Recently, I became interested in the Middle Eastern countries. I have started doing some research, and have found out some interesting things. For example, there are only two ways to enter Saudi Arabia legally: 1)Obtain a visa to go on Hajj to Mecca as a Muslim or 2)be sponsored by a Saudi national. Usually, case number 2 applies if you are going there to visit or work.
I have done some other research, and other Mid-East countries are not much better. You have to get a visa. To get a visa, you must be sponsored. However, the major difference is that in the other countries, you can be sponsored by a hotel you are going to stay at.
Anyway, back to Saudi Arabia. There is no freedom of religion. This leads to stories like this (note the datelines…this MONTH!):
Massive Arrests of Foreign Christians in Saudi Arabia
Group: Saudis conduct worst crackdown on Christians in decade
Remember to pray for our Christian brothers and sisters in the Middle East.
Today, WorldNetDaily.com is reporting that a christian student painting an art mural is being told he cannot.
When Napa High School senior Kyle Trudelle began his art project – a mural depicting steps leading to a castle in the clouds – he didn't imagine some students would start a petition to stop him for violating the separation of church and state or school officials would order him to put down his brush while district lawyers reviewed the matter – particularly since there was already an adjacent mural depicting Our Lady of Guadalupe, an important religious figure to Catholics and the large portion of the student body of Mexican decent.
Kyle, I support you. Don't change the painting. Stand up for what you believe. Be bold!
Have you ever read Foxe's Book of Martyrs? Do you think that people were only martyred for their faith in "the olden days?" Well, think again. Persecution of Christians is alive and well in the world today.
Voice of the Martyrs is a group that helps the persecuted church. Here is a brief summary of the group from their website FAQ:
Pastor Richard Wurmbrand founded VOM over 30 years ago. He was in prison in Romania for 14 years for his faith in Christ. In the `60s he and his family were ransomed out of Romania for $10,000 and came to the U.S. where he began traveling, educating the free world of the atrocities committed against Christians in Communist and other restricted countries. VOM's five main purposes are based on Hebrews 13:3. They are: 1. To encourage and empower Christians to fulfill the Great Commission in areas of the world where they are persecuted for their involvement in propagating the gospel of Jesus Christ. We accomplish this by providing Bibles, literature, radio broadcasts, and other forms of aid. 2. To give relief to the families of Christian martyrs in these areas of the world. 3. To equip local Christians to win to Christ those persecutors who are opposed to the gospel in countries where believers are actively persecuted for their Christian witness. 4. To undertake projects of encouragement, helping believers rebuild their lives and Christian witness in countries that have formerly suffered Communist oppression. 5. To emphasize the fellowship of all believers by informing the world of atrocities committed against Christians and by remembering their courage and faith. Read our newsletter to learn more about how VOM is helping the persecuted church worldwide.
Ever wish you knew more to help those who are bein persecuted for their faith? Well, VOM has set up a website with a list of those people. You can access it here.