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A new Pew Research Center survey has found a majority of U.S. adults believe the religious parts of Christmas are emphasized less now than in the past – and yet, many people are not bothered by this perceived development. According to the survey, 56 percent of Americans believe American society in general emphasizes the religious aspects…
“They will take my land … because I believe in my God.”   In Vietnam, more than a million people are part of the Hmong  group. Over the last 30 years, increasing numbers of Hmong have converted to Christianity from the group’s traditional religion of animism (belief in the spirit world and the interconnectedness of all living things). As this report from our partners in the field shows, turning from animism to believe in Christ and share His gospel can come at great cost.    When Thao*, his son and daughter-in-law became Christians in 2016, his younger brother reported them [More]
Where these children live, it takes more than a village—it takes the entire Body of Christ.   When stories of persecution emerge from dangerous regions, they often focus on the experience of adults. Perhaps this is because it’s too difficult to wrestle with the image of children being targeted because of their faith. How can any peaceable citizen fully grasp the ideological madness behind ISIS or Boko Haram or other Islamic extremist groups? Imagine how difficult it is for children who don’t yet understand the political context of their region to make sense of such actions. Why would a stranger—someone [More]
“Excellent article.”  Admin   If we truly get what prayer is–and what it does–we’ll realize it’s one of the most powerful weapons for change we have in our arsenal.   A recent Netflix show I was watching spent an entire episode mocking the “thoughts and prayers” response that public officials often give in response to tragedies. To be honest, I’m sympathetic to the show’s perspective. Often, I find myself thinking that the “thoughts and prayers” response seems like a platitude, just a socially polite way of saying, “I’m sorry this happened, but I’m not going to do anything about it.” [More]
North Korea, Somalia and Afghanistan are the worst countries to openly follow the teachings of the Bible, according to the study by Open Doors.   North Korea has been branded the most dangerous country in the world for Christians since 2002.   The Christian charity found the global level of Christian persecution has risen for the fourth year in a row, with Asian countries showing a particularly rapid rise.   The study found Islamic extremism was responsible for increased hostility in 14 of the top 20 counties on its list.   And the research discovered followers of Jesus living in [More]
These persecuted Christians are likely the future of Christianity. How can you encourage and support them as they persevere and grow in their faith?   For Abbas*, a Christian in Somalia, decisions about his faith have become life-altering. Abbas’ family members and society are out to punish him for abandoning his Islamic faith. Abbas is part of a group we often call “Muslim-background believers” or MBBs (people like Abbas who were raised Muslims and have converted from Islam to Christianity). MBB’s are growing rapidly, in some places explosively, throughout the world.    Becoming a Christian in the Muslim world is a [More]
Bao gets the Word of God into the hands and hearts of children and adults.   In Vietnam (#17 on the World Watch List), getting Bibles to people isn’t easy. Converts to Christianity from Buddhist or ethnic-animist backgrounds face increasing persecution. For the last two years, Bao, a 33-year-old believer in Ho Chi Minh City, has served as a partner with Open Doors’ Children’s Bible Project in Vietnam. Here, he shares how his faith has led him into the high-risk adventure of distributing God’s Word.   Meet Bao, a 33-year-old father of two—and a Bible smuggler.   In the last [More]
What do new trends mean for religious persecution?   Christianity in China (#39 on the World Watch List) has always lived in tension. Though the Communist Party of China has habitually restricted the freedom of Christians to worship over the last 70 years, the skyrocketing growth of the Chinese church is impossible to miss. Even non-Christian observers have taken notice, with many outlets putting the true number of Christians at tens of millions more than the Chinese government officially recognizes.   The official government line is that freedom of religion is guaranteed in the Chinese constitution. And technically, that’s true—but [More]
Vietnam ranks #17 on the 2017 World Watch List, climbing from #20 in 2016, due to an increased level of violence and pressure spread across all spheres of life. Northern provinces, including evangelist Vang Atu’s*, are reported to have more persecution incidents against Christians. Vang Atu, a persecuted believer from the Hmong tribe, experienced the wrath of his community firsthand, including losing his family home, but that didn’t stop him from being bold in his beliefs.   “Pray with me that one day, I’ll be able to go back to my hometown and testify to the people about my faith [More]
