Five Things We Learned From The Persecuted Church In 2019
The end of a year is an opportunity to reflect on the year that was and prepare for the year to come. In 2019, the persecuted church have inspired us to be courageous Christians who follow Jesus, no matter the cost, through these faith-changing lessons.
God Transforms The Hardest Hearts
When Mostafa*, an Egyptian Muslim, heard a rumour that his cousin was a Christian, he went to investigate and kill him if it was true.
Image: The streets of Egypt.
But when he followed him into a church, the sound of worship brought Mostafa to tears.
He confronted his cousin and said, “I should inform your family, but I can’t. Tell me more: why did you leave Islam for Christianity?”
After hearing more, Mostafa dedicated his life to Jesus and now lives as a secret believer.
Time and time again, God defies our expectations. He is powerful enough to transform even the hardest of hearts.
Never Lose Sight Of Jesus
A Christian from China said, “Imagine if the devil had the barrel of a gun pressed towards your temple and said, ‘Renounce Christ, or I'll pull the trigger.’”
Image: A street market in village near Dandong, northeastern China.
“It’s likely you'd find the courage not to deny Christ.
“But what if the enemy took you to a warehouse and said you can have it all - a big house, money, family, cars, food, riches. You can even have Jesus sitting on a throne.
“It wouldn’t be long until we were so focused on playing in the blessings of Christianity, we didn’t even realise Jesus had left the room.”
Keeping our eyes always fixed on Jesus is integral to our faith.
God Is On The Move
The situation for Christians in Nepal has deteriorated this year as the law is used against believers.
Image: Christians worshiping in a Church in Nepal.
Organisations that print Bibles have been shut down. Orphanages have been forced to close after being accused of converting children to Christianity. Christian leaders and churches have received serious threats.
Yet the church in Nepal is growing. Even in the most difficult circumstances, God is on the move in Nepal, bringing more people to know Him.
A local pastor said, “Our lives and ministries are always at risk. I am sometimes very disturbed, but I hope in the Lord.”
God Is Great…No Matter What
Thousands of lives were changed this Easter when several churches were targeted in attacks.
Image: Black and white flags lined the streets as people mourned the bombings in Sri Lanka.
Verl lost his 13-year-old son, Jackson. He said, “Jackson was my only son. He was mine for 13 years, but now he is His forever.”
Stories such as Verl’s are a comforting testament of God’s grace and goodness amidst a fallen world.
Verl concluded, “God is good. God is great. My foundation is Jesus Christ. I’m zero. Jesus is everything.”
The Persecuted Church Are The Perfect Mentors For Our Faith
Living in the most dangerous places to follow Jesus, the persecuted church have truly counted the cost of faith in Him, and they know that He is worth it.
Image: Mansuri, a Christian woman from Bangladesh.
This year, we’ve seen time and time again that as we support and strengthen the persecuted church, so too do they support and strengthen us as they show us how to live bold and authentic faith.
We’re all trying to figure out how to best follow Jesus in today’s world, and this is the global body of Christ at its best: learning from and growing one another into courageous Christians who follow Jesus, no matter the cost.
*Name changed for security purposes.