Friday, June 28, 2013

Walking In the Valley Of The Shadow Of Death - Part 2

Walking In the Valley Of The Shadow Of Death - Part 2
Yesterday, we began sharing Yong Sook’s story about moving to North Korea and her father’s arrest. Today, we continue.
Six months after his arrest, Yong Sook’s father was called to the courtyard of the prison. It was the first time he saw all 140 members of the Christian network. He was probably one of the few who did not believe in Jesus Christ.
As the gate slowly opened the entire group was ordered to walk outside. As they moved, the guards called the names of those who had to return back to their cells. Since Yong Sook’s father had denied he was a Christian he was allowed to leave. The others, who were called back, probably died in prison he  later told his daughter.
Yong Sook’s father returned to the family home in Pyongyang. “We were all so shocked to see him. He was just a skeleton. He never spoke about his experience. He was a different man; often depressed and silent,” recalls Yong Sook. Also, after her father’s return, her grandfather did not speak anymore. Not a single word. “He felt so guilty, looking at my father was impossible for him.”
In her silent witness Yong Sook had to blame someone for the fate of her family. “I did not blame God. I knew too little about Him. I wasn’t angry with my father and grandfather either. I blamed everything on the leader of the Christian group, the man we knew from China.”
Then, in 1967, the entire family was ordered to leave Pyongyang. Because of her father’s “betrayal” the government now considered them part of the hostile class. As they packed and moved to the country all of Yong Sook’s dreams vanished. She wanted to be a writer, journalist, perhaps a teacher. Her only consolation was that her father was with them. “All that mattered to me was that we stayed together. I could not even think about my friends, who I knew I was never going to see again.”
Tomorrow we continue with Yong Sook’s story.
One With Them
Perhaps you have experienced your world being turned upside down. Dreams destroyed. Friends gone. And wondering what other horrors tomorrow would bring. You are uniquely qualified to be One With Them today, as those suffering for their faith in Jesus are uprooted and cast out. They can rely on God or they can just die from the world’s oppression. Please open your heart today and let the Holy Spirit direct your prayers of intercession for Christians who are clinging to their hope in God by their fingernails.


Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
(Psalm 23:4)

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Walking In the Valley Of The Shadow Of Death

Walking In the Valley Of The Shadow Of Death
Kim Yong Sook’s life started in 1951 in a Chinese village as the second child of a poor Korean family. It nearly ended 46 years later in a North Korean prison cell. Her extraordinary life story is both tragic and triumphant. Over the next four days we will hear her story.
When Yong Sook was 7 years old in the late 1950s, she remembered moving back to Korea from China, where her family had lived about 20 years. After all, her father said, “as Koreans, we belong in Korea.” At that time, the North Korean government encouraged native Koreans, who had moved to China and Japan, to come “home.”
Growing up in the capital city of Pyongyang, Yong Sook remembers that she had heard her family talk about Christianity, but she didn’t think they were Christians. Then, in 1964, a man came to their house to talk to her father and grandfather about a secret Christian network. He urged them to sign up if they wanted to be saved.
“My grandfather and father argued about it. My grandfather wanted to put their names on the paper, but my father thought it was a bad idea. My grandfather won the discussion,” she remembered.
Three years later, before sunrise, five police agents barged into their house. As the family cowered in the corner the police scoured the place saying, that because my grandfather and father were on the list of the underground Christian network, they were looking for Scriptures.
“That day, all the members on the list were arrested and taken away, including my father and grandfather; but they released my grandfather because of his age and because he lied. He blamed everything on my father,” she said. “The police believed him and they let him go home.”
After that, life was difficult for the family. “We lived in fear, thinking we would have to leave Pyongyang. Where was my father? Was he still alive? What would they do with us? Would we be deported to a political camp? Everybody believed we had betrayed the country.” She recalls, “And, for months, every few days, the police came to our house and interrogated my mother.”
Tomorrow we continue with Yong Sook’s story.
One With Them

In places where the government persecutes God’s children, the family suffers greatly as they are torn apart from one another, often unaware of the whereabouts of one another. At times, even unaware of whether they are still alive. As we approach God’s throne today, One With Them, let us first thank God for showing us how important “family” is to Him. Important enough to call us His children. Important enough to use a family to bring His Son into the world.


