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Answers to Prayer
"So many Christians united in prayer"
Sarah lives in Syria. She pastors youth groups in Aleppo and was part of a team that mobilised a worldwide day of prayer for Syria in May 2016.
"I heard reports from many places in my country, and from the rest of the world from many different denominations, that during the church services people prayed for Aleppo. So many Christians united in prayer on that day. I do expect that God will do something in the city. I also know of many Syrian youth who prayed because of the prayer call via Facebook or via WhatsApp. My friend drifted away from God and the church but on Sunday, when we prayed, he surrendered to Jesus Christ. Because of the war he had lost his faith. He even said that he could live without God. When I prayed for him, he suddenly surrendered his life to Jesus Christ. This boy is now thinking of staying in Syria because he believes he has a message for the country. I am encouraged by the prayers of so many Christians around the world. I look forward to what God will do with the prayers."
"One day I will stand and testify of God’s healing power"
Damaris Atsen is a widow in Nigeria whose husband was killed in anti-Christian riots in 2010. She now supports other widows and speaks on forgiveness. Last year she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
"I am extending my appreciation to Open Doors staff and supporters for your prayers and financial support towards my treatment. I always proclaim healing upon myself and will continue to serve the Lord as long as I live. I am better, the Lord is answering your prayers. I always encourage myself with Romans 8:35, knowing that nothing will separate me from the love of Christ. I am confident that one day I will stand and testify of God’s healing power before you. Thank you for praying for me and supporting me financially."
"Letters were like strong walls"
When Chaltu Waga became a widow seven years ago (her husband, Tulu, was killed by Muslim extremists at his church in Nensebo Chebi, Central Ethiopia) thousands of Open Doors supporters sent letters of encouragement.
"As soon as I heard the voices of the letters, I became happy and rejoiced. Before the letters were read, in my mind my life was like a mountain. The road was closed. But when I heard the voices of the letters, the way was open. There was no mountain and I was not closed in anymore. The letters said, 'We are all around you, like a building'. I became very happy. The letters were like strong walls around me. I want to thank the brothers and sisters who wrote the letters to me. They were instruments of God. God used them to save me and encourage me."
"Everything has purpose"
Pastor Azim Jankaiev has led a church in Rakhym, Kazakhstan, for 12 years. Nearly all activities stopped in 2014 when the government banned the church from meeting. Azim, who has a wife and four children, was left without means of livelihood.
"From the beginning of the year, we were forbidden to hold services in our building until we bring all of the building documents into the order. When we decided to find out what's going on, we found out that there are some 'neighbours' have written a complaint to our church. There are 47 people have signed under the complaint... public authorities support them and selectively put pressure on the Christian church. Our attempts to renew documents and status of the building for worship services are blocked by the authorities.
Many Open Doors supporters have prayed for Azim and he has now been accepted as an Intern of the Worldwide Christian Organisation which gives him a regular income. At the end of October 2015, 30 members of Rakhym church decided to continue attending Sunday services and to resolve all the issues with the building.
"I know everything has purpose. I know from history that the persecution of the church made the church even stronger. Today is a very important point for the church in Kazakhstan. And we have to stay on our knees despite the circumstances and obstacles. I know that thousands are praying for our situation and I’m so grateful for the worldwide church that stands together."
"It's only prayer that gives you peace, strength, hope"
In 2014, Bhutanese Pastor Tandin was sentenced to almost four years in prison, charged with conducting a religious meeting without prior approval. After several months in prison, during a time of prayer, he had an angelic vision. In January 2015, his case was dropped in exchange for a fine and he was released.
"You felt my pain"
Mary Lunyamila’s husand, Elias, was killed in 2013 while guarding their church in Mwanza, Tanzania. In the dark days that followed, thousands of Open Doors supporters sent messages of encouragement. Mary has two children, Prosper and Prisca.
"May God bless each one who prayed for us! And for everyone who sent a letter or card, I want you to know that I truly appreciate the message of love, concern and unity. You have proven to me that you felt my pain. Your letters also prove that I am loved and cared for that I have been prayed for by brethren across the globe... That is an indescribable feeling! These come from Scotland, Germany, Italy, UK, Holland, South Africa, Belgium, Australia, and Ghana. Wow! I will take time and look through each one, then, whenever I feel down, I will use them to remember how much God loves me. Because that is what these letters are: proof of His love. I will store them until the children are old enough to read well, because they, too, must know how much Christians love and care about us! I see God caring for us day by day. My children and I have not been forsaken. And whenever I feel low or overwhelmed, the Word of God comes to mind, especially Psalm 42: "Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance."
"We would not even exist without your prayers"
Hana* from North Korea is a natural evangelist and has been instrumental in bringing many people to Christ, but was forced to leave her country and family behind when her work was exposed. She is now living in South Korea.
"Of course God is at work in my country. And of course prayer helps. Of myself, I am only a weak human being. Despite my lack of knowledge of the Bible, God used me to tell others the gospel. Then I would set out. I would dress my six-month-old baby warmly, tie him on my back and walk for mile after mile, until I met a stranger about whom I knew it was a person I should speak to. God had sent me out for this encounter. I would say what I had to say and go home again. Do you think that something like that would have been possible without God? Please keep praying for North Korean Christians. God is answering your prayers."
Jae Hwa*, also from North Korea says we must not become discouraged by what we see in the news about North Korea.
"God is working everywhere. I came to faith in a refuge in China, after I'd escaped from North Korea. It would amaze you to see how God is at work in these refuges. This is only possible thanks to your involvement and prayer. We would not even exist without your prayers."
*Name changed for security reasons