Women who turn to Christ in this Islam-dominant country often endure abuse from their husbands and family. Zara* prayed to receive Christ and began to secretly attend Sunday services at a local church. Her joy in her newfound faith was quickly challenged. Upon finding her hidden Bible, Zara’s husband began to beat her. His anger was compounded because he discovered it in the middle of Ramadan. Read More: Believers in Tajikistan Risk Their Lives to Share the Gospel – Open Doors USA
The future of America is an uncertain one. That old crafty serpent, the devil, has slithered his way into the core of our culture and is busy eroding the moral values that once made our nation great. America is no longer great because she is no longer good.   A nation that outlaws the mention of God in the public square, celebrates the killing of its own children and destroys the most basic unit of society, the family, cannot survive much longer. I’m afraid that unless there is major heartfelt repentance and the glory of God is restored to the [More]
“Neither war, nor communism, nor death can separate me from the love of God”   Since childhood, Ruben* was a fierce and feisty fighter who learned to deal with weapons, war and death. He never imagined that, years later, God’s plans for his life would lead him to leave the illegal army, begin a pastoral journey, and today, evangelize to those in arms.   From child to soldier   Rubén’s story begins the same way as many of the stories of poor children in rural Colombia—a dysfunctional family, physical and emotional abuse, and absolute poverty and hunger. It is for [More]
Nearly 35,000 members left the Episcopal Church (TEC) in the United States last year – continuing a decade-long downward spiral for the Left-leaning Christian denomination.   The steady decline in membership was divulged through a 2016 statistical report recently released by TEC.   Plummet in the pews   According to the figures, 2016 saw a decrease of 34,179 members of the Episcopalian Church, while 37,669 were lost the previous year. The data also indicated that the average decrease in Episcopalians attending Sunday worship services last year dramatically fell by 9,327.   The significant drop has diminished a substantial percentage of [More]
Alim’s* life almost sounds like the plot to a suspense movie. The main character? A man who once trafficked in underground drug networks. The twist? He turns out to have the exact skills necessary to run an undercover Bible distribution center later in life. And as a supporter, you play a vital role in his story.   As a young man, Alim would never have predicted he’d one day be in full-time ministry. In those years, he was busy running an ambitious drug-smuggling operation in Central Asia. But when Alim was caught, his life was derailed and he was locked [More]
“Ding.” The sound of an incoming message disturbs the silence in Nawal’s kitchen. She had just been preparing lunch for her and her young daughter. It’s a WhatsApp message from an unknown number. Just a few words—an encouraging message in Arabic. She knows this is a message from her Christian friend, letting her know that she is praying for her.   Nawal bows her head, closes her eyes for a second and whispers “Amin,” the Arabic word for amen. She answers the message briefly and then resolutely deletes the whole conversation from her phone and resumes her cooking.   This [More]
In 1980, at age 59, Dois Rosser Jr. sat at his kitchen table, staring at two columns he had drawn on a piece of paper. One was labeled “Kingdom Business”; the other, “Secular Business.”   For years, Rosser had wanted to involve himself in ministry, but he didn’t know how. The founder of POMOCO Auto Group in Virginia and a successful real estate developer, all Rosser knew was business and his love for the Lord. How could he cross the barrier between the secular and the sacred and follow the call on his heart?   Then the answer came: There [More]
North Korea has never been more in the American public eye than it is now. Once a closed off, anonymous and mysterious country on the other side of the world, North Korea is now known for its nuclear aggression, human rights violations and demonically systematic persecution of Christians. North Korea is #1 on Open Doors’ World Watch List and anyone caught owning a Bible, praying or worshiping in the country is quickly shipped off to one of the country’s massive concentration camps.   In the face of such brutality, we as Christians know we’re supposed to pray, but sometimes it’s [More]
Some new findings suggest that churches, no matter the size, can have a big impact on evangelism efforts as the congregation intentionally focuses on a few small things. Three faith-based groups – LifeWay Research, the Billy Graham Center, and the Caskey Center for Church Excellence – teamed up earlier this year in a survey of 1,500 pastors of churches with 250 or fewer members. Each church pastor was asked how many converts the church had in the last year and whether those converts stayed with the church after coming to faith. “The most exciting finding from this study is to [More]
