It’s More Than a Story!
by Samantha Moats and Justin Dillenschneider
One thing I quickly became passionate about after I began working for Open Door Fortify is hearing stories of how God is teaching his people about each other and reconnecting the Body. Every story is as unique as the storyteller – and I love a good story. Here is one from our friend Justin in Mobile, Alabama:
“I first encountered Open Doors two years ago. I was in college and working with the youth group at my church. Three weeks in a row, Kate Yates the director of Open Doors Fortify, came and shared about how we could get involved in praying for the persecuted church. Each week, she told us about how people in areas of the world such as Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria were being persecuted for practicing their faith.
I grew up in the church and always heard about how people are persecuted for gathering to worship, prevented from praying or even from saying that they are Christian. Sometimes it is easy to forget that stories of persecution are much more than just a story; they are an everyday reality for many Christians across the world. Even seeing stories in the news about an extremist group that is located primarily in Northern Nigeria and ISIS can somehow seem distant and hard to imagine.
That is, until Kate came and spoke to us and showed me tangible ways that I can remember to pray for our brothers and sisters across the world. The One With Them wristband was and is the best reminder I have to pray for the persecuted church throughout my week. I also signed up for the Weekly Prayer Alerts. These updates provide me with the opportunity to pray specifically for people and places with relevant information and a better understanding for how to pray for our brothers and sisters.
Recently I began volunteering for Open Doors as an advocate, sharing testimonies of persecuted believers and giving out information so that others might begin to pray for the persecuted church as well. My prayers for the persecuted church have grown more informed over time, and I pray continuously that one day I might be able to travel to places like those on the World Watch List to encourage believers face to face, to tell them there are fellow believers around the world praying for them every day.”
Good story, right? But as Justin said: it’s more than just a story – this is reality! Prayer is a powerful, uniting gift – and God does incredible things for his people in very real ways as well call to him in prayer. How are you connecting with the reality of persecution today?