“The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
Christmas greetings at the end of a tumultuous year!
This year brought challenges – and more so for persecuted Christians.
Yet, like the first Christmas . . . God is quietly appearing in bad neighborhoods to bring glad tidings and rescue His captive people.
And like the shepherds and Magi, we can play a part in His grand plan.
If you feel overwhelmed – be encouraged by our persecuted brothers and sisters who show that His light shines brightest when surrounded by darkness.
Just before the pandemic, I visited our ministries in four countries. One thing stood out: the persecuted Christians who we serve are themselves serving others.
This became more apparent when COVID hit.
When it was critical to get aid out quickly – and during lockdowns – our co-workers reached people in great need – doubly hit by the COVID crisis and for being Christian.
Your gifts and prayers helped them get it done. Thank you!
But that is not all.
Amazingly, even during the isolation of COVID, the church is growing – in faith and numbers – under persecution.
Here are a few snapshots:
In this Muslim-majority country, converts to Christ risk all – in exchange for knowing Him.
When Reny left Buddhism for Jesus, her home was burned and her family cast out of their village. CFI rented a small house for her – which she turned into a ministry center.
During the COVID crisis, Reny and other Christian converts were equipped by CFI to give aid packages to families of over 300 blind persons, and 130 families of Christian converts. After a cyclone, 30 families were given aid.
Despite being mistreated, Jesus’ love flows from these Christians. The result? This year they baptized over 98 new believers! CFI provided Bibles for each one.
Secret Christians under this evil regime know the power of God’s Word – especially for those who suffer.
When we cast Bibles into North Korea – in bottles floating on a river or by land – we pray for the Holy Spirit to take it from there and deliver them to people who need them.
In October, this message came from our contact:
“The number of believers is increasing in North Korea.”
“Nine Bibles were found at a market in front of a display of shoes in August. The police took them.
People in the market talked about Bibles all day long.”
“There are rumors that [certain people] gather together to have a secret worship service and they close their eyes and murmur at the market when they face difficulties.” Our contact believes they are praying.
“I hope the whole North Korean people become like those who close their eyes and murmur. I think it is a work of God,” our contact said.
We don’t know if these Bibles are from us – but it confirms that Bibles are secretly spreading in North Korea.
Will you pray that Christians in North Korea will overcome persecution – and His light will dispel the darkness!
Strategically located on Burma’s border, CFI’s school became a staging ground for COVID relief missions.
Staff and students delivered COVID aid to remote villages. Almost 7,000 people got food, water filters, supplies – and the good news of Jesus Christ.
This gave an opportunity to strengthen new believers – physically and spiritually – who are blamed for offending the ‘spirits’ and for illness, unemployment, and unrest.
An outreach to Burma by our students – who are from refugee camps and Burma – led to three people being baptized!
Would you pray for these new believers – who may face new hardships? And for our students?
Several students got trapped on the wrong side of the border. Two others were tricked and trafficked. Thank God they were swiftly rescued and now are in a secure area.
Thai authorities relocated Pakistani Christian refugees held in Bangkok’s decrepit detention center to centers around Thailand. CFI located and visited each one.
Hours before the COVID shut-down – and all during – food, supplies and room-rent were quietly delivered to each sponsored family – and seven more who pled for help.
Our school continued by teaching the kids over cell phones and texts. Families prepared lunches provided by CFI – which gave a little income for those who cook the meals.
CFI’s church for Pakistani refugees now reaches into Pakistan through group phone calls. Many families testified that their faith grew stronger during the lockdown.
The government closed the brickyards – where Christians in debt bondage live and work – during COVID. Anyone trying to leave would be arrested. Our co-worker was allowed in to deliver aid to our sponsored children.
Every week reports come of Christians kidnapped or murdered. Christians in Garbage City lost jobs when the government gave the jobs to people of the majority religion.
Thank God for CFI’s supporters like you. Each sponsored child in Garbage City got monthly help, several had medical expenses covered – and 160 new families got COVID aid.
Underground house-churches are exploding with a spiritual revolution! Hundreds of thousands have come to Christ – in a nation where converts face jail and death.
They need solid Bible training and skills to make a living. We discovered a new Bible and vocation center being built by and for Iranian converts. This intensive program is designed for the converts to minister in Iran with no dependency on foreign funding for their livelihood.
Classes and training have begun even as the center is being built. With your support, CFI is helping with rooms that double as a shelter for those escaping persecution.
After Buddhist monks attacked his church, villagers refused to let a pastor/farmer rent land or get drinking water, and no shop would allow him to buy food.
Yet he said, “God has called me to win this village to His Kingdom and I will somehow survive with the grace of God”.
He was able to buy a little land and CFI bought two cows to provide an income for his family – and encouragement for his dedication.
Christian survivors of massacres are left with nothing. CFI helped 100 Christian widows – whose husbands were killed by militant Fulani herdsmen – to start small businesses. Pray for Christians in this ongoing genocide!
Thank you for making all this – and much more – possible!
For His kingdom,
P.S. Thank you for equipping persecuted Christians who are shining His light and reaching others for Christ!
“ Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved,”
Please consider passing this link along to your family, friends or church when you are finished reading it. Thank you!