The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
(Psalm 23:1-3)

Free Sermon Package: "Helping the Hurting"

Free Sermon Package: "Helping the Hurting"

Free Sermon Package: "Helping the Hurting"
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The Great Choreographer

The Great Choreographer
As a young Coptic Christian woman living in a small village in Egypt, Ghada dreaded the time each day when her father came home. Like many Christian families, her father’s character and mind was shaped by Islamic society. Nearly every evening her father would take out his frustrations on her mother and the children. One night, during an outburst, Ghada screamed at him to stop. Angered by her rebellion, he beat her severely. Mentality and now physically abused, Ghada lived in fear of her father… that’s when a miracle happened.
A few days later, a neighbor invited Ghada to attend a women’s retreat organized by local churches. Oh how she wanted to go, but she dreaded asking her father for permission. In her heart she could already hear him say “no.” Surprisingly, her father agreed!
At the conference Ghada understood for the first time how to accept Christ as her personal Savior. On the last day a counselor challenged her to forgive her father, and to start praying for him even if she did not believe anything could happen. Sobbing quietly, Ghada prayed; “God, I do not know if You hear me but please change my father.” 
Scared to return home, she was amazed to find that he was already a different man. Taking Ghada in his arms, he said, “I have hurt you deeply. Please forgive me.” What happened while she was away? Had God listened to her prayers? That same week Ghada’s father had also been invited to a meeting, where  he too came to know Christ in a personal way.
Now, over a year since the conference, Ghada’s father is growing in love for God. During a recent revival meeting many were surprised to see him arrive early bringing a large group of relatives and neighbors. This man, who was once known to be so brutal, had now become a witness for the Lord.  
One With Them
On the road to Damascus, Jesus made it clear to Paul (then called Saul) that his persecution of Christians was in fact, persecution of Him. The Holy Spirit must have had a similar conversation with Ghada’s father that night he gave his heart to the Lord. Open Doors, in partnership with local Egyptian churches, is involved with women’s empowerment ministries, helping Coptic women and girls know Christ and be healed from their wounds. Be One With these women today by joining in prayer for them, their families who may oppose their faith, and their persecutors. 
Please prayerfully consider the several opportunities that Open Doors offers to come alongside the women of the persecuted church through financial contribution to programs that minister to them. Some of these include ministering to isolated women through TV programs, teaching women and girls to read, training the trainer in ministering to other women,  and providing job training. Learn More


“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.”
(Acts 8:5b)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Safe houses for persecuted Christian in immediate danger

 The Voice of the Martyrs
Safe Houses for
Persecuted Christians
in Immediate Danger
In Colombia...
FARC guerrillas had already killed one of the pastor's sons. They said they'd kill each one of his children if he didn't leave the village.
In North Africa...
When Musa's coworkers and neighbors learned that he had become a Christian, he was fired from his job and his neighbors threatened to throw him out of the building unless he returned to Islam.
In Somalia...
Radical Al-Shabaab militants literally hunt down and kill Christians to make Somalia a “pure” Muslim country.
Where will these Christians go when persecution forces them from their homes?
In the past 12 months, The Voice of the Martyrs has provided “safe houses” for persecuted Christians in more than 15 countries. These safe houses include a place of refuge for persecuted Christians in immediate danger. They must hide from families, extremists or government authorities, angry because they have turned to Christ or because they are leading others to him. While in the safe house, they receive pastoral care and comfort until they can either return or relocate to another area to continue their ministry.
Your gifts to VOM's safe house ministry provide job training, ministry tools, care and schooling for their children while strengthening and deepening their faith.
Thank you for standing with persecuted members of Christ's Body by providing for this very practical need.
For those in bonds,

To Change The Parents, Capture The Kids

To Change The Parents, Capture The Kids
South America; invaded by Spain and Portugal in the 15th century, converted from traditional forms of worship to Catholicism. Elaborate and ornate cathedrals were built as the priests steadily moved from village to village, nation to nation, claiming the land for their home country… and for God. Today, in South America, God’s faithful servants still travel bringing the gospel message. But none comes at such a high price as in the country of Colombia.
Colombia, strategically positioned, has shores on both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, and is the gateway between Central and South America. With its fertile plains and abundant rainfall, Colombia is also a perfect place to grow cocaine. And, because of the high demand for this product, many Christians have lost their lives in the battle between the drug cartels, the military troops and paramilitary rebel forces.
Pastors in villages, faithful to their calling, spend their days encouraging those protecting the cocoa crops to put down their guns and pick up a Bible. Drug lords, angered when their hired henchmen no longer are willing to perform the “expected” duties once they accept Jesus, have turned their vengeance toward the source…the Christian pastors. But, instead of killing the pastors, they go after their children. As a result, each year hundreds of children are kidnapped and forced to work in the cocoa trade.
Twelve years ago, after hearing of the Christian pastors’ struggles to protect their families, Open Doors opened a place of refuge for these vulnerable children. For most, this has become their permanent home. Their days are spent tending crops and caring for the animals that provide food for the table, attending school classes, and performing household chores. But, in the midst of their daily routine, is Jesus. As they learn to depend on Him for their needs, each child is learning to forgive, learning to be at peace, and learning what it means to be loved by God.  
One With Them
You can be One With Them today as you go the Throne of God in prayer for all the children of Colombia, for the Open Doors home and the staff there, and for the parents standing strong in their faith. Let’s also join in prayer for the persecutors; praying that they come to know the Lord and turn from their evil ways.
Visit the Open Doors website for details on how you can send a letter of love and encouragement to the children living at the home. Introduce the home to the children of your church and encourage your Youth Group leadership to take on an “encouragement project” through prayer and letter-writing.  


