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News / Thoughts

Brunei: Choosing Jesus over love

September 1, 2020

Going against the grain and standing your ground in your faith can be wearying – especially if the pressure to change and follow the crowd is coming at you from all directions. For 25-year-old Elora*, a Christian from Sharia-governed Brunei, this pressure – to renounce Christ and turn to Islam – has been rising since her schooldays. But her faith in God has won out over the years and become stronger.

As the only Christian in her school, Elora was constantly bombarded with questions from both her fellow students and her teachers. “Why do you want to be a Christian? Why is being a Christian so important to you?” But even then, Elora was resilient – thanks to the firm foundation she received from her parents and her church.

At university, she got into a relationship with a Muslim man; after wrestling with God over the relationship for a year, she eventually broke it off – she knew if the relationship was going to end in marriage then she’d legally have to convert to Islam. Instead, she chose Jesus. “So many tears were shed in that year,” she said. “But that year was the year I truly encountered the love of Christ.”

What is Brunei like for Christians?

In Brunei, which is number 37 on the Open Doors World Watch List, conversion from Islam is illegal, and Christians from Muslim backgrounds come under intense pressure to return to their original faith. Sharia (Islamic law) was fully implemented in the country in April 2019; under these laws, sharing the good news of Jesus with anyone outside of a church is completely forbidden. The sultan, who is seen as the protector and defender of the Muslim faith, has the power to close any existing church at any time.

Since the introduction of Sharia, Elora has noticed the passionate faith of her Christian friends cool out of fear:

“Believers are not willing to take risks,” she says. “Parents choose not to send their children to public church events either. Some of my friends have even said that they don’t see a place for themselves in the church anymore.”

One church pastor in Brunei sadly told us that if the church cannot share the gospel, Christianity will die within one generation. But the faith, hope and love of Christ are not easily extinguished.

There is still hope. The Lord can do all things, and no purpose of His can be thwarted (Job 42:2). Standing firm on Christ’s foundation may not look or feel the safest place to be – but it is the only ground which will not topple or crumble when the waves of oppression and opposition come against us.

Elora currently serves the young adults in her local church. She is passionate about teaching them to listen to the Holy Spirit and treat everyone with kindness. “My heart beats faster when it comes to Brunei,” she says. “There is a burden I can’t explain. Pray for the salvation of the people of Brunei. Pray for the sultan, the governments and authorities of this country as well. Please pray that the glory of God will shine in Brunei.”

Pray now…

  • For Elora. Ask God to give her boldness, courage and new faith that God would move in Brunei.
  • For the church in Brunei. That it would find ways to share Jesus, stay strong and be a light to the people of Brunei.
  • For Brunei and its leaders. Pray for tolerance and a change in laws so Christians can worship freely.

Learn from the Secret Church

Inspired by Elora’s story? Want to grow deeper in your faith? DWant to connect with the persecuted church around the world? Download our Secret Church resource, where you can experience something of the underground church in your own home, with exciting activities and session plans designed for youth and small groups…

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