Brave Christians Facing Unprecedented Persecution;   Need Support, Prayers

International Day of Prayer for Persecuted Church Nov. 3

SANTA ANA, CA (Oct. 29, 2013) – “If I would go to Iraq today bringing 350,000 visas to go abroad – one for every Christian in Iraq – 300,000 of them would take them. I have seen many Christians fleeing to northern Iraq and from there they try to go abroad. But to go abroad you need money, a visa and the right connections. Not everyone has that.”

Those words from a veteran field worker in the Middle East reflect the deteriorating conditions for believers in countries such as Iraq, Syria and Egypt. Due to intentional and systematic persecution of Christians in the Middle East and North Africa, the number of believers living in those countries makes up only 4 percent of the inhabitants, compared with 20 percent a century ago. The area is now 93 percent Muslim. Christianity in the Middle East is near extinction.

But there is a powerful way Christians in the West can show their support for the millions of persecuted Christians in the Middle East and around the world – prayer. Millions of Christians will be gathering in churches, small groups and homes this Sunday for the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP). IDOP began in 1996 and today is one of the largest prayer events in the world.

The top 10 persecutors of Christians on the Open Doors 2013 World Watch List include North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Maldives, Mali, Iran, Yemen and Eritrea.

To download Open Doors USA IDOP materials, go to www.OpenDoorsUSA.org or www.OneWithThem.com. To order by telephone, call 888-5-BIBLE-5 (888-524-2535).

To set up an interview on IDOP, contact Jerry Dykstra at 616-915-4117 or email jerryd@odusa.org.

For almost 60 years Open Doors has worked in the world's most oppressive and restrictive countries, strengthening Christians to stand strong in the face of persecution and equipping them to shine Christ's light in these places. Open Doors empowers persecuted Christians by supplying Bibles and Christian literature, training Christian leaders, facilitating social/economic projects and uniting believers in the West in prayer for Christians, who are the most persecuted religious group in the world and are oppressed in at least 60 countries. To partner with Open Doors USA, call toll free at 888-5-BIBLE-5 (888-524-2535) or go to our website at www.OpenDoorsUSA.org.

(For more information or to set up an interview, contact Open Doors USA Media Relations Director Jerry Dykstra at 616-915-4117 or email JerryD@odusa.org.)