More than 150 evangelical pastors, seminary and college professors, ministry leaders and others have signed a declaration known as the “Nashville Statement,” which affirms God’s design and intent regarding sexuality, marriage and gender identity. The Nashville Statement, which is an initiative of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood and the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, was released on Tuesday and features 14 short proclamations, or articles, arranged in constitutional form. Read More: Over 150 Evangelical Leaders Sign ‘Nashville Statement’ Affirming God’s Design for Sexuality, Marriage, Gender | Christian News Network
A band of Hindu extremists who had snuck into a house-church service beat a pastor with steel rods and sticks, one of them yelling that they would stop if he shouted, “Hail, Lord Ram (Jai Sri Ram)!” “I remained mum,” pastor Harjot Singh Sethi, 26, told Morning Star News. “I did not even squeal from pain. My mouth was shut as they beat me.” He suffered serious head and leg injuries in the Aug. 16 attack in Dabli Rathan village, Hanumangarh District, in Rajasthan state. “I am glad the Lord considered me worthy to share His pain,” he said. “I [More]
One might guess it would be difficult for a Nigerian to be a Christian while living among the Fulani who are 99% Muslim, but as Bulus* found out, the cost is sometimes higher than anyone imagines.   Until his mid-twenties, Bulus led a semi-nomadic life that is typical of the Fulani people. Like other boys, hee tended his father’s livestock and learned to hunt. And he was raised to have a deep respect for his elders and to fear Allah. For most of his life, Bulus joined the other men in his community in the customary ritual of praying five [More]
“It would be well if we here in the West studied about persecution like they are doing. Could we one day face persecution like they are, time will tell.”  Admin   Preparing Christians for persecution. That is the mission of Open Doors worker Nathan*. All over the Middle East and in North Africa, he visits Christian leaders with Open Doors’ Persecution Big Picture Training, providing them with a biblical theology on persecution and practical advice on how to deal with it when it comes. We visit one of his trainings and have an in-depth talk with Nathan about his work [More]
Having grown up in a devout Muslim family on the West Bank, Ismail* knew that starting to follow Christ would cost him everything: his status, his income, his house, his friends and his family.   And yet he still chose to pursue Christ.   This is how a Koran-memorizing Palestinian teenager grew more and more towards Christ. And he keeps following Him, despite all the struggles he encountered while living as a secret believer on the West Bank.   He is in his late thirties now, but Ismail remembers vividly when he first laid eyes on a Christian book. “One [More]
“Every home, without exaggeration, has a struggling wife, a drug addicted child, an unemployed, alcoholic son or father or someone with disease,” A lecturer from ALIVE Bible College explains, “While dealing with the realities of life as a Christian who is denied basic rights because of poverty and their faith, there is little time to revel in the truths of being a Christian.”   One 2013 ALIVE graduate, Rehana, knows these harsh realities all too well. She has grown up in a predominantly Muslim country where her family has long experienced persecution.   As part of the religious minority, living [More]
3 Christians Tell Their Stories You may have heard that persecution in Egypt is on the rise. 4 major incidents landed in the news when extremists carried out attacks on 3 churches and a bus of Christians, killing over a hundred believers. But media coverage of these tragedies often focuses on the basics–the who, what, where, when, and why–without taking the time to tell the stories of how these events impact other Christians in Egypt. Below are 3 such stories. Read More: 3 Lessons from the Persecuted Church in Egypt – Open Doors USA
When Culture and Marriage Clash When 23 year-old Sameda decided to accept a local man’s proposal, she was sure it was a good decision. “I married Rashid because he seemed to me a good man. Initially we were very happy until he became more interested about my faith. I did not hide the fact that I am a Christian and told him that God touched my life one day.” After this conversation where Sameda shared her faith, she says things changed. Although Sameda’s faith had not bothered Rashid previously, her husband’s parents began to influence his ideas about her over [More]
“Lord, Lord, please help!” When Hannah Cho was a child growing up in North Korea, she had no idea how important this phrase–often repeated in her mother’s prayers–would become to her. Nor did she have any idea how many times future hardship would prompt her to utter the words herself. The one thing she did know is that her mom was devoted to Jesus even amidst hardship. A Heritage of Faith in Hardship Read More: The Only Prayer They Knew: Lord, Lord, Please Help! – Open Doors USA