Interesting Article on Persecution

I was looking at the IMB's website a few days ago and ran across two articles I thought were interesting.  The first is entitled "Should we pray for God to lift persecution?"

He told her about 40 people gathered in the remote bush outside a village. They all sat on mats in the hot, African sun to sing worship songs and share testimonies.

Suddenly the local authorities arrived.

Many scattered. About 14 bold believers stayed behind and said they wouldn't stop praising the Lord. All 14 were detained, including Abdul.

"I didn't fight them," Abdul said. "I've been having this problem for a long time. They don't need a reason to detain me. They say I disgrace the Fulani."

From the jail, he called Malone, but not because she would bail him out. He just longed for soothing words of encouragement from his Fulani "madujo," or mother.

That encouragement is the best thing Malone can offer when her Fulani "children" face persecution. She hates to watch them face the cruel and tragic treatment, but she knows God uses it to draw others to Him.

"I can't think of any instance in my experience where persecution has caused someone to turn back from the faith," she said. "In fact, it more often has the opposite effect."

She once asked a new Fulani believer why he wanted to become a Christian after watching his friends get beaten.

"That's why I think Christianity must be the true way," he replied. "No one would be willing to go through that suffering for a lie!"

The next article is Beyond the bookshelves:  Librarian guides underground worship movement:

For more than 20 years, Malone has been sorting books and helping the students at a seminary in West Africa research their assignments. But her after-hours gig involves a bit more risk.

That's when Fulani believers come to her house seeking guidance with their underground worship communities – which are popping up everywhere despite harsh, new Muslim laws assigning the death penalty to Christian converts.

With Malone's guidance, those few Fulani started taking the Gospel to their own people. A few converts became a few more.

Then, the region erupted in riots. People of different religions and ethnic groups clashed over the government's installation of Islamic regulations, called Shari'ah law. Many were slain. Rioters burned the pastor school to the ground, along with churches and many homes of the Fulani converts.

Malone remembers her thoughts as she returned to her library to find all the books still smoldering, charred beyond use.

"I used to feel guilty about doing this ministry when my job was to be a librarian," she said. "After that, I changed my way of thinking. I realized books are temporary. It's the people that last."

But the new religious tension forced some changes in the Fulani ministry.

"We've had to go more undercover," Malone said.

She can't visit the new Fulani believers at their homes anymore. Some of them lost children when their grass and stick homes were torched. Others have been detained without reason.

"If she visits them, they are going to have more problems with their neighbors and the Muslim brothers," Abdul explains.

So Abdul and his Fulani brothers launched their own evangelism plan, forming a structure for their worship communities. Small groups gather in homes for worship and Bible study. Sometimes larger groups assemble, but spontaneously, and not in the same place twice.

We need to remember to pray for our brothers and sisters around the world who suffer for the cause of Christ.  But should we pray for God to lift persecution?  I think the answer is a clear NO.  Look at what happened here in America with no persecution.  The church became soft, ineffective, and full of apostacy.

Instead, we should pray for God to be glorified, people to be saved, and witness of the believers.  We should pray that God would let them know people are praying for them.  Pray that God would give them strength and boldness.  Pray that He be glorified through the situation.

You can also write letters to those in prison for Christ around the world.  Voice of the Martyrs has an excellent program where you can find out about those who are jailed around the world for their Christian beliefs.



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