Written by: Open Doors
Article source: www.opendoors.org.za

Towards the end of His life, Jesus warned his disciples to expect persecution. In what must have been one of the most fear-evoking sermons they ever received, Jesus told them that persecution would become their new normal.

But He also promised them this:
“I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

It is by His promise that those who face the greatest tribulations for their faith in Christ, may also bargain on peace and hope to come to them. These the Lord often delivers through fellow human beings, His gifts to the Body of Christ. Your support has been such gifts of hope and peace to persecuted Christians.

When Momina*, who is from a Somali background, became a follower of Christ, her family abandoned her and her six children. They had no food or shelter. But she had inner peace for the first time ever.

Momina playing a game with one of her sons.

Momina playing a game with one of her sons.

Now, thanks to your support, she is becoming a pillar in the Somali Church. “Your support reached me when I was almost ‘gone’, almost broken and when I felt I had no one. I thought I would see my children die one by one, or all at once. If not for you, our grief, hunger and thirst would have killed us.”

Momina has six children that she cares for.

“God bless those who feel for us, those who have received Jesus before us and now stand by our side to help us.”

Ijanada’s daughter, Warasini, is about one year old. She and her older brother, Luka, were conceived during Ijanada’s nearly four-year Boko Haram captivity. 

At 14, Ijanada was only a child when she was kidnapped during an attack on her town. She was enslaved and at some point, married off. “I got pregnant and (a while) after giving birth to my son, became pregnant again… I faced so much suffering, hunger, maltreatment and pain.”

One night in 2018, while Ijanada was about two months pregnant with her daughter, she escaped. “I took Luka and started running into the forest without turning back! I kept running throughout the night.” She came across a soldier who helped her and, four months later, she was reunited with her family. They welcomed her back with gladness.

Ijanada with her daughter Warasini.

Ijanada gave birth to her daughter three months later and named her Warasini, meaning, “I never thought I would get back home”.

But the community was not kind to her. They mocked Ijanada and kept her children at a distance. Ijanada is determined to undo their damage, by showering her children with love.

Open Doors trauma care program helps her to be free from bitterness caused by what she has been through.

“I didn’t understand the importance of forgiveness, but now I do, and I have let those feelings go. To everyone who supported this program, I want to say thank you. May God continue to open doors for you. May God continue to grant you wisdom to reach out to many others.”

In their short lives, Eden (13) and Dawit (5) have seen more of the world’s brokenness than most kids their age. But they and their mother, Hellen, are learning that God’s plans are perfect and that He is always faithful to His promise to never forsake His children. 

Sister and brother, Eden and Dawit.
Before everything changed, Eden and Dawit and their older brother came home from school most days to find Hellen intoxicated. She used drugs and alcohol daily in front of them. One day Hellen watched a Christian TV show and repented. She was delivered from all her addictions! 

But the entire family, who don’t trust Protestants, was very angry. Their dad was so angry, he left Hellen, Eden and Dawit, but took their oldest brother with him. He didn’t say goodbye or leave any money to support them.

They were in big trouble. Everyone in their town knew that their mother had become a follower of Christ, so no one wanted to give her work to do. This meant that there was no money. Some days they only had half an injera (flatbread) each to eat!

When Open Doors heard about their situation, your support enabled us to help. We assisted Hellen in starting a small business to provide for herself and the children, and we paid Eden and Dawit’s school fees. The uniforms they are wearing, in the above picture, come straight from your support.

“I thought we were about to die. Thank you for your support. God bless you! There is nothing but peace in my house now. God is blessing my income and I have never had such a treasure before. I cannot thank Him enough.”

Paul* is in his 40s. One day he was arrested for worshipping outside of the four government approved and recognised religious groups. He stayed in a remote prison for a decade. It was ten years of insufficient food, insufficient hygiene and insufficient medical care in very harsh conditions. All he had to do to get freedom was sign a form he regarded as a betrayal of his faith. He couldn’t do it.

Paul pictured praying.

Paul pictured praying.

Quite unexpectedly, he was recently released, and is now coming to terms with the cost of his imprisonment. His parents died, his family moved on and his peers have advanced in life. In it all Paul chooses to focus on the spiritual matters of life and knows He can trust God to care for him now, as He cared for him in prison – often through the help of Open Doors.

Pastor Zoundji*, in his 50s, cares for an Evangelical congregation of about 200 in the largest Internally Displaced People (IDP) camp in the Central African Republic (CAR). The site is in a town called Bria, smack bang in the middle of CAR, and hosts around 30,000 people, most of them Christians.

“We find ourselves between the devil and the deep blue sea,” Zoundji told Open Doors workers. Inside the camp, they struggle to stay full and clean and live productive lives. Outside the camp several different groups fight for territory. While neither the Muslims nor the Animist rebel groups want the Christians to advance the gospel there, Zoundji feels called to preach it, no matter what the cost.

Pastor Zoundji.

In all these circumstances, our brothers and sisters desperately need our prayers:

  • Pray that the Lord will strengthen their faith and give them a deep sense of peace and hope.
  • Pray that the Lord will provide in their physical and spiritual needs.
  • Pray that the Lord will use their testimony to bring others into a relationship with Him, and glorify Himself in their lives and in their churches.
  • Pray for Open Doors’ work across the world to glorify God and to be used of Him to strengthen and encourage the Church.

Click here to KEEP UPDATED on the latest news by subscribing to our FREE weekly newsletter.

Date published: 08/01/2020
Feature image: www.opendoors.org.za

JOY! News is a Christian news portal that shares pre-published articles by writers around the world. Each article is sourced and linked to the origin, and each article is credited with the author’s name. Although we do publish many articles that have been written in-house by JOY! journalists, we do not exclusively create our own content. Any views or opinions presented on this website are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company.