Pictured: Safe houses for persecuted Christians
“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35
We met discreetly in a café in a foreign country.
The man had escaped a totalitarian country. He now lives in a free country, raising his children as strong Christians. He could go on carefree in his new life.
But he cannot.
“I did not come here to be comfortable,” he said.
He uses his freedom to reach people and disciple Christians trapped in oppressive countries.
They have “big scars from their oppressors,” he said. He wants them to know “there is a God who listens and gives strength to His people.”
His former country is only one of many that abuses Christians. The latest research finds more than 260 million Christians live in places of high levels of persecution. Many, if not most, do not have the option of leaving their country.
Some persecuted Christians strongly believe that, despite the abuses, their country is their home and God has a purpose for them there.
I met Roger, a pastor’s son, in his home and we walked to his church.
Both buildings had windows smashed by Hindu mobs. One window was broken when Hindus bashed a believer’s head through it.
During a church service last year, a mob swarmed in, swinging swords, iron rods and hurling rocks at Christians. Twelve people were injured and five hospitalized. Police came – and stood by on the street watching.
Roger leads a lively music and youth ministry. Even as the attacks increased, their church grew – and started new churches. One was burned to the ground.
He thought of moving to a safer country. But his ministry is thriving.
They just need help to protect their people and pursue justice – which will ultimately benefit all the people in his area.
His church will be the eleventh in that region to get CCTV security cameras from Christian Freedom International.
One pastor reported, “In December, a group of people and Buddhist monks attacked my church. Before putting in the cameras, every night people would come to our garden and throw stones [breaking] our roof. After the cameras, nobody has come against our church. Now we are having our services peacefully.”
I met Magnolia in a classroom.
She grew up under the brutal Burmese military regime that committed horrific atrocities against Christian people. Now she teaches at Christian Freedom International’s school for Christian refugees. In December, she led a team of students into Burma to put their Bible training into practice.
The mission trip came just before the Burmese military issued shoot-on-sight orders for anyone bringing aid into villages. Four teams went to different villages – some that were overtly hostile to Christians. One village had recently burned down the only church. Another village shunned a new believer – a young woman who is now attending CFI’s school. She asked the team to choose her village to serve.
Magnolia told how the Christian students built latrines, mended buildings, and taught children Bible songs and stories. They left with the villagers welcoming them to return.
Magnolia is smart and talented. And eager to train her people – who have suffered for decades – to serve others.
Your gifts to Christian Freedom International provide education and training for persecuted Christians.
I met sisters Shima and Rima and their mother in their wood shack.
Their father abandoned them years ago when they became Christians. The women live alone in a forest filled with armed rebels.
Months after my visit, rebels kidnapped them. After a terrifying 24 hours, the rebels released them – but kept their cell phones.
Their phones have contact information for other Christians in the area.
Christian Freedom International secured a house for the women with room for others. They are ready to host and hide Christians who are threatened for their faith.
Most Christians who live in places of high persecution can never leave. Daily discrimination punctuated by episodes of violent threats and attacks is their life – simply because they are Christian.
Your prayers and donations for persecuted Christians can ease their burden – and empower them in places that they cannot leave and we cannot go.
Thank you for caring,
P.S. Christians like Roger, Magnolia, Rima and Shima are lights in the midst of persecution.
Would you pray for them? And give to help them to serve others?