At Easter we remember how Jesus, the son of God, was rejected by friends, followers, leaders and authorities. It’s part and parcel of the gospel message – God shows love even in the face of hatred and scorn. And at this time of the year it’s important to remember that rejection is something that persecuted Christians know only too well.
Christians just like Nung*. He is from Laos in East Asia. In Laos, Christians are accustomed to loss. They are often driven out of their villages because of their beliefs.
A year ago Nung and his family were forced out of their home, losing their farmland and all they had worked for because they refused to reject Jesus.
Nung became a Christian when he was miraculously healed from sickness. After this, his family became Christians and he went from village to village, telling people about Jesus.
He was warned about this. “They told us if we continued to share the gospel and many people became Christians, they would kick us out of the village. They came to warn us five times.”
Then, Nung and his parents were given an ultimatum. “They gave us three options. First, we should get out if we chose to be Christian. Second, if we wanted to stay we should come back to the H’mong religion, and third, if we don’t choose anything, they’d just put us in jail.”
“They told us if we continued to share the gospel and many people became Christians, they would kick us out of the village.”
Nung refused to cooperate. At first he was thrown into jail. Then, he and his parents were thrown out of their village.
He has since been trying to find another village in which to live. He has applied to 22 villages – all of which have rejected him and refused him permission to live in their community. In the meantime, his father died, two months after he was imprisoned.
“I was devastated,” Nung says, “But only for a short while. I was sad because I lost many things. We lost our farm and our possessions, but I am proud and happy that I went to see 22 villages and had the chance to tell them that I believe Jesus. When I asked them to receive me, they also heard about God. And though they refused, there is peace in my heart because they heard about Jesus.”
We need to remember the rejection that Easter begins with. And there is death. There is suffering. There is pain. There is loneliness, and fear, and defeat. But that isn’t it. As Nung knows, there is also resurrection. There is darkness, but there will be light. There is Good Friday, but there is also Easter Morning.
We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.