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  • Send a message of hope this Christmas!

    Daniela’s dad was shot and killed by powerful drug gangs. He was a pastor and he was helping people find freedom from their drug addictions and a new life with Jesus. The gangs didn’t like this, so they took his life. Could you send Daniela and young Christians like her a message of hope and encouragement this Christmas?

    Because of her family’s belief in Jesus, Daniela has lost her dad. This is tragic, especially at Christmas.

    Last year, when Daniela and her brother were struggling with the loss of their dad, Open Doors partners invited them to spend some time over Christmas at a special children’s centre and school. The family received an amazing welcome – Daniela said: “I was so surprised to see all of them, singing a welcome to us. It made me feel so good. I was really happy to be surrounded by so many loving people.” And Open Doors partners have helped the family move to a safer area, providing a new home and opportunities for them all to flourish.

    Daniela says: “It is very important to know that this Christmas there are people around the world praying for me and my family. I am very grateful for that, because I see that God works through these prayers.”

    Could you send a message of hope to Daniela and other children from the children’s centre?

    Download our Christmas decoration template, print it off and write a message to send to Daniela and other young people from the children’s centre.

    Download the template here…

    Message tips:

    • Keep it simple, write a short Bible passage, song lyric or prayer.
    • Let them know you are praying for them
    • Sign the message with your first name and which country you are from (UK or Ireland).
    • And please don’t mention Open Doors. 

    Want to write something in Spanish, or write to a specific child at the children’s centre? Check out the tips here…

    Where do I send the cards?
    Pop your card in an envelope and send it to us at
    PO Box 6
    Witney
    Oxon
    OX29 6WG

  • Write

    Use the power of post and write to a persecuted Christian to let them know you are standing with them and are praying with them…

  • Write to: Children in India

    Children in Christian families in India have faced increased bullying and violence in recent times. There is a strong feeling in the country, and from the government, that everybody should be Hindu. Sometimes their homes are attacked, or they may be thrown out of their villages. They may be denied access to water, education or government rations, because of their faith. When it’s this difficult to be a Christian, you need encouragement.

    Children who are not from Christian families also need encouragement. When it is discovered that they are attending church activities, their families start to object. “Christianity is considered a detestable religion in our village,” one young boy told us. He started to attend church secretly, but when his mother found out he was told off and beaten many times. This is not uncommon.

    Guidelines for emailed messages…

    This is a digital encouragement campaign so all messages will need to be sent to messagestoindia@opendoorsuk.org. Please don’t send physical drawings or messages as we won’t be able to send them. However, it means you can be more creative! Here are some suggestions for what you could send:

    • a photo of an object or image with a Bible verse
    • a photo of a hand-drawn self-portrait of a child
    • a short video with captions or audio message
    • a short audio message, e.g. children talking or singing.

    Security guidelines…

    • Do not mention Open Doors in any messages.
    • You can provide your first name, but don’t add anything else – do not provide your address.
    • Do not send money or make offers of help.
    • Do not mention anything to do with the news, religion, politics or government of India.

    Plus…

    • To avoid problems with permissions, please don’t send photos or videos that include children’s faces.
    • Please don’t use pre-recorded music as this will infringe copyright and performing rights laws.
    • Please don’t direct your messages towards any individual you have read about in Open Doors communications. Your message may be shared with different children in different settings, e.g., at events or meetings where persecuted Christians are gathered together.
    • Keep messages as simple and as personal as possible. Explain why you feel for people suffering for their faith in India. For instance, if you know what it’s like to be sad or worried, share how God has helped you at these times. Or take an idea from a Bible story or verse that means something to you.

  • Encourage young Christians in Algeria this Christmas…

    Send a Christmas message to youth from churches that have been forced to close…

    The Algerian government has been closing churches and investigating the activities of congregations over the last few months (like the one in the video above). The closures have specifically targeted a group of protestant churches – eight have been closed this year. Could you send a message to young Algerian Christians facing the prospect of Christmas with no church to celebrate in?

    We’re looking to send a bunch of digital messages over the Christmas period to let our family in Algeria know that they aren’t alone and that we are standing with them in prayer – a kind of digital Christmas card! Could you write a short note, something that could fit into a text or WhatsApp message that we could send to them? Maybe an encouraging Bible verse, prayer, song lyrics or some other encouraging words. Use the form on this page to submit your message, then we’ll get it translated and sent on in time for Christmas.

    Real-time WhatsApp message timeline…

    Some of the most recent churches were closed in October – and we heard directly from young Christians who were there when the police raided their services and forced them to leave their church. They kept us up to date via WhatsApp.

    Why are churches closing?

