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Answers to Prayer
FREED FROM NORTH KOREAN PRISON
Grace* is a North Korean who was trafficked into China. Through Open Doors worker Hwa-Young*, she began to learn about God at a Bible group - but one day she went missing. Caught by the Chinese authorities, she was sent back to North Korea. Would she be questioned about the people she'd met in China?
Hwa-Young says, "I was very fearful. Not for myself, but that other (trafficked) women would be arrested, too." But God was with Grace. After one month in a prison camp, where she had to sell her clothes for salt to purify her water, and eat rotten corn to survive, a police officer asked if she knew anyone with money and was willing to free her if she did. Grace made a desperate phone call to China, and her friends were able to collect the large sum of money required. Thankfully, she was freed one month later. "After they let her go, she stayed with her sisters for six months to recover. Then she escaped to China again and was welcomed back into our group. She eventually got a South Korean passport and has a job. She still hopes to reunite with her husband and bring him as well as her sisters to South Korea. The experience taught me that God is in control. If this happens again, I'll be less afraid."
"GOD USED YOU TO PROVIDE THESE BLESSINGS"
Cameroonian Christian Sharifa Kesvere was widowed in July 2014, when her pastor husband was killed by Boko Haram. But thanks to Christians around the world, Open Doors has been able to support her practically and take letters of encouragement to her and her eight children.
"I am touched by this letter written by three beloved brethren in France," says Sharifa. "It says, 'Jesus is the Good Shepherd and the Best Friend'. These words renew my assurance of the Lord's protection over me and my children.
"If someone does not think about you, they can't write to you. The cards have been a great encouragement to me and my family. My children are very much encouraged in their faith. They are always attracted by the photos or images on the cards and often spend their time considering the images."
With help she's received, Sharifa has started up her own ice-making business and now manages a farm. "I harvested 40 bags of unpeeled rice this last season! The Lord, by His grace, passed through you to help me get over all that had come my way. The letters and your visits have greatly encouraged me. To all the beloved of Open Doors, I say as a mother, thank you to everyone. If today my children and I live, eat and are clothed, it is you that God used to provide all these blessings."
Tohar Haydarov released
Uzbek Christian Tohar Haydarov, who was imprisoned in March 2010 was released on 7 November 2016 after serving just six years and 10 months of his ten-year sentence.
"God has heard the prayers of many Christians," an Uzbek Christian said. "We are thankful for everyone who prayed for him and sent letters to him while he was in prison."
"We're very grateful Tohar has been granted parole," an Open Doors spokesperson says. "We have prayed for him for years and we need to continue our prayers. After six years in such difficult circumstances he needs to be restored and re-establish his relationships with his loved ones. We know from other ex-prisoners that the process can be hard."
"I have lost everything"
When Iraqi Christian Suaad was forced out of her house by IS she went to stay with her older brother and his family. To her great joy, the church set up a sewing factory with the help of a local Open Doors partner, and when offered the chance to share her expertise with other displaced ladies, she jumped at the chance.
"I teach the basics of tailoring. They can use these skills to earn some money for their families here in the factory or elsewhere. Either way, it helps them work towards a future. It's what I like most about the job - I can share with those in a worse position than me. Sometimes a displaced person comes to me to ask if I can make them a dress. Then I do that and I don't charge them. How could I?" Nevertheless, Suaad is able to bring in some money by leading the sewing factory. "I would have done it voluntarily if needed, but I am happy that I get some money so I can share it with my family."
Abducted Iraqi girl Christine still alive
In July 2015, we asked you to pray for a little girl called Christine who was taken from her mother's arms by Islamic State (IS) militants over two years ago. In July 2016 an Open Doors contact in Iraq visited Christine's family, in a refugee camp in Erbil, to find out whether they had heard any news of their daughter. Ayda, Christine's mother said:
"Christine is still there," meaning IS-held territory a few hours drive away. "We heard that Christine is living with one of the Christian ladies who was kidnapped by IS. The lady was forced into marriage with an IS-fighter and somehow managed to take our Christine under her care." In July 2016, Christine turned five - her second birthday without her parents. "But I don't know how she celebrated it. She is getting older. Sometimes, I fear that my Christine grows older without me, that I will never see her again. Without her, it's like part of our heart is missing. We are not complete without her."
"Our lives are better and we praise God for it"
Indian Christian Hari Singh*, his wife Rani, and their son Sandeep lost everything in the Orissa riots of 2008 but since then, thanks to the prayers and gifts of Open Doors supporters, their lives have been rebuilt.
"Our family lived in a tent made of plastic tarpaulin and mud. We also sold firewood and leaves we could collect from the forest to ensure one daily meal for our family (but) by God's grace and Open Doors initial contribution (a pair of bullocks) I was able to reap much more profits from farming. Open Doors also provided a beautiful house we never imagined we could own. I was so sad when the Hindu extremists took my old bicycle during the riot but now I am blessed with a new motor-bike. We have also brought furniture for our house, which we could never have thought about before.
Hari and Rani also attended adult literacy classes conducted by Open Doors.
"Before attending the classes we could not even read the Bible, but after attending we read the Bible daily; we can write also. We are growing spiritually. Our lives are better and we praise God for it. Another blessing is that our son is studying very well - he receives tuition assistance from the Bridge School run by Open Doors volunteers. Our child would never have been able to cope with studies if it wasn't for this school."
Healing in Bangladesh
Rubel Miah (21) is a graduate of the Rural Doctors training programme supported by Open Doors in Bangladesh. A Muslim background believer, Rubel now serves the community that persecuted him.
"I came to Christ through the testimony of a Christian uncle. My family forbid me from exercising my faith and I experienced much persecution when I chose to continue following Jesus. Open Doors helped me set up a pharmacy in my village. Now people come to me for medicine and health consultation. In addition to providing physical treatment, I am able to share the Word of God with my patients! I pray with each of them and advise them to take their medications in the name of Jesus. I believe my family and even my entire village will come to know the Lord through this ministry."
*Name changed for security reasons