Reflections on the Persecution of Christians Worldwide
The vision of Every Home for Christ to reach every family on earth with the Gospel was born out of faith in response to the Great Commission. Christ said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19).
When Christ gave the command to “Go,” He didn’t qualify it with a list of exceptions. He didn’t say go, unless the mission field is too far from home, or unless the government forbids it,or unless it might get you arrested or even killed.
To the contrary, Jesus warned His disciples that if they followed Him, there would be a price to pay: “If they persecuted Me, they will persecute you also” (John 15:20).
The writer of Hebrews gives even more descriptive examples of what some have endured.
“They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted” (Hebrews 11:37). The road of faith is not an easy one to follow.
Around the world Every Home for Christ is working with Christians who live in what we call “Creative Access” nations, where worship and evangelism may be against the law or severely restricted. As in every country where we are active, we work with Christian nationals who know the dangers better than anyone else and are ready to risk their lives.
In the war-ravaged Middle East, a man named Muhammad was crippled when a powerful bomb exploded near him and his family. Muhammad’s mother was killed, his father was wounded, and his brother lost the fingers on one hand. A team of believers in the town ministered to the family, bringing them supplies and comfort in the name of Jesus Christ. They also presented the father with a Bible.
“No one came to visit us for any reason, except you Christians,” Muhammad said. “You came to help us and make us feel loved. I am certain that God is the One who sent you.”
Believers in another Muslim-dominated nation began sharing gospel booklets in a local marketplace. A tailor read the booklet and accepted Christ, then shared the gospel message with his friends. They, too, accepted Christ, and a small Christ Group fellowship was formed.
A continent away, a nine-year-old girl named Daiselys was born in a Communist prison. Her mother had been in and out of prisons all her life.
Daiselys was living with her stepfather when she received a gospel booklet for children that told the story of Daniel. Daiselys was fascinated. She read the booklet and accepted Christ. Her transformation was dramatic. She began sharing the Good News with friends, and soon 59 children were meeting in a school, with their teacher’s blessings, to study the Bible.[quote float=”left”]“Nobody can separate me from Jesus,” Daiselys said. “When my family left me, only God helped me. [/quote]
He opened His arms to me and has given me all the joy that I have. I am praying for my mother. I also pray for all my family so that they will know God and walk in His ways. The Lord has given me a ray of light. Praise the Lord for He is our Good Father.”
During a clandestine meeting with believers in one Middle East nation, an EHC leader and pastor encouraged the faithful and shared from God’s Word late into the night. When he finally left, an 11-year-old boy who had been listening through the evening came to him in the darkness and said, “Pastor? Please, would you pray for me?” Moved with compassion, our worker prayed for the child, and then the boy said, “Pastor? May I hug you?”
“I got very emotional at his request,” the pastor said. “We hugged one another and I thanked God for the life of this boy who had come to me in the night and asked for prayer. See what God is willing to do in lives if we only answer the call to reach everyone in every nation? Let us pray for it!”
By God’s grace, we have received more than 69 million responses to the Gospel from people who live in Creative Access nations. It seems that the harvest is often greatest in the nations undergoing persecution.
Political and religious leaders may try to hinder the spread of the Gospel, but nothing can stop it because our risen Lord has given a promise: “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world for a witness to all the nations, and then the end shall come” (Matthew 24:14). Until that day arrives, it is our task to “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to all creation” (Mark 16:15).
EHC’s International President Dick Eastman
(providing leadership from 1988 to the present) is the author of 15 books on prayer and evangelism with more than three million copies in print. Dick also serves as president of America’s National Prayer Committee.