We’re now six weeks into the UK coronavirus lockdown, and we’re sure you’re really feeling the isolation and distance from your friends. And while we know the lockdown will end, this experience can help us understand a bit more of what life is like every day for secret believers around the world.
For them online communication is a vital lifeline – it is a means for people to hear the good news of Jesus in places where sharing the gospel is prohibited, and new believers can be discipled and trained online too.
Islèm*, in North Africa, was brought up in a Muslim family. As far as her father knows, she is still a Muslim. But this 22-year-old student is courageously following Jesus in secret – and she found out about Him online.
Islèm says: “My family still thinks that I am a Muslim. Only my mother knows that I am a Christian, and she accepts it. My father does not know anything about it.” The only times she has raised the topic of Christianity with her father, he has responded violently. “I thought that, if I said anything more, he would kill me,” she says. It’s too dangerous for Islèm to live her faith openly.
But this isn’t deterring Islèm: “Jesus is like oxygen, because without oxygen you cannot breathe. If Jesus were not in my life, I wouldn’t be here today, I would not be alive.”
Without that initial Facebook group that led Islèm to the answers she needed, she might still be waiting for an encounter with Jesus and the life she is receiving from Him. The Bible tells us ‘seek and you will find’ (Matthew 7:7) – in the 21st Century, seeking can increasingly mean searching on Facebook! There will always be a vital role played by face-to-face discipleship and evangelism, of course, and for smuggling physical Bibles to secret believers who can’t get them – but there is a vital place, particularly during this pandemic, for outreach that takes place on social media and elsewhere online.
To help you through this time of enforced social distancing and isolation, we’re releasing a series of new content every week. Were going to be looking at how the persecuted church can inspire us during this time of lockdown. Sign up for our weekly emails to get fresh videos, stories, reflections, prayers and actions – all of which you can do from home!
We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.