October-Persecuted Church

October 2006

When I think of what has influenced me to pursue the Lord to the ends of the earth, I immediately think of Voice of the Martyrs. When I first heard that God had a heart for the whole world I was given a Voice of the Martyrs magazine. I poured over the articles and was amazed. From the very moment I opened the magazine, I knew mylife would be changed forever. Voice of the Martyrs is an organization that seeks to educate the Church on our brothers and sisters worldwide that are being imprisoned, tortured, robbed, and killed for being a follower of Jesus Christ. As an American believer I had no concept of suffering for my faith. My idea of suffering was that the kids at school made fun of Christians for being prude and dorky. Then I met my Sudanese brothers and sisters in Christ through articles in VOM. The war between the Muslim north and the Christian south was something I had no concept of. Muslim fundamentalists would go into Christian villages and burn the homes of pastors, mutilate the women, and kill the children. The injustice broke my heart and awakened in me a desire to make a difference. Through VOM, I learned how to pray for those in Sudan being persecuted. They encouraged their readers to pray for the leaders of the countries by name, so I found a list of the leaders and prayed. They suggested gathering other believers together to pray, so I gathered some friends together to pray. As I learned more about the persecuted church I was being discipled in the faith by these men and women. Knowing that there are Christians who follow Christ in the face of persecution challenges me to ask "Do I believe that Christ is worth my life? Do I live in such a way that suffering would not make my faith waiver?" They challenge my faith and spur me on to live so that nothing else matters but Jesus. Not life, death, persecution, comfort, nothing but theCross of Jesus Christ. Rebekha wore a white shalwar as she left her family. At the age of 15, she had become a Christian in a strict Muslim country. The white shalwar represented she was now considered dead to her family because of her faith in Jesus. She smiled as she looked at it because she knew what man meant for shame and death, Christ had made it to represent purity of heart and new life. Those who walked with Him would wear white. To her, it meant she belonged to Jesus and He viewed her as worthy.* (VOM, March 2005) Would we all be full of joy at the moment of persecution for our faith like Rebekha? The writer of Hebrews exhorts the reader to "remember those in bonds as bound with them." Hebrews 13:3. In China, Vietnam, Indonesia, and across the 10/40 window our brothers and sisters are in prison for believing in Jesus. Remember them as bound with them in spirit. Pray for them. Write your congressmen and women about the injustice of religious intolerance in areas like Sudan. Visit www.persecution.com to learn more about the persecuted church through Voice of the Martyrs. Let these men and women disciple you as you read their stories and are challenged by their faith.