“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
(Matthew 11:28)

Monday, June 24, 2013

To Live is Christ, To Die is Gain

To Live is Christ, To Die is Gain  
After years of civil war, the tiny island nation of Sri Lanka was left with deep physical and emotional scars. Thousands were left homeless; others had lost family members; in some places entire villages had been destroyed.
Pastor Neil and his wife Shiromi, burdened by the deep wounds left on its citizens, moved to the village of Ampara located in the southern part of Sri Lanka. With a heart to minister to the traumatized youth in the area, many of whose families had been displaced by civil war, they ministered sacrificially - often in the midst of their own hunger and desperate need.
The young couple quickly became part of the community and was loved by many as they ministered reconciliation to broken families. As their ministry grew beyond the troubled youth, Shiromi began reaching out to women who were victims of domestic violence. But, in spite of the many villagers who benefited from their ministry, some were not happy with their work. That’s when the threats began.
On February 18, 2008, just outside their home, a bullet pierced Pastor Neil’s heart, ending his earthly life. People who knew the pastor believed that it was a hired gun that killed him and that it was religiously motivated. At only 37 years-of-age Pastor Neil had known that the day would come when his life would end. But, while seeing the inevitability of his imminent death, he was convinced that his ministry would not end, proclaiming, “After me, thousands will rise to proclaim Christ’s message.” Pastor Neil’s wife Shiromi and their little boy, then a two-year-old, were also shot in the attack, but survived.
Now, five years later, the small house church in Ampara is growing under Shiromi’s care and guidance. Besides preaching and worshiping every Sunday, Shiromi visits members on weekdays. As Shiromi and their son continue to build their lives in the very place where Pastor Neil was taken from them, his words still ring true as the gospel is message is being told…and many are coming to Christ. 
One With Them
The New Testament was written by persecuted Christians, to persecuted Christians, with instructions for living a Godly life in a world hostile to the Gospel. How relevant that is to today’s Christians! Join in prayer and support for Shiromi and her child – Be One With Them – praying for strength of faith, for God’s protection, and for His provision of daily needs.
While Christians everywhere cherish their Bible, it is a daily “how to” guide for those suffering for Christ today. Open Doors supplied 2.4 million Bibles to persecuted Christians last year. Will you help send Bibles this year? Please prayerfully consider the options on the Open Doors USA website. 


“Greater love has no one than this; that someone lay down his life for his friends.”
(John 15:13)

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Mauritania - # 21

Mauritania - # 21

Mauritania Man
There are a few countries on the World Watch List that we can’t share stories from. Even if we were to use different names, the Christian population is so small, that the story could easily be traced back to the individual. For their security, we are providing a different way to pray for the country this week.
Here are the top 10 things to know about what life is like for Christians in Mauritania:
  1. Mauritania has been under military rule for more than 30 years, with only a short democratic interruption in 2007. Promises to bring democracy back to the country have only resulted in rigged elections.
  2. Mauritania is one of the world’s poorest countries. One third of the children are malnourished, and when there is enough food, it is often too expensive for the poor to afford.
  3. During the winter of 2010/2011 several articles in the local media portrayed the “foreign” activities in Mauritania, including the names and the organizations deemed most guilty of Christianization. In early July 2011, some prominent Imams published their request to the Mauritanian parliament to protect the Mauritanian people from hearing the Gospel and to reject every Christian organization by a fight to have every attempt of sharing the Gospel in Mauritania curtailed.
  4. The main persecution dynamic in Mauritania is ‘Islamic extremism’ which has become more visible demonstrating the growing influence of Salafism.
  5. The first locals coming to Jesus were reported in the 90s. Mauritanian believers are few (with estimates ranging from around 150 all the way to 700).
  6. Many Christians don’t know the Ten Commandments and their ethics are influenced by the Muslim environment. It seems that the lack of biblical knowledge creates ethic problems. Other difficult obstacles for the church are its poverty and the illiteracy.
  7. The Church is divided in many groups. Some of them are united in networks but many believers are alone in their villages. In the countryside, Mauritanian leaders notice an interest for the faith issues and the Bible. The testimonies of the believers arrested and tortured in 2009 have encouraged more local believers to share about Jesus in the country.
  8. Pressure on Muslim Background Believers from family, tribe members and leaders of local mosques, is very high. There is some freedom for expat churches, but even for expats residing in the country, it is complicated. It remains completely impossible for Mauritanian Christians to register their churches, so they must meet in secret.
  9. There are many barriers such as low literacy rates, no Scriptures completed in Hassaniya Arabic, only a few local radio broadcasts from Senegal, and laws that forbid Mauritanians from hearing the gospel or believing in Jesus.
  10. Al-Qaeda in the Maghreb is monitoring Christian activity.

