“Don’t respond if policeman in {restricted country} contacts you.”

dont respond

An e-mail from our co-worker in a restricted country arrived last week. He warned that a police officer is trying to track us down after we visited Christians in a remote area of that country.

The officer wants to know who we met with, and why. “If you get any mail from police officer in {restricted country} please don’t respond,” he wrote. “He wanted to know the details of the person that we visited in {restricted country}.”

On our trip back from this remote area, a radical Muslim sitting behind us had tried to surreptitiously record our conversation.

While we are safely back in the U.S., our co-worker continues to be harassed in a nation where Christians have disappeared, been killed in the street, and face increasing restrictions.

In this nation, the state religion is Islam. The constitution recognizes religious freedom, but radical Islamic groups are pressuring government officials to implement Sharia law.

And yet, many people are turning from Islam and to Jesus. Pastors joyfully hold church in their homes where people pack into small rooms, a dozen crowded onto one bed. Children flock to Bible classes and sing to God.

It’s risky for Americans and foreigners to travel to rural areas. The greater risk, though, is for those they visit. It’s bad enough for Christians in this country, and worse for Muslim converts to Christianity.

We did not plan to go to this village out of concern that it may endanger others. Yet the Christians begged us to visit them. Once there, they told us how knowing the true God is worth enduring any opposition. We talked about God’s love and His forgiveness — and together spoke in the village square as well as in homes.

Their courage and joy astonished us. They are a lights of hope in their villages.

These Christians provide aid and education to needy children, with the help of monthly donations from sponsors through Christian Freedom International. The children proudly showed us their completed Sunday School lessons, just one of the resources made possible by generous donors.

CFI’s Giving Guide describes ways — like child sponsorships — to join persecuted Christians in serving others.