This last week I have really felt a burden for the persecuted church around the world. I think God began working this in my heart during our study of Saudi Arabia and Islam. This unit was not my favorite as I mentioned in an earlier blog, but I had trouble putting my finger on exactly why that was. I think part of it had to do with the books I read (ones the kids did not read) regarding Saudi Arabia. This closed, barren, oppressive country held absolutely no appeal for me. I felt the darkness of the Muslim world and was convinced there could not be a believer in the entire country of Saudi Arabia. About this same time, Caleb was just finishing up a book called The Calling by Brother Andrew. It is basically his "sequel" to his classic book, God's Smuggler. Caleb said, "Mom you have got to read this book." I hadn't even gotten past the first chapter and I was already convicted in my earlier views of Saudi Arabia. Brother Andrew points out that during the time of God's Smuggler the world was divided into two spheres: communism and the free world. Now the main adversary/barrier to the gospel is oppressive governments like we find in the Muslim world. If you read Brother Andrew's books you will note that one of his main goals is to seek out the struggling church and the brothers and sisters in these countries even just to let them know they are not forgotten. He says even if you think there is no way there could be a believer or a church in that country, there more than likely is and it is suffering. I couldn't push Saudi Arabia out of my mind anymore. Now I had my eyes opened to the fact that Christians were struggling in that oppressive country, probably all alone. I found myself more committed to praying for them.
A few nights later at the seminary wives meeting when I asked for prayer requests we were told that Siama's (a seminary student) mother and siblings had fled Myanmar (Burma) to New Delhi. They were being persecuted for their faith and feared for their life so fled to a U.N. refugee camp in India.
The following day we received an email from Anteneh a seminary student from Ethiopia. His email read:
I would like to ask prayer for Western Part of Ethiopia, Many Christians are suffering with persecution of and more than 50 churches are destroyed in the last six days.
The boys and I went to the Open Doors website just to check out what they had to say about these two countries. The list of the 50 countries where Christians are most oppressed was most enlightening. We were also able to see a short video clip of an interview the Christian Pakistan government minister Bhatti gave shortly before he was assassinated last week. I was so convicted of my "safe" life and my lack of concern for other Christians around the world. As we study these countries, cultures, religions and missionaries in our homeschool curriculum these current event situations become more real since we have a better understanding of the circumstances in which they occur. Knowing seminary students for whom oppression is reality has also increased our awareness. Knowledge has helped to take away our apathy.
So, I have committed to pray more regularly for my brothers and sisters in Christ around the globe. This blog post is something I can do for them since someone else might also be led to pray for them...