    There are various reasons. Most churches aren’t registered with the government – they need a license, and no licenses have been given in 13 years. The government says the churches and their pastors are spreading ‘destructive ideas’. It’s more likely that the churches are full of converts from Islam, and those people are seen as traitors. Those who convert can be hated, even by their own family, for going against Islam. There are even laws that mean you can get into trouble for ‘shaking the faith of a Muslim’, so Christians have to be careful when talking about their faith. Churches can exist, but they have to stick to the rules – those rules prohibit Bible studies, foreign preachers and Sunday schools, so you can see why many don’t stick to them!

    Send your message to Algerian teenagers here…

    • Write your message to our teenage friends in Algeria below. Please try and keep it short - no more than 100 words would be great... If you have trouble submitting the form, please email your message to youth@opendoorsuk.org...

      Thanks!
    • Your details

    • Date Format: MM slash DD slash YYYY
    • Want to hear more from Open Doors Youth?

  • Write to: Christians in prison in Iran

    Share an encouraging word with those that are going through hardship in prison or under investigation for their faith in Jesus!


    Images L-R: Victor, Ebrahim, Nasser and Shamiram

    Write to those in prison…

    Ebrahim Firouzi (31) was charged with ‘promoting Christian Zionism’ following his arrest in March 2013. He was tried at the Revolutionary Court in his hometown of Robat Karim, just to the south-west of Tehran, charged for conducting evangelism activities. He has been imprisoned since August 2013, and though he was due for release in 2015, he was kept back under new charges of ‘acting against national security, gathering and collusion’ and sentenced to a further five years in jail.

    Nasser-Navard Gol-Tapeh (57) is an Iranian convert to Christianity serving ten years in prison for ‘missionary activities’. He was first arrested in June 2016 alongside three Azerbaijanis following a raid on a wedding party. The four men were sentenced a year later, but the Azerbaijanis have not been forced to return to Iran to serve their sentences.
    Nasser lost his appeal against his sentence in November 2017 and was moved to Evin Prison in January. He recently wrote from prison, “I thank God in perfect joy and peace for considering me worthy to be here because of my faith in and witness to Jesus Christ.”

    Write to those on bail…

    Pastor Victor Bet-Tamraz was arrested with two members of his church in 2014 as they celebrated Christmas together. The government had already closed the Tehran Pentecostal Assyrian Church, which he led, in 2009. He was found guilty of ‘conducting evangelism’ and ‘illegal house-church activities’, among other charges, and given a ten-year prison sentence. His first appeal hearing was heard in June this year, but the court’s decision is awaited. He is on bail at the moment, and it is hard to be in a state of uncertainty, not knowing if he will be called to serve his prison term.

    Shamiram Isavi Khabizeh, the wife of Victor, is appealing against a five-year prison sentence for ‘acting against national security and against the regime by organising small groups, attending a seminary abroad and training church leaders and pastors to act as spies’. Shamiram is awaiting the results of her appeal, and is out on bail at the moment. Please pray that her appeal is heard and that she will be set free.

    Security guidelines for letter writing:

    • Be brief and encouraging
    • Please do not mention Open Doors in your letter or card
    • You may provide your name, but not your full address
    • Please do not criticise a country’s religion or religious extremists, its government, judicial system, or political leaders
    • Please do not use cards with images of animals on them as they are not culturally appropriate
    • Please do not send money or make proposals to help.

    Please send your letters/cards in one envelope to Open Doors UK & Ireland, PO Box 6, Witney OX29 6WG. Please note that this letter-writing campaign ends on 18 November 2019.

    Don’t know where to start?

    Here are some simple letter-writing guidelines to help you as you write – the following points are always good to bear in mind.

    I thought everyone had forgotten about me…

    In 2017, Maryam Naghash Zargaran from Iran was released after four years in prison. She recieved hundreds of letters and cards from Christians all around the world, and was finally able to read them after leaving prison.

    She says, “I thought everyone had forgotten about me when I was in prison… I want to thank everyone who prayed for me. I may never meet them in person, I might never be able to embrace them, but they are my family. I want to say a big thank you. I send you love and kisses. You are in my heart and so dear to me.”

  • Write to: Children in Sri Lanka

    Easter Sunday began as a happy morning in Zion Church, Batticaloa. The children in Sunday school ate breakfast together, then sang and celebrated Jesus’ resurrection. One of their teachers asked: “How many of you want to be witnesses for Christ?” Five or six children raised their hands and made their first prayer of commitment. A few minutes later, however, there was chaos as a bomb exploded in the church. Among the 29 believers who died, 14 of them were children.


