This year, despite the pain our persecuted church family often experience, your prayers and support have brought hope, healing and joy to thousands of persecuted Christians – thank you!
Brother Simon* is an Open Doors partner working with North Korean believers through networks in China. You may have caught our interview with him in the January 2021 magazine. In an update, he shares how your prayers and support are enabling this vital work to continue – despite the challenges of Covid restrictions.
"Even during such difficult times, God continues to show us His faithfulness" Brother Simon, North Korea
“Our distribution projects, providing food and medicines for North Korean Christians, have been very significant in supporting their survival during this desperate situation, and we have increased the amount we are providing,” he says. “While the borders closing meant that fewer people could leave North Korea, it also meant that people who had left before the pandemic then couldn’t get back into North Korea.
“In this way, God provided a new opportunity for our workers to contact these North Koreans who were stuck outside of North Korea and to provide them with shelter in our safe houses, practical support and biblical training. Even during such difficult times, God continues to show us His faithfulness.
“All the devotion, sacrifice and faith of the numerous supporters will be answered by God thirty times, sixty times and a hundred times over, with fruit that will be ripe in the North Korean mission field. As all of you strived to help the weakest part of the body of Christ during the most difficult time, I believe all you brothers and sisters of the world will be blessed. As Jesus says, ‘Well done, my good and trustworthy servant!’”
In Syria and Iraq, after over a decade of conflict and persecution, Centres of Hope – supported by Open Doors – are helping Christians, churches and communities to rebuild and restore.
Sister Manal manages one of these centres – she describes the effect of the conflict on people’s lives: “Buildings were destroyed, and properties were stolen. The church also suffered the loss of the people; how many Christians were killed? Kidnapped? Kids lost their fathers and women lost their husbands. The war drove the youth to leave the country; they see no future here; they see a dead end. This puts the future of the church and the country in jeopardy.”
"It means a lot to us to have you thinking of us and praying for us" Sister Manal
Thanks to you, there is hope for our persecuted church family in the Middle East through these centres – which continually point to Jesus as the ultimate hope. Sister Manal focuses on training young people and giving them vocations, as well as spiritual support. “We work with the youth in order to help them see a future here… We want them to think of the church as a refuge for them. We pray that this generation will turn out healthy, strong, well-trained and capable of carrying our ministry to future generations.”
Sister Manal adds, “Please continue helping us and the church in Syria. Your support is like the widow’s pennies. We need it so much in Syria and it means a lot to us to have you thinking of us and praying for us. When we see the youth flourishing and growing thanks to your help, we glorify the name of God, and we thank you.”
Sarata* from Cameroon was widowed after her husband died from a stress-related illness, owing to the constant distress and unrest of Boko Haram attacks in the area. She became the sole breadwinner for her six children and struggled on, tilling a small plot of farmland. Tragically, a few years after her husband’s death, Sarata lost her 16-year-old daughter Lydia in a Boko Haram attack.
But Sarata is not alone. Thanks to your prayers and support, and her locals church, she is receiving spiritual care and financial support. She says, “We are suffering, and you thought of us, thank you so much! Thank you, beloved ones, for helping in our suffering… Thank you very much Open Doors!
“With the money I received, I paid for the children’s schooling and the farm work. I bought food and I also saved some for if someone gets sick. It really helps me. I thank you because you came to help us. Thank you, thank you! All I can really say to you is thank you.”
Around the world, there are thousands of Christians from Muslim backgrounds who must hide their faith – being discovered could mean being disowned, imprisoned or even killed. One secret believer says, “My life is always at risk. I’m still being watched. I can’t go to a church for fellowship, not even a secret house church meeting. I meet other Christians in hideout places… Most of these people were like me: secret believers who had met Jesus in dreams and visions but had no access to God’s Word.”
These situations make discipling new believers difficult – but not impossible. Thanks to your prayers and support, Open Doors local partners are reaching believers through secret networks to provide what they need. “Your organisation [Open Doors local partners] has visited me and my family and prayed with us,” the secret believer says. “Thank you so deeply for the relief aid, and the ongoing discipleship. And it’s thanks to your financial provision that I am able to support underground Christians. Particularly those suffering in prison. God is doing powerful things in my country, but… we expect more violence and destruction before things get better. Please pray for us. We need God’s strength.”
Violent persecution against Christians is increasing in India, fuelled by anti-Christian propaganda spread by Hindu extremists. Pastor Darshan* was attacked by extremists after sharing about Jesus in a neighbouring village. But he is determined to keep going. “The love of Christ does not allow me to sit in silence,” he says. “I want to share the love of God to many.”
Thanks to your gifts and prayers, Darshan and other missionaries in India have been provided with bikes! These will enable them to reach more rural areas to support Christians and tell others about Jesus.
“I praise God for this provision,” says Darshan. “I am so happy to receive this bike. It will ease my travel worries to nearby villages. I am assured that when you serve people, God opens ways to encourage and bless His servants. Thank you so much for the provision.”
*Names changed for security reasons
Father God, thank You for letting us be part of Your plans to bring good things to Your children around the world. Please continue to shower Your love, presence and grace on those who suffer for following You, and equip Open Doors partners to bring them all they need spiritually and practically. Thank You for Your kindness in 2021, and we lift the persecuted church before You for 2022. We know that if one part suffers, we all suffer: fill our hearts with love for our persecuted brothers and sisters and show us how we can best stand alongside them. Amen.
Your support helps persecuted Christians continue to courageously follow Jesus.
Together, we can reach those where persecution hits hardest.