Faith To Endure

Faith To Endure
Threats and persecution against Muslim Background Believers (MBBs) in Bangladesh have surged following the uprisings after the International War Crimes Tribunal sentenced Abdul Quader Mollah to life in prison on Feb. 5, 2013.

Mollah’s conviction for his crimes, during the 1971 war that led to the country's break from Pakistan, angered the numerous civilians who had called for a death sentence. Yet, the Islamic-based political party Jamaat-e-Islami demanded Mollah's release. They accused the incumbent government of harboring a political agenda in view of the General Elections slated for 2014.

As a result of the uprisings, the nation’s minority Christians, especially MBBs, have been targeted.

Ekramul, a former Muslim, was one such Christian. While returning to his home in Balapara village, more than 100 Muslims blocked his way. When asked why he was not at the mosque for the Jumma Jamat (Friday noon prayer), Ekramul responded that he was a Christian. The enraged the mob began beating him. When his wife rushed to help him, she was beaten as well. They then stole his rickshaw van, his only source of income.

Mazedul, another former Muslim, was forced out of his home in the same village by his Muslim relatives. "Mazedul's uncles, cousins, and brothers came to his home and told him that he couldn't live with them anymore because he was a Christian," said an Open Doors contact.
One With Them
Open Doors is helping both families build new lives in a different area, and have arranged for a new rickshaw van for Ekramul. Stand One With Christians in Bangladesh as they come face-to-face with persecution for their faith? Pray for them as they face pressure and assaults, that they would endure with steadfast faith.


And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your world with all boldness…
(Acts 4:29)

Hardships For Christians - Part 1

Hardships For Christians - Part 1 
On the 8th of March 2013, rioters torched and completely destroyed a Christian colony of more than 170 homes, in Pakistan’s city of Lahore. The colony lies a stone’s throw from one of the largest Sufi shrines in the country. Christians, converted from Hinduism and Sikhism, have lived there, in the heart of one of the busiest parts of the city, for generations.
Badami Bagh’s Joseph Colony lies across the road from Shaikha Basti Colony; the residents of Shaikha Basti are mostly converts from Christianity to Islam. It was between these two colonies the crisis set off. Starting with a harmless greeting, the conversation quickly turned to the taboo subject of religion.
“Shahid called him a choora,” says a friend of Savan Masih, the alleged blasphemer against Islam now in a high security prison. “Choora” is the derogatory term for Christians, inferring that Christians are “sweepers” with links to their past low caste structure prior to their conversion from Hinduism.
“If we are chooras because of history, so are they,” said a resident of Badami Bagh, his voice harboring obvious anger. “They stir up people against us. It is never hard to get a crowd angry against 'low class dirty Christians.’”
All night, counselors and pastoral care workers worked at the impossible task of locating people. “We fled for our lives,” a Christian teacher from Badami Bagh sobbed over the phone. “In our colony everyone is born Christian,” she explained. Speaking at length about the challenges of living for Jesus in Badami Bagh, she added, “This angers the Hindu holy men because faithful Christian women in our colony do not go to the shrines any more. As a result the holy men lose credibility. But, our greater fear is this. How shall we deal with an attack or a false accusation?”
One With Them
It is difficult for American believers to understand how attacks against Christians can flare up so quickly and so violently. In some places, the government may be complicit in the attacks, and in others, it is simply helpless to stop what local leaders instigate. As you join One With Them in prayer, be reminded of Jesus’ words to pray for our enemies and those who persecute us. Praying the Christian persecutors around the world will come to know Jesus as their Savior.


But before all this, they will seize you and persecute you. They will hand you over to synagogues and put you in prison, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name.
(Luke 21:12)

Hardships For Christians

Hardships For Christians
Yesterday, we heard of the riots in Lahore. Today, we continue.
“The smoke, the smell of gas and burning,” a teacher’s son said. “The rage with which they dragged and smashed our equipment out of our homes. The loss of all the little we had, how we will recover?” A neighbor seconded the emotions in a whisper that mixed with tears and choked her throat sounding more than her audible words.  “We were too afraid to call the government for help, in case we would be accused of blasphemy.”
As Pastor Khursheed, who came from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa after his own church was destroyed in the floods in 2010, spoke to Christians in Joseph Colony, he saw a look in their eyes that he recognized all too well – despondency, despair, and disillusion.
“We need the world praying for us right now. Our crisis is spiritual,” he weeps. He explained that Christians fled when the police made their way to the colony on the Thursday and then again on Friday morning, forcing people to leave the residential area. “To some of us it seemed the police was doing us a favor and protecting us to save our lives. To others, it appeared the police were threatening us to leave,” said one young man.