    Image: The Sunday school at Zion Church

    In addition, 17 children were injured, as well as many more adults. In total, over a hundred children were in church that day. Those that weren’t physically hurt, lost friends and were traumatised by the event.

    Since then, Open Doors teams have been working to provide the church and bereaved families with long-term trauma care and counselling, and livelihood support. Sunday school teachers at Zion Church have also been faithfully supporting their children. Could you help by sending a message of encouragement to the children who were traumatised by the blast?

    Send messages to the children of Zion Church

    Messages will be delivered around Christmas time so they can be Christmas-themed.

    Please send letters and cards addressed to ‘Children of Zion Church’ to Open Doors UK, PO Box 6, Witney, OX29 6WG.

    Digital messages should be sent with the subject line ‘Children of Zion Church’ to: messagestosrilanka@opendoorsuk.org

    The closing date is 31 October 2019.

    Important guidelines

    • Do not mention Open Doors in any messages.
    • Do not include political, anti-Buddhist, or anti-Islam messages.
    • Please be sensitive to the children’s losses and avoid mentioning how good life is in your country.
    • Kindly avoid using your full name (first name will do) and do not include proposals or promises to help.
    • Many children in Zion Church may not understand English. Most of the believers in Zion Church use the Tamil language. If possible, please use Tamil phrases to make your message easy to understand.

    Tamil phrases for you to use…

    My name is
    En peyar

    I am praying for you
    Nan unkalukkaka jepikkirenṟēṉ

    God loves you
    Katavul unnai necikkirar

    You are in my prayers
    Ninkal en jepattil irukkirirkalḷ

    Stay strong!
    Valuvaka irunkalḷ

    Joshua 1:9 Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
    Yocuva 1:9 Palamakavum tairiyamakavum irunkal; payappatatirkal, kalankatirkal, enenral ninkal enku cenralum unkal tevanakiya karttar unkalutan irukkirar.

    A prayer for children in Sri Lanka

    Lord Jesus, please heal Your children. Take the painful memories away. Let them know that You are God and You have them safely in Your care. Amen.

    Where is Sri Lanka?

    Sri Lanka is an island country in the Indian Ocean, to the south east of Tamil Nadu in southern India.

    Send in your cards and messages…

    Please put all your letters and cards in one envelope and send to Open Doors UK, PO Box 6, Witney, OX29 6WG.

  • Write to: Abishek in India

    Abishek is a volunteer ‘first responder’ and local partner of Open Doors who goes to the aid of Christians when they’ve been attacked. After visiting the family of a man who was killed for his faith, he says: “Despite their sorrow, when I went to that family and I cried with them, I encouraged them, I motivated them, I comforted them from the Word of God. His wife was telling me, “Sir, thank you so much. Nobody has come like that and comforted us.” Watch this Prayer News video to find out more about Abishek’s work.

    Abishek’s line of work is tough – it would be really good if he could receive some encouragement.

    You can also send messages to other Open Doors volunteer partners who help in the same way – addressing them as ‘Dear brother’ or ‘Dear sister’.

    Using the guidelines below, please send your digital message to this address (we’re only accepting emailed messages for this campaign): messagestoindia@opendoorsuk.org

    Do

    • Send any messages, images, or recordings digitally to: messagestoindia@opendoorsuk.org
    • Looking for inspiration? You could send:
      a photo of an object or image with a Bible verse
      a photo of a hand-drawn self-portrait
      a short video with captions
      a short audio message, e.g. yourself or a group, talking or singing
    • Keep messages as simple and as personal as possible. Explain why you feel for people suffering for their faith in India. For instance, think of a time when you were sad or worried, and how God helped you at this time. Or take an idea from a Bible story or verse that means something to you.

    Don’t

    • Please don’t send physical drawings or messages as we won’t be able to pass them on – just use the email address above.
    • For security reasons, please don’t send photos or videos that include children’s faces. Instead, you could take photos of hands praying or heads from behind. Alternatively, hold up a sign with a message, e.g. ‘We’re praying for you’. Or use beautiful images from God’s creation.
    • Please don’t use pre-recorded music as this will infringe copyright and performing rights laws.
    • Please don’t direct your messages towards any individual you have read about in Open Doors communications. These messages are intended to be shared more than once in different settings, e.g. at events or meetings where persecuted Christians are gathered together.

    Most importantly…

    • Do not mention Open Doors in any messages
    • First name only, please – don’t include your surname or address
    • Do not send money or make offers of help
    • Do not mention anything to do with the news, religion, politics or government of India.


    Thank you!

  • Write to: Leah’s parents

    In February last year, over 100 girls were taken from their school in Dapchi, Nigeria, by Boko Haram militants. A month later, all of the girls except one were returned; the remaining girl, 15-year-old Leah Sharibu, is the only Christian, and is still being held captive because she will not renounce her faith in Christ.

