“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
The large congregation of Light Korean Presbyterian Church in Toronto, Canada was ecstatic on Sunday (13 August) in welcoming home their Senior Pastor, Hyeon Soo Lim, held for more than two years of a life sentence in a North Korean labor camp. The church was also crowded with media personnel recording the significant and almost unexpected return.   Sam Shim, operations manager at Lim’s church said, “Everyone was excited when we heard the news that he was freed… There was crying, joyful crying.”   Looking happy and healthy, Lim told his congregation about his experiences in the labor camp. Overwhelming [More]
Several years ago, my husband and I began attending a local Evangelical, non-denominational church, and we loved it. We cherished the sense of community we found among the loving and authentic people we met there, and the intelligent, “outside the box” pastor who led our flock with thought-provoking and insightful sermons. Sadly, the church started going off the rails theologically, and after about a year and a half, we made the difficult decision to leave. Today that church is a self-titled “Progressive Christian Community.” Back then I had never heard of “Progressive Christianity,” and even now it is difficult to [More]
n December 11, 2016, a suicide bomber linked to an Islamic extremist organization entered Saint Peter and Saint Paul’s church in Cairo and killed 25 people. The father of 15-year-old Marian was one of the victims. He died in her arms. But even through this tragic loss, she hasn’t doubted God’s love.   We meet Marian in the family house they share with her uncle’s family on the church premises. It’s located in a busy district near the city center of Cairo. Her uncle is a guard in the church, just as her father used to be. The house is [More]
There was a day when not long ago when Christian farming communities in northeastern Nigeria were self-reliant. But the violent rise of Boko Haram has changed all that.   One local family’s farm was big and productive enough to provide for all their needs and even give work to others. When Boko Haram attacked the village, militants set the property and family home on fire. Sadly, the father was still inside and he eventually died from the injuries he suffered.   As the oldest of seven, responsibility for providing for the family fell to their daughter, Rhoda. “Life has not [More]
If the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) has its way, India will soon be unified under one religion, one culture, and one language. Non-Hindu People Are Being Targeted. Of course, in order for this to happen, all other religious communities–including Christians–would have to be eliminated. According to the RSS organization’s founder, M.S. Golwalker, that is exactly the plan. “The non-Hindu people in Hindustan must either adopt the Hindu culture and language, must learn to respect and revere Hindu religion, must entertain no idea but the glorification of the Hindu religion, that is they must not only give up their attitude of [More]
Azamat became a Christian in the early days of Uzbekistan’s independence, soon after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, when, he says, the country “was a much freer place than it is now”.   He embraced his new faith, setting up a network of house churches, and finding teachers for Sunday schools. But the state soon noticed, and its interest led to an abduction that he describes as “the longest seven minutes of my life”.   Azamat, now in his 40s with a wife and two children, talks about how the heady days of his new-found faith turned into [More]
Christians in Iraq. Automatically we tend to think of those tens of thousands of Christians who were living in Mosul and the Nineveh Plain and are now living as displaced persons somewhere in the Kurdish area of Iraq. But how are the Christians doing elsewhere in Iraq? For example, those living in the capital Baghdad? Until 2003, this place was where most of Iraq’s Christians were living. We visited the city and were surprised by the dedication of the small flock that remained:   How is the situation now in Baghdad for Christians?   All of the pastors and priests [More]
There are very few countries left in the world that truly capture the concept of “kingdom”—where one person’s rule extends over every aspect of his subject’s lives. Especially in the Western world, kingdoms feel like a relic of a bygone era.   For the people of North Korea though, the concept is far too real. They have lived under the brutal totalitarian kingdom of the Kim Dynasty for nearly 70 years, and in that time the Kim family has stretched their power over every aspect of life they can touch. Currently, under the rule of Kim Jong-un, North Korea has [More]
Results from a nationwide study in the United Kingdom unleashed on Sunday revealed that a whopping 93 percent of British Christians believe that their faith is marginalized. Premier Christian Communications (PCC) surveyed some 12,000 Christians in the U.K. to discover what it is like for believers to live in a post-Christian society – in an island nation where militant Islam is tolerated and Christianity is rejected. Stand up After discovering that more than nine out of 10 Christians feel marginalized, the Christian media group insisted that believers in Christ must boldly stand up for their faith – and not be [More]
While many would consider their twenties an adventurous stage of life, Viktor’s story takes that theme to new extremes. Like many this age, he moved away from home and began exploring a new trade. Unfortunately, however, Viktor’s trade of choice was smuggling illegal drugs in Central Asia.   At first, Viktor’s early adult years were filled with adrenaline and adventure. Viktor led an operation that ran drugs from Tajikstan to the state where he lives in Central Asia. He seemed to have natural abilities to covertly network across communities. Viktor’s success rate, in fact, was so high that he was [More]
There’s one thing I often forget when it comes to Christian persecution. One thing that can easily slip my mind when I read about the senseless violence on Palm Sunday in Egypt, the calculated murder of Christians in Nigeria by Boko Haram, the kidnapping of Pastor Koh in Malaysia, or the plan of radical Hindus in India to wipe out Christianity by 2021. What is it that I forget? Sometimes in the midst of the news and world events related to the violence or the marginalization against Christians, I forget that ….. Read More: The One Thing All Christian Persecution [More]