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Thursday, December 06, 2007

Please pray for the persecuted Believers

Over the past year, I have become increasingly aware of the persecution of fellow believers all over the world. This has become more and more of a burden for me. As a family, we are doing a very, very small amount by sending five or so bibles a month into closed countries to believers that would otherwise not be able to have the Word of God. But this is such a small gift. Every month we get the Voice of the Martyrs magazine here at our house. One of my grandfather's aids and I both eagerly read it every time it comes. It really puts us to shame at how easy we have it and how little we treasure this faith that our God has given us. Our Savior died that we might be free. And today as you read this others are dying that they might know Him and others around them might know Him. We all know people that are out there today loving our Lord in hard places. Let's lift them up to Him....Here are some exerts from the latest Voice of the Martyrs magazine about Iraq...."By the years end, approximately 1,000 American troops will have lost their lives this year in Iraq. We at VOM honor their service and grieve with their families. But U.S. servicemen and women are not alone in their sacrifice. Each day our Iraqi brothes and sisters in Christ pay the ultimate price for their faith. Thousands have perished and tens of thousands have fled the country because of threats and acts of violence against them. The persecution of believers intensified in 2007, and the year was perhaps the worst experienced by Christians since the start of the Iraq war nearly five years ago.Yet, here is a report from 'Fahad', one of our Christian contacts: "We are stilli n Baghdad. Nobody has left. WE feel like we are called to continue. We will not leave. Danger is escalating. We are in a worse situation. Because of this, pastors are starting to get together to pray. They never met before. One brother visited almost all the churches in Baghdad and encouraged them ot have a weekly morning prayer meeting for Iraq. Now, about five or six denominations are gathering every Tuesday morning.In distributing Bibles, we use the small vehicle because a big one would be checked. We would be asked about these boxes.When we go to the North, we hand out Christian CDs, along with the books and Bibles. Our printer asks for 35 cents extra per book, as it is getting more dangerous now. It is harder to print Christian books, but he is still printing them. The book, The Triumpant Chruch, is useful, and the Christians are asking for thousands of copies. We have two or three different books in the print shop these days. We leave at 5:00am in the morning. This is a time that is usually calm. During the day it is so crowded, and durin the night nobody can move because they do not allow trucks and vans to go on the highway. We to to Abriel, about 280 miles from Baghdad, and the same distance from Baghdad's to Basra and also to Mosul.The Bibles and other books are delievered to pastors and their contacts. Once, a brother was going to another believer's house and had to take a left turn. Some men stood in front of his car. THey opened the door and pulled him outside and put a gun to his head. One of the guys said, "Shoot him, shoot him." The one who had the gun pushed him down to the curb and the three men got in the van and drove away [VOM bought him a new car.]One in our group takes his wife and his child. He tells his child at every checkpoint to say 'Hi' to the soldiers and try to talk to them. They boy is four years old. He rolls down the window and talks to them. The soliders start to laugh and just say, 'go, go'. Not even one checkpoint asked him for his passport or for his ID.We avoid having big churches because we would be targeted by every Muslim group. We are free to have more houses dedicated to the minitry since Sadaam Hussein was captured. Our group was discussing that they had too many people coming to their service in one place. In the house churches, we baptize by using a sealed shower curtain to line our homemade tank. We use heat and melt it together. We eat beans, vegetables, and hummus together in the safe house. We have only one safe house that we pay rent for, but we have relations with five more of them.The generator to provide our electricity is still doing great. The first old one blew up all over the yeard. This new, big one VOM purchased has been running almost four years. We depend on it all day long.Our contacts in Mosul (Nineveh) are still meetin gin their house. They use their house as a safe house for Muslim converts, literature, and for a meetin ghouse. They wish to tell everyone thank you for what you do for us. The adult children of the evangelist up there still go out and distribute Christian books and Bibles. We thank God for our freedom and we thank God for building up the churches. Our churches are growing despite all the persecution and the pressure that we have. The main thing we need is prayer, Bibles and Christian literature. This will build up our faith. Since, for now, nobody can come into the country, we are asking you to send more Bibles and CDs. We will use them until God will change things and we can see some of the pastors and leaders come to Iraq."Please keep these in your prayers.

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