    She was taken because she was a girl – and she remains captive because she is a Christian. Leah’s story represents the plight of many Christian women around the world who are doubly vulnerable because of their gender as well as their faith.

    Leah asked her friends to pass on a message to her mother, Rebecca: “My mother you should not be disturbed… My God, whom we have been praying to with you, is showing Himself mighty in my trying moment… I am confident that one day I shall see your face again. If not here, then there at the bosom of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

    Natha Sharibu, Leah’s father, is stunned by his daughter’s spiritual strength. “The confidence and faith of my daughter in the face of death in the hands of Boko Haram, to say she will never denounce Christ, made me realise that I had been living with a strong follower of Christ in my house… I am a proud father and call on her to remain faithful to God… Hold onto Christ, Leah. You are a heroine of faith.”

    Could you send a message of encouragement to Natha and Rebecca Sharibu to strengthen them in their faith as they pray for the safe return of Leah?

    Please keep your message(s) to a maximum of 100 words, and email them to writetodapchi@opendoorsuk.org.

    Pray now…

    • Praise God for Leah’s strong faith and her inspiring testimony
    • Pray that she would know God’s all-sufficient grace to her in captivity, and that every effort would be made by those in power to secure her release
    • Ask for God’s peace and comfort to surround Leah’s family and friends as they wait for news
    • Please also remember in your prayers the Chibok girls who remain in captivity.


  • Write to: Gyang

    Gyang Adamu is a 27-year-old student from Foron village in the Barkin Ladi area near Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria. His family – his mother and father, and all three of his brothers – were killed in a vicious attack by Fulani herdsmen in August 2018.

    Please write to encourage Gyang in his time of grief.

    He says, “My whole family has been wiped from the face of the earth for no reason at all. So many thoughts are going through my mind. Why did God allow the Fulani to kill my family? Why did God allow me to go back to school before the attack? How will I continue life? Where will I start?”

    Open Doors is supporting Gyang through trauma care and helping him to complete his studies. “I know that this will make my father proud,” Gyang says. “The last thing he told me before I left for university was, ‘Gyang, make sure you study hard and make me proud.’ I jokingly answered, ‘Daddy, that’s why I am in school – to make you proud.’

    Will you write an encouraging letter or card to let Gyang know that he is not alone?

    Please note that this campaign ends on the 29 June 2019.

    Don’t know where to start?

    Here are some simple letter-writing guidelines to help you as you write – the following points are always good to bear in mind.

    • Greeting cards, children’s artwork, and postcards are best
    • Write in simple English and keep your letter brief
    • Be encouraging and include one or two Bible verses.

    Please put all your letters and cards in one envelope and send to Open Doors UK, PO Box 6, Witney, OX29 6WG.

  • Write to: Marta

    When Marta from Ethiopia was very young, her family agreed to give her to the local witchdoctor as a servant and wife. During this time, she faced a lot of abuse. Her future looked bleak, but a family member took every opportunity to tell her about God’s love and she decided to become a Christian.

    At first, she followed Christ in secret, but when she was in her mid-teens, she left the house of the witchdoctor and told her family she was now a believer. She kept sharing her faith with them, and through her testimony and other circumstances, everyone except her father came to faith in Christ.

    Open Doors ran a youth event, where Marta and one of her brothers had the opportunity to meet other persecuted youths from Ethiopia, and spend time with visitors from abroad studying the Bible, being encouraged in their faith, and in informal fellowship.

    A local Open Doors worker said after the event: “It was heart-warming to see how much Marta enjoyed her time with the other persecuted youths. She was so happy to get to know others and spend time with the foreign visitors, even despite the language barrier. During the time they were together she expressed her joy freely. But there is still a long road ahead of her, and she needs our prayer.”

    Life is still not easy for Marta, but God has been faithful to her. However, her journey to recovery from the darkness experienced in the house of the witchdoctor is only just starting now, and she is in need of prayer and encouragement. Could you send her a card or letter to strengthen her in her walk with Jesus – and give her hope?

    Please note that this letter-writing campaign closes on 31 March 2019.

    Don’t know where to start?

    Here are some simple letter-writing guidelines to help you as you write – the following points are always good to bear in mind.

    • Greeting cards, children’s artwork, and postcards are best
    • Write in simple English and keep your letter brief
    • Be encouraging and include one or two Bible verses.

    Please put all your letters and cards in one envelope and send to Open Doors UK, PO Box 6, Witney, OX29 6WG.

  • We support people who are beaten, tortured,
    imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.