Pastor Khursheed went from home to home, praying with people and advising them how best to clean up, how to minimize the effects of the gas pollution, and how to remove rubble in ways that would reduce incidents of injuries. 
One With Them
Unemployment, lack of education, and impoverished living conditions has marginalized the Christian community in Pakistan. Be One With Them today as you join in this prayer:
Our Heavenly Father, you know all, see all, and are in control of all. The plight of Your children in Lahore is not a surprise to You. Please give Your children strength, wisdom, provision, and compassion, to follow Your Word as they rebuild their lives. They have indeed picked up their Cross to follow You. Please encourage them that they are fully equipped to fight the spiritual battle in this world. They have the belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, sandals of peace, shield of faith, helmet of salvation, sword of the Spirit. In the name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.


He will rebuild my city and set my exiles free, but not for a price or reward, says the Lord Almighty.
(Isaiah 43:13)

“Victory After Suffering”

“Victory After Suffering”
Married less than a year, Mihret was eight months pregnant when Muslim men attacked and killed her husband, a young Ethiopian evangelist. Mihret herself was badly beaten, and doctors feared for the unborn baby’s life. By God’s grace, both mother and child survived. One month after the attack, a healthy baby girl named Birhannesh, meaning “light to the world,’ was born.
Alone, with a newborn to care for, Mihret struggled through her grief. In addition, she was without means to support herself and her child. When Open Doors learned of her situation they developed a plan to help Mihret become financially independent. With their help she opened a small kiosk selling Ethiopian coffee, tea and baked goods. As her business grew, Mihret purchased goats and other livestock, and rented a piece of land to plant grain, ensuring that both she and her daughter are financially secure.
In a message of gratitude Mihret writes:
“The Lord has replaced everything I have lost. Through Open Doors support I was able to see a bright future and could realize better the purpose of God in my life, even if the process is painful. Today I have milk for my baby girl, sheep to fatten and a donkey to carry water from the river! It is your prayers and encouragement that have opened my eyes to see God’s hand and His greatness. There is victory after all the sufferings.” 
One With Them
Be one with Mihret, as she gives thanks for His many blessings... then read and pray through Isaiah 40.
We have read about Mihret. Stories like hers – martyred pastor’s wives without a visible means of support – occur throughout the persecuted church every day. Please prayerfully consider a financial donation to train these woman in a trade. You can do so at Open Doors USA at this link.


You are the light of the world …
(Matthew 5:14)

Wings To Continue

Wings To Continue
Sonya returned to work after a week of vacation when the head nurse called her into the office. She was met by the head doctor, and a man she did not recognize. “Where were you last week?” they demanded. The interrogation continued and quickly became personal.
Sonya realized that the authorities somehow learned that she had left the country to attend a Christian women’s conference. “Why do you gather people in your home for religious meetings? Are you keeping any religious literature in your home? We are going to search your apartment. If we find any illegal literature, you will be in trouble.”
Hiding her shock, she waited until she was alone to call her teenage children at home. “Hide all our literature,” she told them, “but leave my Bible out.” When the authorities arrived they only found her Bible, which was confiscated. Then, they ordered the hospital to fire Sonya.
This was a devastating blow to the family. With her husband out of work, they now had no source of income. So, when the hospital offered Sonya her job back, on the condition that she would not evangelize or continue with her religious meetings in her home, she agreed, saying that it would break her heart to watch her children starve.
Without condemning her decision, Open Doors agreed to help the family explore alternative options for employment. After discovering that the family had experience caring for animals, it was suggested that they purchase livestock. With help the family bought 100 hens and 10 roosters, and in time they also bought sheep, goats, turkeys and cows.
When it became evident that their farm project was going to be successful, Sonya gave up her job at the hospital. Today, their income not only supports the family but also a small church in a nearby town.
One With Them
Please stand One With Them today – Sonya and her family – in their praise to God for His provision. God showed us unconditional love by sending His Son to take our place on the Cross, to die for our sins. He calls us to love Him with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength, and to love our neighbors. Is there someone in your midst that God is calling you to help today?
Prayerfully consider supporting literacy and vocational training through Open Doors. Many persecuted Christians are marginalized due to the inability to read and have job skills. You can learn more, and make your donation at the Open Doors website.

“Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”
(Matthew 6:26)

Reconciliation Through A Playground

Reconciliation Through A Playground
After years of division and distrust, the Hindu and Christian villagers of Bandabaju, India are finally seeing hope for reconciliation. Strangely enough, that hope has come in the form of a children’s playground.
In 2008, an outbreak of deadly religious violence in the village left two churches burnt down, and  over one hundred Christians were forced out of their homes. Even though many homes were rebuilt, many Christians remained paralyzed with fear. Then in 2012, an idea was hatched to help heal the community…build a place for children to play!
After a local Christian family donated the land, by mid-July the park was completed and dedicated to the glory of God.
Thanks to the children’s playground the community of Bandabaju is beginning to reconcile. “After the riots the Hindu and Christian communities were not on speaking terms,” the Christian leader recalls. “Whenever they came across each other in the marketplace or while walking on the road, there was tension. The children’s park has been amazing tool in bringing the two communities together. Today they meet in the park regularly, sit, relax and talk to each other.”
A local Hindu leader added, “Even though we have done so much harm to the Christians, it is a great thing that they still have concern for our children.” Daily Hindu and Christian families are seen laughing and playing in the park. The Christian leader added, “I hope the gap between our two communities caused by the violence will be lessened when our children play together.”
One With Them

