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Powerful photos of 2017 (Part 1)

By Mike Gore

Mike Gore, CEO of Open Doors Australia shares three of the most powerful images from 2017, and the incredible stories behind them. Here’s story one!

1. Samson, Central Asia

We had arrived at another registered, but very much under the radar, church in Central Asia. We met Samson, he looked like a wrestler – in his early 50’s but lean and strong. As we sat on the floor broke bread and sipped tea, Samson began to share his testimony.

This is – without a doubt – one of the craziest stories I’ve heard from my time at Open Doors.

One Sunday night they came at 2am to kill him.

Eight people with machine guns and knives. They said, “Come with us.” Samson could not see their faces as they were wearing black head coverings that only left their eyes visible.

Samson told his wife, “My friends have come and I’ll be back in the morning. When you hear my voice then open the door.”

Samson’s wife locked the door and Samson went with them. They took him to a garbage tip.

They said, “Today is the last day for you. Jesus is not a God he will not save you.”

The Mujahedeen came and grabbed his hair and pulled his head back placing a knife on his throat. They asked Samson, “What do you want to say?”

Samson replied, “Jesus loves you and I forgive you.”

They asked him, “Do you accept Islam?”

And he said, “No I’ve found the truth, the creator of earth, heaven and all mankind. People created religion. You [God] created holy work. Please reveal Your work to my brothers here, salvation, protection for their children, and let them know that my blood is not on their hands. Please bless their families and I forgive them. Amen.”

The Mujahideen (Islamic extremists) screamed at him, “Are you a fool? We want to kill you. And you are blessing our families! Go home, we will come again and take you.”

Two weeks later thirty people and two Mujahideen’s came back.

They said, “We want to talk! We are those that wanted to kill you.”

And Samson replied, “If you want to kill me now please give me five minutes. I have been working so much I didn’t get time to hug my children. I will not tell them you are going to kill me. I will come back.”

They said, “We are not going to kill you.”

The two Mujahideen standing at the front said the 30 men behind them were their army, “As the leaders we are the ones who kill our victims.”

They proceeded to tell Samson how 24 heads of the army would retreat to the hills during the day and come down at night into the town.

Recently 24 leaders came down from the mountains at night and walked into an ambush set up by the government.

The two leaders at the front of the group told how they laid on the ground with bullets flying over from all four sides. They couldn’t raise their heads or they would get shot.

One of the leaders said, “While we were lying there we saw you and you came to us and said, ‘Throw yourself into the water and you will survive,’ and the two of us jumped into the water and we survived. The 22 other leaders were killed.”

They asked Samson, “How did you manage to come to us? And why weren’t you shot?”

Samson replied, “I was not there but my God sent an angel who looked like me because I am his servant. He did it for you to come to me to tell you Jesus loves you, died for you and can give you salvation.”

The man said to Samson, “I will never fight again.” They threw open their arms and said to the soldiers, “This Christian speaks truth. I will accept Jesus.”

The Author
Mike is an all round legend and is also the CEO of Open Doors Australia. He features in a few vids that we've posted and as well as being a great story teller, is a known speaker, incredible leader and deeply passionate about seeing the church in the west stand alongside their persecuted family...

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