“I am the bread of life; whoever comes to Me shall not hunger and whoever believes in Me shall never thirst.”
Does this surprise you:
For most of history, Christianity was considered a Western religion. But researchers found that since 2000 about 80 percent of Christians worldwide are non-Western, non-white, and poor.
While liberal Christianity is declining in the West, Biblical Christianity is exploding in the developing world. This is not due to births but to conversions, driven by indigenous leaders. God’s love, forgiveness, compassion, justice, and truth are irresistibly attractive.
Many converts belong to ethnic groups that are despised and rejected. The hard reality is they face double discrimination – for being a minority and for being a Christian.
These Christians are counter cultural. Their faith and actions stand out in increasingly radicalized Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, animist, and communist countries.
On top of that, corrupt government and military leaders use religion to incite conflicts and gain power. They blame Christians for causing disunity, defiling their societies, or threatening national security by being different from the majority.
How can we stand with persecuted Christians as they live for Jesus – especially in nations drowning in chaos, violence, and crises? Here are just two examples:
Sri Lanka’s economic collapse has shocked the world. The crisis is worse than the one created by the Covid pandemic. Fuel, food, and medicines are scarce on the island.
For Christians, this hardship is on top of the discrimination that many face. In a country where the Constitution gives Buddhism preferred status, Christians get harassed by neighbors, religious leaders, and government officials.
Buddhist monks invaded one pastor’s home and stabbed him five times. They were furious that local people were attracted to his ever-growing Bible study.
Three years ago, on Easter Sunday – as Christians celebrated Jesus’ resurrection – terrorists bombed three churches, killing and injuring hundreds. Days before the attack, top government officials were warned yet they did nothing to prevent it or alert anyone. To this day, Christian leaders lament the lack of a proper investigation and justice.
Even after Christians were targeted in this violent attack, powerful political leaders blamed Christians for the nation’s woes.
In 2020, the prime minister said the two greatest “threats facing the Sinhala Buddhist Nation” are drugs peddled to school children, and the conversion of “traditional Buddhist families to other religions” (specifically Christianity).
How can we help Christians survive this current crisis and strengthen their faith – in a nation where they are vulnerable to being blamed, left out, and persecuted?
When Jesus fed over 5,000 with one boy’s five loaves and two fish, He relied on His disciples to distribute the food. In Sri Lanka, Christian Freedom International is working with local Christian leaders and churches to distribute food, seedlings and garden tools – gifts from your donations that will multiply as Jesus works through His church.
First – when the economy collapsed – we got dry rations (food that will not spoil) to 146 pastors and 55 families who are daily-wage workers hit hard by the economic crisis. Our partner arranged to electronically transfer funds to local churches who could obtain supplies nearby and distribute to families.
Next, we began a pilot program to equip churches in high-risk areas to train their members to grow their own food – and for others. This is in a district where the government distributed rations to followers of other religions but neglected Christians.
Each church has land, water facilities, and at least 75 members. Christians with little or no income, have not received support from other welfare systems, are single parents, and have dependents are the priority for training in gardening. At the completion of the project, the churches will own the tools and be responsible for maintaining the gardens.
Please pray for an abundant harvest, for the churches to grow strong spiritually in this crisis, and to be a light that shines for Jesus.
Burma’s brutal war against its people grinds on.
The junta (Burma’s leaders) believe they are superior to others based on their Burman-Buddhist ethnic/religion. The Tatmadaw (Burma’s military) has long committed its worst crimes against ethnic minority states – where most Christians live. Bombing and burning villages; killing, torturing, and raping villagers; looting and trafficking with impunity.
Thousands of Christians have fled into jungles and Thailand. Christian Freedom International’s school for persecuted Christians has reached them with food and supplies. Nearly all of our new class of students are fresh from the jungles of Burma. They barely escaped air strikes and shootings, arriving at Victory Bible Academy with only what they could carry.
Yet many Christians are still in Burma. They are enduring the Tatmadaw’s tactics that cut off access to food and supplies. One of our partners – a local pastor – has stayed to minister in several villages.
“Sadly, our country is not yet normal,” Pastor Noah wrote.
“The junta is trying to reopen the school. We have to send our children to school though it is not good or right thing to do. We are afraid that if we do not send our children there, they will accuse us that we are against them. We don’t have anything to say about our rights here,” the pastor said.
Last Christmas, he distributed warm clothes to children and adults – gifts from Christian Freedom International. Thank you for your prayers and support for Christians who are enduring persecution in the midst of war! They do more than just fill a physical need.
“Sharing physical needs is never my ultimate goal,” the pastor said. “My goal is to share the good and powerful news.”
An elder in one church said, “We are so thankful to you and to supporters for sharing things. We feel that we are cared by people like you.”
“We were lonely and all we could say is difficult and difficult. We felt like no one care about us. But now we are warm. Thank you so much!”
This Spring, they faced a new challenge: the fear of no crops.
“It has been two years since the villagers are away from normalcy,” Pastor Noah wrote, alluding to the Tatmadaw’s surge of attacks. “Their work was in chaos.”
“This year, hopefully they are going back to their daily work without any disturbance from the junta. As they are mountain villagers, they have to work on their farms. The problem for them is they could not keep enough seeds for this year’s plantation. There are four villages, about 80 families who need seeds.”
I imagine as you read this, you thought, “Of course! If I could, I would hand-deliver seeds to these desperate Christians.” And in a way – by joining together – we did.
Your support equipped Christian Freedom International to answer their call and supply seeds. The pastor reported, “The seeds were sown and planted and are growing well. They will harvest the fruits of their handiwork in October. I am so thankful to CFI.”
Please pray for an abundant harvest! And for protection from the Tatmadaw, and for the children to grow strong in faith, trusting God in their hostile surroundings.
Seeds, clothes, farming tools, training. These simple items – given out of love and delivered with encouragement from godly pastors – are life-giving for Christians who face persecution on top of chaos and war. Thank you for being part of the supply train!
For His kingdom,
P.S. Christianity is growing – in places where it is dangerous, and even more dangerous to be a Christian. Thank you for equipping Christians to survive and thrive in the midst of chaos and violence!
How can we help persecuted Christians in nations drowning in chaos and violence?
HERE ARE TWO WAYS:
Sri Lanka’s economic collapse caused greater hardships for persecuted Christians.
Christian Freedom International worked through churches to supply food, as well as seeds and training to grow their own food.