Be One With Them as you join in this prayer for Indian Christian and Hindu families:
Heavenly Father, we praise You for who You are, and for the many blessings You bestow on Your children and their neighbors. You have always used the least, the weakest, the most unlikely people to accomplish Your Will, never leaving a doubt that the victory was because of You. And now we see You using children, and parents’ love for their children, as a bridge to join two groups in much need of healing. Once again, God, You are the hero of the story. We thank You and ask that You continue to show Your favor on this unity of people in India. Praying in Jesus’ name. Amen. 


“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”
(Matthew 5:9)

Prayer Request - Part 4

Prayer Request - Part 4
Yesterday, Elijah described how he found the “True God.” Today, we conclude his story. 

“At present, my wife, Esther, and I, together with our four children, are serving the Lord in Myanmar. It is amazing how He provided for us, healed our illnesses, and enabled us to plant and nurture churches. We are currently taking care of churches in five villages, managing a child development center, which also serves as an orphanage and school for the less fortunate children, and hosting a small Bible school in our compound. We are training future missionaries.”

After hearing Elijah’s story, the visitors asked him for his prayer requests. His only request was for the grace of Christ to remain. “Just pray that we will be faithful. God has given me so much. He saved me and redeemed me. He has been with my wife and me. He has given me wisdom and power to do His will. He has even given me the gift to speak different languages, and now, I can talk to friends from other countries like you! All I ask is that you pray for us to remain faithful to Him.” 

One Wtih Them

There are many others in Myanmar, like Elijah, who are from staunch Buddhist backgrounds. In a culture, where tribal and clan affiliation is a very strong, integral part of one’s identity, believers pay the high price of separation from their parents, family, relatives, and community to follow Jesus. Be One With Them today as you pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ. 
Join in praying this prayer:

Lord Jesus, we pray today for Elijah to be steadfast in his faith and service to You. We ask also for Your protection for Elijah and his family as they bravely reach out in their community with the love of Christ.  Father, we pray also for other believers from Buddhist backgrounds, like Elijah, who suffer persecution from their own loved ones. May You be their family, their source and strength, that through Your love, they never feel alone. In Jesus’ Name we pray, Amen.
(Name changed and other details withheld for the believer’s protection)


Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.

Finding Jesus - Part 3

Finding Jesus - Part 3
Yesterday, Elijah shared how he began reading the Bible and praying to Jesus. Today, we continue on his walk. 
“For a week, I studied and prayed to Jesus. After seven days, I began to understand what I was reading!  When I read Mark’s Gospel, I remembered something. When I was 16, my grandfather gave me a book. My grandfather – the sorcerer/astrologer/priest/Buddhist strongman – gave me the book of Mark! To this day, I still don’t know how or where my grandfather got it. 

“The Bible was beginning to make sense, but despite what I was learning, I was also experiencing frustrations. Eventually, I slid into depression. I was so confused. I didn’t know if I still wanted to believe in Buddha and be a strong Buddhist like my family. Something in me was saying that Jesus was the way; that He would give me the answers; that He was God.

In my desperation, I thought of ending my life. So, I went deep into the jungle to hang myself from a tree. I was certain there was no one around. I cried. I screamed, ‘Jesus, if you are truly God, speak to me! Tell me what I should do. Tell me what I should believe in. Buddha, if you are God, then, you speak to me. Whoever speaks to me now, I will believe in him!’

“If you would have seen me that day, you would think I was crazy! Maybe I was! But I kept challenging God to speak to me that day. That afternoon, I heard God speak to me. I knew it was Him. He said, ‘My son, I have heard your prayer.’  I felt that only the true God could call me ‘son.’  And only He could save me from taking my own life. Jesus heard my prayer. He is the true God!”
Tomorrow we conclude Elijah’s story.
One With Them
Jesus talked of a “childlike faith.” That kind of faith that says YES when all the logic and reasoning point to NO. Thank You, Father, for your Word. Please be One With Them today as you praise God for His Word and for answering the prayers of believers.
(Name changed and other details withheld for the believer’s protection)


See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are…
(1 John 3:1a)

Friday, June 14, 2013

Persecuted From The Womb - Part 1

Persecuted From The Womb - Part 1 
Elijah* was unusually well-built for a tribal man. He carried a confidence not often seen among his people. Working as a translator for visitors from other countries, his English was almost flawless, and he also spoke several other languages. The ability was of "divine origin," he once said. “I speak English and many Myanmar tribal languages because I asked God for it.”
Elijah, the youngest of four children, explained to a group of visitors. “In our community, my grandfather was known to have very strong connections with the spirit world. He could cast spells on people and could tell what was going to happen in the future. He saw things that ordinary people could not see. Some would say he was a priest in the spirit world. My father also had the gift of being able to see into the future, but it was not as strong as my grandfather.

