaders to respect and protect religious minorities.
Now, this story may seem insignificant in a world where an estimated 260 million Christians live at risk of high levels of persecution from governments, individuals, or social groups.
But it is one of many – some quiet and some public — efforts to advocate for our Christian brothers and sisters. We are paving the way for them to tell their stories and make their cases to people in high positions.
Your support for Christian Freedom International helps bring the testimonies of persecuted Christians to government officials – the “kings and governors” of today.
This is why I meet with government officials, including a weekly roundtable with top U.S. diplomatic officials who protect the persecuted and advance religious freedom around the world.
These interactions are part of a vibrant, growing collaboration to protect the persecuted. Working together, we leverage our strengths to help “the least of these.” At times, we are their voice to relay their testimonies to others.
Recently, under a hot Africa sun, I sat in a circle with Christian survivors as they described their ordeals of brutal massacres and kidnappings by Boko Haram. They are starting over in a new land with no hope of returning to their village.
Why can’t they go back? Because their persecutors moved into their homes.
The Christians told me, “It would help if international agencies would assist us – the people who were attacked” – rather than sending aid to the village that is now occupied by their persecutors.
A few weeks later, sitting around a table in the State Department, I relayed their words to experts shaping international policy for Africa. They were not aware of the problem.
These persecuted Christians cannot come to key U.S. officials, but their testimony did.
At times God uses government officials to protect His people. Remember how:
Pharaoh appointed Joseph to be second-in-command in Egypt – and he saved the lives of Egyptians and foreigners – including Joseph’s family – from famine. King Cyrus proclaimed the captives of Israel free from exile and free to return to Judah. Roman authorities protected Paul from his persecutors.
Today, the U.S. and several other governments are passionately promoting religious freedom internationally and tackling persecution.
Your prayers and financial partnership with Christian Freedom International is opening doors for persecuted believers to go before government officials. And those officials are leveraging strong and effective diplomatic tools – both carrots and sticks – to defend the persecuted.
Will you pray for God to provide even more encounters with “kings and governors” for our persecuted brethren?
Thank you for committing to helping persecuted Christians to live fully to the glory of God.
For His kingdom,
P.S. We’ve moved! This summer Christian Freedom International moved our office close to Washington, DC. God provided an ideal and affordable location that makes it easier to reach decision-makers and diplomats in the U.S. Capitol on behalf of persecuted Christians.
Thank you for making it possible for persecuted Christians to get critical aid and Bible training – and to bring them before “kings and governors” for the glory of God!
These pictures give you a glimpse of just a few examples of how Christian Freedom International is helping persecuted Christians.
Millions of Christians live in countries hostile to their faith. These Christians face daily threats, injustice and violence from their communities and governments.
In 2018, the U.S. made religious freedom a top priority in U.S. foreign policy.
To do their job well, U.S. officials need firsthand information of conditions inside of countries.
Christian Freedom International works directly with persecuted Christians – and brings them and their testimonies to government officials.
U.S. diplomats have invited persecuted Christians to prominent events at the State Department and U.S. embassies, awarded honors, and provided opportunities to give testimonies.
This signals to hostile countries that Christians are equal in dignity.
They are starting over in a new land with no hope of returning to their village – because their persecutors moved into their homes.
“It would help,” the Christians said, “if international agencies would assist us directly – the people who were attacked” – rather than sending aid to the village that is now occupied by their persecutors.
A few weeks later, sitting around a table in the State Department, we relayed their troubles to experts shaping international policy for Africa.
These persecuted Christians cannot come to key U.S. officials, but their testimony did.
The Karen people have suffered greatly under Burma’s brutal military junta. Among many atrocities, the U.S. Department of State criticized Burma for “abus[ing] the right to religious freedom.”
Karen activist Naw K’nyaw Paw trains Karen women on democracy and human rights. She was awarded the U.S. Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage Award.
CFI’s president Wendy Wright joined her in the Diplomatic Reception Room at the State Department’s prestigious event. (Pictured at the top)
Christian Freedom International works with Karen refugees in Thailand, Burma and the U.S.
Respected Christian attorney Ann Buwalda with Jubilee Campaign testified to Congress about Pakistani Christian refugees. Many who fled from mob violence are cared for by Christian Freedom International’s school, church, and family sponsorships in Thailand.
Ann reached out to Christian Freedom International for the latest news as she prepared her testimony – because we work one-on-one with these Christian refugees. (Ann serves on CFI’s Board of Advisors.)
Providing aid to persecuted Christians paved the way to get reliable up-to-date information to Congress.
Please consider passing this link on to a friend, family member, or your church when you are finished reading.