When we see the news or read about what is going on across the world, we are almost used to the shock and horror of it all. This can also be true when we hear of the levels of persecution of Christians around the world. But there are things going on that make you realise just how dark and deep this goes.
Here are some elements of suffering that our Christian family are facing that are hard to believe. Sadly, these things are going on today, right now, and will be happening tomorrow.
Prayer meeting in an Egyptian church…
Think about the last time you prayed with somebody. You probably just leant over and suggested, “Shall we pray?” or nodded as they asked you. At no point did you have to check whether anyone else was listening. At no point did you have to leave the coffee shop you were in, the home you were in, the classroom you were in. In Egypt this is not the case.
In June this year, an angry mob of Muslims attacked an unfinished building in the village of Baidaa in Egypt because Christians were praying there when it wasn’t licensed as a church. Hundreds of people attacked, destroying the priest’s car and stoning houses of Christians, shouting, “We don’t want a church, we will knock down the church building, and Egypt is an Islamic country.” Five Christians were detained under charges of prayer in an unlicensed building.
An old North Korean Bible…
In North Korea, the government is obsessed with control and are fearful that any non-approved media will poison people’s minds against the authoritarian regime. Therefore, all non-North Korean music, films, books, magazines, newspapers, TV programs, video games and all internet is strictly banned. That means that if you were North Korean, you would never have even heard of Adele, Coldplay, Doctor Who, Made in Chelsea, Star Wars, Google or even the Bible!
Unbelievably, those who are caught smuggling anything in illegally, including any Christian material, are imprisoned under hideous conditions in a labour camp or publically executed.
A Nigerian boy in a church meeting…
Some people love their names, others hate them and many are just used to them. But it is undeniable, they are a part of us, they are how we are identified as ‘us’.
Many Christians in Northern Nigeria, have to adopt Hausa names (Hausa is the dominant culture that is greatly influenced by Islam), not because they want to, but to avoid being immediately identified as a Christian. If you have a Christian name in these regions, you are immediately marginalised, discriminated against or even kidnapped, with the aim to then being converted to Islam while being held hostage.
It is amazing to think how different our lives are to those who believe what we believe elsewhere in the world. We are so blessed in the UK, to be safe and free to worship God in prayer, unlike our Egyptian brothers and sisters. We are able to discover and learn about the world, unlike our North Korean family and we are able to be called by our own name, without fear or persecution, unlike our brothers and sisters in Nigeria. However, just because these things aren’t happening here in front of us, it doesn’t mean they are not happening.
We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.