“When I was in my mother’s womb, she had a dream. In it, somebody warned her that this baby would become a strong leader, but not in Buddhism. The baby would grow up, worship another god and become a leader in another faith. So, she tried to abort me by taking herbs to induce a miscarriage. Once, she even threw herself in front of a speeding car! But none of these things worked.
Against her wishes, she carried me to full term and eventually gave birth to me. But I was a sickly baby and spent most of my first year of life in the hospital. It is a miracle that I am alive today!”
Tomorrow, we continue with Elijah’s story.
One With Them
Be one with Elijah, as you pray this prayer:
“Our Father in Heaven, Holy is Your Name, Your Kingdom come, Your Will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. Thank You, Father, for Your Word, telling us that You formed us in the womb, and You have seen our entire life like a photograph in Your hand. You are in control, Father, and we thank You for sending us the Holy Spirit, to convict, guide, teach, and console us. We pray that Your Word and Your Spirit will change our hearts and minds. Praying in the Name above all names, Your Precious Son, Jesus. Amen.
*Name changed and other details withheld for the believer’s protection.


Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.
(Proverbs 19:21)

Addicted to Drugs - Part 2

Addicted to Drugs - Part 2
Yesterday Elijah talked about how his mother tried to abort him. Today, we continue. 
“Growing up, I was a problem child. In my teens, I started using drugs. I tried to become an army officer but failed so I traveled to the Thai border to find work. I waited on tables, became a kitchen helper and signed up for menial jobs. During this time, I became more addicted to drugs.

“One night, as I took the trash out, I saw two books in the bin. They looked so nice in their blue leather cover. I wondered why such nice books would end up in the trash. I showed them to one of my workmates, who said that it was a book, containing God’s word. I took one and my workmate took the other.

“I soon realized that it was written in both English and Thai. I could not understand a thing!  My workmate said that his pastor’s wife could teach me English and Thai. I was surprised that she would be willing to teach me, a Buddhist! I agreed to see her.

“At that time, I felt a deep desire for something, but I didn’t know what it was. I knew that through Buddhism, I could not find the answer. I wanted to open the book to learn more. Each week, she patiently taught me, although I didn’t understand anything that I read. Then, one day she asked me, ‘Do you know Jesus?’ I told her that I had seen a movie about Jesus but could not watch the part when he was being nailed on the cross. She told me to pray and ask Jesus for wisdom, so I could understand the Bible. I asked if I could pray to Jesus and Buddha at the same time. My teacher said I should pray only to Jesus to see if He would answer my prayers.”
Tomorrow we continue with Elijah’s story.
One With Them
At one time or another, we all have been searching for something. Searching for that purpose in life. Searching for that reason why we exist. Please stand One With Them, those like Elijah, who know something is missing, and are searching for the answer. Ask the Lord to meet them right where they are, and show them that He indeed is the answer.
(Name changed and other details withheld for the believer’s protection)


For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
(Romans 1:19-2)

Hana’s Prayer

Hana’s Prayer
“Imagine being watched all the time,” says Hana, a Christian from Pakistan.

“Imagine your neighbor asking you to cut down a tall tree in your garden, because it means they cannot look into your home anymore to see what you do. Imagine being asked on the street if you are fasting during Ramadan. Imagine being asked if Christians believe in dressing modestly, because the message the neighbors are getting from TV is that Christianity is ‘Western,’ and, anyone associated with the West is seen as an individual unconcerned with living in a way to please God.

“People in our part of the world work hard, and Christians are hard-working if given the opportunity. However, many Christians have been unemployed for generations. Most are uneducated with few opportunities to practice their skills and abilities.

“Christian children have a huge advantage if they make it to school. However, Christian children face challenges at school, and will always be reminded of their status as descendants of the untouchable caste, or being associated with the British. Both are stereotypes and not true.

“From morning to evening life is a challenge. This is our prayer every day, ‘Lord, give us eyes to enjoy the beauty and richness of spring, the blessings of the land in which You have placed us, the friendships waiting for us when we put our anger aside, and the opportunities to love and minister Your grace to those around us. Amen.’” 
One With Them
Today, be one with Hana as you too pray this prayer. Give thanks to the Lord for the freedoms we have, and pray for our brothers and sisters in places like Pakistan who do not share the same freedom.  Pray that wherever we are, we are seeking to please God, not the world. 


