Resources for 2018

Never Forsaken

The Persecuted Church

By Nikki White

His forty-three years on the mission field saw the tragic death of six of his children, as well as his first wife. He lost his health, was crippled by a fall, and was rejected by his financial supporters because he adopted the ethnic garb of the local people and dared to deploy single women as missionaries. His life was threatened by those he sought to evangelize, and he was consistently criticized by his own mission agency.

Hudson Taylor had every reason to feel forsaken.

Yet, on September 4, 1869, at the age of thirty-seven, he wrote, “The Spirit of God revealed to me the truth of our oneness with Jesus as I had never know it before. . . I looked to Jesus and saw (and when I saw, oh, how joy flowed!) that He had said, ‘I will never leave thee.’”1

This promise sustained Hudson Taylor for another thirty-three years as he went on to found the China Inland Mission.

Our brothers and sisters across the globe are clinging to this promise daily. Some face hostility from animists who fear for the safety of their villages,

believing that Christians incur the wrath of neglected spirits. Others provoke the anger of Buddhists whose children, in choosing to follow Jesus, cannot be counted on to offer the sacrifices needed to secure a happy eternal state for their parents. In some regions, Christians are persecuted by angry, radical Islamists who condemn them for their false teachings about a divine Messiah and a triune God. Even tolerant Muslims still lash out against the global imposition of the self-indulgent consumerism they associate with Western Christianity. And here in North America, the Church is regularly shredded on Facebook by angry rants of perpetual social outrage.

God’s people face slander, mockery, loneliness, sickness, oppression, demonic opposition, injustice and violence. But never are we forsaken. Christ’s promise of oneness both beckons us in, and sends us out. In our oneness, his joy becomes ours, pressed down, shaken together and spilling over. Let us remember to surround our global family with our fervent prayers, to remind them frequently of our love and support and to embrace the oneness into which Jesus invites us.

“And lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” (Matthew 28:20, ASV).

1 Taylor, Dr. and Mrs. Howard (2013-05-25). Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret (p. 149). . Kindle Edition.

 

Stories

Black & White (NEW) Crossing the Street in Cauca (NEW)
Geronimo (NEW) Learning to Fight the Spirits (NEW)
In The Garden Walls
Still Smiling No Enemies
House Building, Peace Building Always Smiling
Eight in the Bathtub Watching
Remember Who We Are Imprisoned in Her Own Home
Pascal's Freedom in Chains Kalaam Sees God Smile
Facebook, Cafes and Bibles Overcoming with Kindness
Put off Fear, Put on Courage Plan B

 

Videos

The featured video for 2016 is "The Cost."

The Cost  
 

Discussion Questions for "The Cost"

  1. How would you define "courage"?
  2. In what ways do Pastor Kham's actions fit with your definition of courage? In what ways do they differ?
  3. Why might an Animist be afraid to convert to Christianity? How would you address these fears?
  4. Read Acts 25:7-12. In what ways do Pastor Kham's actions resemble those of Paul? Why or why not might it be a good idea to seek help from influential people?
  5. How will you pray for Pastor Kham's widow and children?

Prayer

As a part of our prayer focus, we want to encourage you to intercede for believers and workers in the following four regions.

North Africa

  1. Please pray for strength and perseverance for believers in North Africa who are being persecuted because of their faith in Christ;
  2. Pray for those new leaders rising up in restricted regions, and for new initiatives expanding their reach through social media and television.
  3. Pray for political stability and religious freedom in the countries of North Africa so that the church would be able to worship Jesus and serve others in peace.

Southeast Asia

  1. Please pray that the Gospel would be preached in South and Southeast Asia, and that people would have ample opportunity to respond to the call of Christ.
  2. Pray for the Holy Spirit to fall on those who are opposing the church, that their hearts would soften and they would come to a saving faith in Christ.
  3. Pray for new strategies for those workers whose visas have been revoked or denied.

Latin America

  1. Please pray for protection and perseverance for believers who are being persecuted because of their faith in Christ.
  2. Pray for political and religious freedom, that leaders in the government and in the church would not hinder what God is doing.
  3. Pray that God would call and equip men and women to courageously lead churches and boldly proclaim the Gospel in their communities.

Central Asia and Europe

  1. Pray for the church in Central Asia, that they would remain strong and keep growing despite opposition from government authorities, society and family.
  2. Pray that leadership training within the churches would be effective and that new leaders would be strong in the Scriptures.
  3. Pray that the Gospel would be preached across Central Asia, that people would be free to respond to Christ and that new believers would be discipled in their faith.
  4. Pray for the Church to respond to the refugee crisis with love, generosity and practical aid.

Additional Resources

 

Books

Sorrow & Blood: Christian Mission in Contexts of Suffering, Persecution, and Martyrdom by William D. Taylor, Antonia van der Meer, and Reg Reimer (World Evangelical Alliance Mission Commission, 2012).

Kingdom Without Borders: The Untold Story of Global Christianity by Miriam Adeney (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2009).

Faith That Endures: The Essential Guide to the Persecuted Church by R. Boyd-MacMillan (Grand Rapids, MI: Revell, 2006). 

The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer (New York, Macmilliam, 1976).

Websites

www.persecution.org
International Christian Concern
Your Bridge to the Persecuted Church

www.opendoors.org
Open Doors International
Serving persecuted Christians worldwide

www.persecution.com
The Voice of the Martyrs
A Global Perspective on the Persecution of God’s Children

www.idop.org
International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church