Persecution and Ministry
“But if you suffer because you are a ‘Christ-follower,’ don’t be ashamed. You should praise God for that name.” 1 Peter 4:16 ERV
“I was arrested and taken to a cell. I was interrogated, tortured, and raped,” Lilly says—because of her faith in Jesus Christ. She is a young woman living in the Middle East, raised in a Muslim family. But she began to doubt the violence and terror around her. So she asked a friend—who is a Christian—if she could have a Bible to read for herself.
She read this Bible in secret and as she read, she became convinced, “one night I knew—Jesus is Lord.” When her family discovered the Bible, they had Lilly arrested, “and my father told the police I was an infidel,” she recalls. When released, she was ordered to stop talking about Christian faith. “But I still talk about my Jesus,” Lilly says, “and I need help because I run out of Bibles.”
But her name is not Lilly—we had to change that to share her story with you. She was persecuted for her faith in Jesus Christ in a region where opposition to the Gospel is a constant threat. But she won’t be stopped—she’s faithfully sharing Bibles along with her help to anyone she encounters. She is unapologetically bold in the face of persecution, and she needs our prayers and our help.
Bible League International serves under-resourced churches in areas where persecution is growing at an alarming rate—in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. As waves of violence sweep across countries, believers suffer personal hardships, violence, and retaliation because of their faith in Jesus Christ.
- Overt and open opposition in countries that make it a crime to embrace faith in Jesus Christ, carry a Bible in public, imprison Christian leaders, and intimidate those who meet for Bible studies.
- Acts of terror target churches and Christian gatherings, forcing believers to meet secretly, constantly changing the times and places of worship and Bible study to avoid violence.
- Forced or coerced reconversion of new believers takes place daily in India—offering money or access to schooling for their children if only they will renounce their faith in Jesus Christ.
- Believers and their communities are marginalized and punished for allowing Bible studies and conversions in Malaysia—cutting off electricity and denying them clean water.
I just returned from a visit to an area known for its persecution of believers. In one of the poorest neighborhoods I’ve ever seen, we carefully tried to discover the location of the church—rolling down our windows and asking people on the street, “Where is the church?” Many ignored us, and others would only send us in a certain direction.
The buildings don’t have numbers, and the church has no sign or cross to betray its location, but inside we found a Bible-based Literacy class filled with women and children. This class is led by a believer who volunteers several days a week to help these women. We asked her why these women wanted to learn and she said, “Every one of them said they wanted to be able to read the Bible, and hopefully they could help their children and teach them what they read from the Bible.” You see, this is their one hope of learning to read in an area that routinely denies schooling to them because of prejudice and often persecutes those who dare to share God’s Word with others.
When we left, we prayed with the instructor and thanked her for her ministry. And, I promised the Lord that I would tell you about this class and the importance of equipping under-resourced churches as many face persecution because of their faith in Jesus Christ.