We all love a bit of good news, and the stories below are definitely worth celebrating. Check out the comments and quotes to see just how valuable your prayers, thoughts and letters can be for followers of Jesus around the world.
Hana came to know Jesus in North Korea after someone secretly gave her a Bible. God used Hana to convert many people, until she was exposed and had to leave her country and family behind. “People really question if God is at work in North Korea?” she asks. “Of course God is at work! Of course prayers help!”
“I am such a weak person. I hardly had any Bible knowledge, but God used me to explain the gospel to others. Sometimes, God sent me on the road. I clothed my six-month-old baby, fastened him on my back and walked for miles and miles – until I saw some stranger and I knew this was the person I needed to talk to. I said what I needed to say and went home. Do you think that would be possible without God?
“North Koreans do not come to faith because we convince them by our words. Of course we need to verbally explain the gospel, but more important is that we put the gospel on display. God’s Spirit really transformed me. I smiled all day, even though I lived in terrible circumstances. I shared my food, even though I had so little. People saw God’s Spirit at work in me. Please, tell your friends they need to continue to pray. God is answering their prayers.”
After the death of her husband, Abdi Welli, supporters around the world sent over 2,000 cards and letters to encourage his widow, Hellen and her three boys.
“I am praying better and actually feel even closer to Jesus,” she told the visiting worker. “Of course the pain and bitterness still come, but now God keeps reassuring me that Abdi did not die in vain and that He knows what He is doing…”
Hellen wrote the following message to thank all who have written and prayed for her:
The children and I are most grateful to you for taking the time to write us words of encouragement. We cherish every card. We read them with great appreciation and God uses the words you wrote to comfort us. We are getting courage to move on with our lives and our walk with God. Thanks for your prayers to God on our behalf. We see God’s protection every day. We pray that God will bless and meet your every need as you serve Him by ministering to those who grieve and hurt. God bless you!”
Tamirat was arrested following a disagreement with his Muslim roommate over money and imprisoned for allegedly desecrating the Quran. He was tricked into signing a false confession and sentenced to three years in jail.
In prison Tamirat felt forgotten. “For many months I didn’t know that Christians were praying for me.” He said. However, during one court appearance Tamirat saw several men in the public gallery bowing their heads and he knew they were Christians praying for him. For the first time in months, an indescribable joy came over him. The night before his release Tamirat had a dream in which, he said, “God told me that I would be released the following day.” Normally, prisoners are ordered to wash themselves and their clothes before being released. But Tamirat was instructed to leave the prison as quickly as possible, a year before his scheduled release date.
Isaac is part of an Open Doors team that ministers to persecuted Christians in Nigeria. Following a trip to Damaturu in November 2013 to visit three widows of pastors killed by Boko Haram, he sent us this report:
“One of the widows, Paulina Yahaya, told us: ‘You have taken a big risk to put a smile on my face, it is something that will live with me forever. I am touched and feel a joy that knows no bounds! For someone to risk his life to come and support me and my family is nothing but the pure love of Christ. The Lord will bless the ministry in the name of Jesus Christ.’
Isaac continued, “Soon after leaving we learnt that the house where we gathered was attacked. The owners narrowly escaped and had to relocate to Jos. The believers there are truly living in a very fearful situation.
“I am deeply thankful for God’s protection and am reminded once more that God hears the prayers of all those praying for us. Knowing that you are praying strengthens us to take the necessary risks to help the many persecuted Christians in Nigeria. God bless you all!”
We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.