Gideon spent time prison in Eritrea with a group of other believers because they were Christians. His story is harsh – he and his friends faced pressure to give up their faith in Jesus. This is some of his story, shared in his own words.
“The government representatives came up with a new idea to ask us to stop our faith and sign an agreement that we will not read the Bible – we will not pray and not have a meeting of more than two people. If we comply with that and will sign, they will release us from the prison. But I told them I will not. Because of the Holy Spirit’s assurance in me I was ready to face anything… I said ‘No, Christ is my life. As Paul said in the book of Ephesians that for me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.’
“They beat every part of my body… until I almost died. I was thinking of Jesus. What an honor for me to share his affiliation. I remember I said to myself inside, ‘Lord, please forgive them. They don’t know what they are doing to me, but I give you my soul to rest in your hand.’
I replied, ‘To me, the Word of God is life!”
“They took us to the prison again. After three months we had a Bible smuggled in without their knowledge. We tore the pages out of different Bible books and we distributed those to different cells.
“We chose four believers to take responsibility to do distribution of the parts of the Bible. I was one of those four chosen believers and it was my responsibility to coordinate all these things. Because there is no paper in the prison cells, I was using toilet paper to write verses of the Bible and send them to others. When the government agents searched our cell, they found all those verses I sent to the sisters. They asked ‘Who sent those papers, those verses?’ When they found it was me, they put me under severe torture for months. There was no part of my body without pain.
“One of the persecutors asked me a question. ‘Why you are paying so big a price? Why don’t you renounce your faith and live a peaceful life?’ I replied, ‘To me, the Word of God is life!”
Gideon’s faith and perseverance are incredible. Faced with beatings, imprisonment and pain, he chose to stick with Jesus no matter what. And under such pressure, Gideon knew how to keep his faith strong – by reading a smuggled Bible and writing out verses to encourage him and others. He knew that God’s Word is life and that it can bring hope and change the world.
Want to get inspired by persecuted Christians like Gideon and develop the same passion for the Bible? Get a copy of our awesome resource Hidden Word and spend 6 weeks undertaking memorisation challenges and learn verses and passages that have meaning to brave and courageous persecuted Christians. Hidden Word is perfect as a devotional you can do on your own, but also works brilliantly with groups too! And in buying a copy, you also send a Bible to a persecuted Christian. Amazing!
We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.