For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.
(Galatians 1:10)

Our Lives Are Like Candles 3

Our Lives Are Like Candles 
In a musical about North Korea’s infamous Yodok prison camp the actors sing the prayer of many North Korean Christians:
If there’s someone out there, can you hear this cry?
If there is someone out there, please listen to us
Oh God, look at that blood
Wind, please stop blowing
Our lives are like candles
Wind, please stop blowing, don’t blow
You will blow out the candles
Sun, please don’t rise, don’t rise
Someday it will be over
Heaven will not forsake us forever
If only we had wings, we would fly away.
Life for North Korean citizens, especially believers, can be fragile, like candles. All it takes to extinguish their earthly light is one wrong word or one misguided person. Through your prayers we can stand by these fragile believers, and nourish their physical and spiritual hunger. 
One With Them
Together, One With Them, be part of His glorious plan to strengthen and build up the Church in North Korea. Join in prayer today.
Consider taking the 5-5-5 Challenge. It’s a three-part challenge to pray 5 minutes (or more) a week, to share the stories of persecuted believers with 5 friends (or more), and to give $5 a month (or more) to support those who share our faith but not our freedom. Please visit the Open Doors USA World Watch List website and sign up for the challenge.


Though you have not seen [Jesus], you love him. Thought you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Nigeria- Your Gifts For Persecuted Christians At Work

It seems like Nigeria is in the news every few weeks. Last week, Boko Haram, the main Islamic extremist group in Nigeria, nearly took over Borno State. President Goodluck Jonathan has officially declared a state of emergency in this state.

Other states, like Yobe, have seen attacks against Christians on an almost daily basis. The crisis in Nigeria does not seem to be improving, leaving many devastated and unsure if their home, church or village will be attacked next.

Despite this devastating situation, God is providing for these believers, who have lost their jobs, homes and even loved ones.

Over the next two months, Open Doors team members will be travelling to some of the most difficult areas of Northern Nigeria like Yobe, Gombe, Kano, Taraba, Bauchi and Plateau to bring emergency relief to Christians affected by Boko Haram activity.

The relief aid consists of:

•    Assistance to 35 Yobe pastors with monthly allowance for 6 months.
•    Assistance to 4 Wukari pastors in the form of food and clothing, rent, replacement of destroyed study materials and school fees for children.
•    Assistance in the form of  food and clothing, rent assistance and school fee support to 74 widows in Bauchi (5),  Gombe (6),  Bokkos (6),  Dajal (5), Wase (21), Kano (31)
•    Medical Assistance to two men affected by random Boko Haram attacks.
•    Financial assistance to 8 families of slain factory workers and one additional person in Kano
•    Helping 30 families to rebuild their homes
•    Helping 20 Kano bomb blast victims to cover medical bills
•    Support to 6 Bichi and Kano churches to rebuild after they were destroyed in violence.
We would never be able to help Christians in areas like Nigeria if it were for our faithful partners around the world. Thank you for your on-going prayers and support!

                         Give Where Needed Most

The Role of a Father

main june
*For security reasons, photo is not of actual family
Ten-year old Charles and his father, were home watching a movie when his father’s mobile phone rang. As soon as his father hung up, he stopped the movie and told his only son to be very courageous.
His father was a member the Nigerian State Security Service and was summoned to the office, as there were attacks taking place in different parts of the city. Charles begged his father not to leave, but he had to fulfill his obligation.
His father did not get far. Just minutes later, he was shot and killed by Boko Haram fundamentalists who had blocked the road only 200 meters from their home.  The killers most likely identified Francis as a Christian by the cross that was hanging from the rear-view mirror of his car.
Across the continent in Ethiopia, Abebu Mosisa was in her seventh month of pregnancy with her eighth child, when her husband, Reta Senbeta, was shot and killed.
Reflecting on the days leading up to the event, she shared how her husband prayed for the safety of his family more often than before.“He sometimes woke me up to pray with him, saying ‘There is an unspecific fear in me for my family. I cannot pin-point it’. We would then pray together. I now realize that God was preparing us for this day.”
Khaing Daw* pastors a small church in a Myanmar village every Sunday. On weekdays, he visits and prays for the families under his care. He also holds an important position in his church denomination. Despite all of his work, Khaing Daw receives a monthly support of approximately $50. This barely covers his family’s daily needs. With three girls and two boys in the family, Khaing Daw needs no less than a miracle to feed them, let alone provide for their education. He desires to be a faithful breadwinner for his family, but he does not want to neglect God’s house either.
Fathers play a pivotal role in the lives of their family. Often they are the main financial provider, as well as the spiritual anchor for their families.
As we celebrate our fathers this Father’s Day, we are reminded that there are Christian fathers around the world facing persecution. Some are unemployed because of their faith and, cannot provide, for their families. Some are in prison for their faith, separated from their loved ones. Some have even died for their faith in Christ.
Even though we are half a world apart, we are united as the body of Christ, when one member suffers, we all suffer. When one member is lifted up, we all rejoice. These are our brothers and sisters. These are our fathers and mothers. These are our family members.
As Father’s Day approaches, would you say a special prayer for the fathers and their families facing persecution around the world? Thank you for being One With Them.
*Name changed to protect his identity