Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Another Look At Persecution

I wrote last week about some of the insights that God gave us while we were overseas in November.  In response to that post, I heard privately from one of our dear friends who serves in one of the hardest mission fields in the world.  By "hardest," I mean an area where believers in Jesus Christ are most persecuted for their faith.  After sharing my short-term insights on how facing persecution can be good for the purity and simplicity of the church, I wanted to share his insights on how persecution also suffocates the church.  Here where his wonderful insights (which should lead us to pray for our persecuted brothers today)...

Concerning persecution, I wish that believers in our area had room to breathe. It is really tough. The pressure is from government (and this pressure is real--real prosecution, real legal implications). The social and family pressure is also very intense. There seems to have been a little momentum building over the past few years. But after some things happened last year, believers are afraid to even be seen with each other. And they are very afraid to be seen with foreigners in too close of a way. It has been a hard thing to see the very weak and struggling body of Christ, take such a hard set back. I once heard of a group of 13 adults and 7 children meeting together to read scripture. That is a mega church here.
And our work is also very sensitive. The locals who help in our work really feel like if people knew what we were doing, that we wouldn't live much longer. If there is enough of a group then persecution is strengthening, but it seems that without a critical mass of some sort; the effects really are strangling. Satan wants to stop the proclamation of the truth of the good news. There are many tools used to do this.  Here fear is a huge weapon used very effectively. I praise God for the people that find the courage that only comes from the Lord. We realize in vivid ways that the only way that we can go forward is under the protection and care of God every day.  But isn't that always true! What a blessing to be reminded of it so often. Pray that we would know how to be harmless and wise, bold and meek, faithful and fruitful.

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