Did we see you at Spring Harvest in April? Thank you so much for giving, sending and sharing hope with the church in the Middle East this year! Here are some of our highlights from Skegness and Minehead, as well as details of future festivals we’ll be at in the coming months.
Open Doors is heading to more festivals later in the year - will we see you there?
It was so good to be back at Spring Harvest in person this year! It’s been a joy to share the courageous faith of the church in the Middle East, and to see people share hope through prayers and giving so that believers in Syria and Iraq can continue to put hope at the centre.
While it was sad that Father (now Bishop) Daniel couldn’t come and meet with Open Doors supporters, we saw God move powerfully at both weeks of the festival – and want to thank you so much for all the ways you gave, sent and shared hope with persecuted believers.
Here are just a handful of them…
Andy, an Open Doors speaker, said: “One supporter at Spring Harvest expressed his thanks for keeping in touch with him through lockdown. He said that he’s not sure how he would have made it through lockdown without hearing the stories of the persecuted church that helped inspire him to keep going. It was because of this that he decided to set up a monthly standing order at Spring Harvest.”
“I met a gentleman in a mobility scooter who was looking to increase his giving to Open Doors,” shared another Open Doors team member at Minehead. “After I chatted through the correct process with our supporter relations team, he told me that he was dying, and was looking to give more money and resources to Christian organisations. I was particularly moved that he was compelled to give to the persecuted church, even out of his own suffering and poverty.”
One of the staff on the Open Doors stand at Skegness said: “I had been on the stand for a while when it was very quiet, and I was thinking about doing another lap of the resources exhibition when a man came up and we got into a conversation about Open Doors. He knew of our ministry and has supported us for years. After a while I asked him what he did and, rather sheepishly, he confessed he was a church leader. And then he said, ‘I spend so much time trying to raise money for church building that are falling down, it can be exhausting. I’d like to give to something that will last forever,’ and then he made a donation to the persecuted church.”
And finally, one young student had been given £100 spending money by his dad. By the end of the conference, he decided to donate it all to persecuted believers!
The Perspex prayer wall was also a huge hit! We saw some lovely prayers. One of our team shared this story: “I happened to catch up with a family from my home church... Mum was having a holiday break with her two infant school age children. They LOVED the prayer wall. Mum wrote a prayer for Bishop Daniel and the persecuted church and the children drew pictures of Jesus welcoming all. It was so rewarding seeing my ‘home church life’ and my passion for the persecuted church and the ministry of Open Doors come together.”
Here are some of the prayers you prayed for the church in the Middle East:
“Dear Father God, we pray to You that Your Spirit puts protection over everyone that is suffering in other countries. Amen.”
“Lord, be with them in this work. Give them Your strength and courage to continue to do Your work. Amen.”
“Father God, we pray for Your peace, protection, hope and courage for those persecuted for their faith and the Open Doors partners who are trying to help them. Amen.”
And simply: “Don’t worry, we’re here.”
There is power in each of our testimonies – and we can draw strength from one another’s stories, not least those of the persecuted church. And we saw how Jesus moves through these stories among the young people at Skegness when Emma from Open Doors shared stories of courageous faith at one of the youth meetings. Afterwards, 31 young people aged 11-14 decided to follow Jesus for themselves!
People also encountered Jesus in an empty cinema, a restaurant and on the beach at Secret Church. It was a tangible way to engage with our persecuted church family, many of whom meet and worship in secret. Delegates sang worship in whispers, shared Bible verses they’d memorised, and prayed for Christians around the world who cannot live out their faith freely.
Thank you so much to everyone who prayed, gave and chatted to us at the stand. It is a real privilege of our work to meet with supporters who are so passionate about strengthening the persecuted church. Just as the Bible teachers shared about Nehemiah, we hope you were renewed, rebuilt and restored in your walk with Jesus.
If you missed Spring Harvest this year, don’t worry! Open Doors will be at the following Christian festivals – will you be there?
WILDFIRES: 30 May – 2 June
BIG CHURCH DAY OUT: 3-4 June
KESWICK CONVENTION: 16 July – 5 August
You can write a message of encouragement to your persecuted church family, including believers in the Middle East – they’d love to hear from you!
Your support helps persecuted Christians continue to courageously follow Jesus.
Together, we can reach those where persecution hits hardest.