Isolation and lockdown are terms that are well known to many persecuted believers around the world. Nobody understands being isolated and on lockdown better than the persecuted Church. We’re all facing challenges, but for our persecuted family, these present circumstances make life even tougher as income and security become even less stable. In countries where you’re considered a second-class citizen due to your faith or views on life and worship, something like a national disaster or pandemic can worsen the chances of your survival. And so more than ever before, our persecuted family needs our assistance. But you may wonder why does it matter that we support persecuted believers during this pandemic? Here’s why…
They’re increasingly discriminated against
Experience shows us that many persecuted Christians around the world have little or no right to defend themselves before the justice systems, police or civil servants when incidents of persecution happen due to their conversion, which is looked down upon in many restricted countries. This means that they’ll receive less aid or be denied access to basic services such as medical supplies and they’ll be frontline victims of discrimination and persecution when seeking emergency assistance or humanitarian services. This has already been seen and is evident during humanitarian disasters, in-country wars or the displacement of populations. This leaves them relying on their local church and each other for basic food and medical supplies. That’s why Open Doors continues to partner with the local church in many countries where Christians are persecuted to make sure that their needs are met, and we can partner with them so that the Gospel of Jesus Christ can reach the ends of the earth.
They’re part of the Body of Christ
We’re part of a global Body of Christ which includes our persecuted family. There walk with Christ may look different from ours as some of them meet in dangerous areas and in secret underground churches. While some can’t even whisper the name of Jesus in public or around their family members as it’s dangerous. Sadly, some have been widowed, orphaned or imprisoned or even seriously injured for their faith. But no matter what, they all continue to hold on tight to Jesus Christ. They’re a beautifully diverse part of the Body of Christ. They stand strong for the sake of the Gospel, reaching out to those in their remote villages and towns. And like us, God has entrusted the message of the Gospel to them, to teach people about our Lord and Saviour, even if it costs them their lives. In moments where the situation of the pandemic is predicted to likely worsen, persecuted Christians stand as a beacon of hope and strength. We identify with their daily struggles and are learning from them that “In times of difficulty or darkness, the light of God in us can often shine brighter”. Moreover, the same way that we’ve been standing in the gap for them, we’ve seen and heard many encouraging messages and prayers from persecuted believers around the world as they pray for us throughout the pandemic. They need our prayers and support in the way that we need their courage and faith during this time.
How can I help?
Perhaps you’re asking yourself how you can be the hands and feet of Jesus, and what examples of courage and faith you can bless persecuted believers with today. You can partner with Open Doors during this time and help to continue to provide Bibles, discipleship training, emergency relief, medical assistance, trauma care and more to persecuted believers during the coronavirus pandemic. This is what we have been doing for more than 60 years and will continue to do, with your support and the help of God, making sure that though our brothers and sisters are persecuted, that they’re never alone.
We’re so thankful for everyone who supports our persecuted brothers and sisters around the world. And like our persecuted family, we’re praying for all of you during this time as we all face social restrictions and difficulties due to the coronavirus. No matter how difficult or complex this season is, thanks to your support, we can continue to help our brothers and sisters in restricted countries. And even if you can’t support, we’re thankful for your prayers for them during this season.