Stories

The Difference A Safe House Can Make For A Persecuted Christian

June 5, 2013 by Open Doors in

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“Merry Christmas from our home to yours”

As I have been receiving Christmas cards in the mail from family and friends, this is a phrase I have seen multiple times…a blessing of sorts from one household to another.

What if you could give the ultimate blessing to a persecuted family this year? What if your household provided a safe house for them this Christmas?

A Safe House can really change the lives of persecuted believers…. Believers like Gulshan* and Latifa* from Central Asia:

Without warning, Gulshan and Latifa found themselves caught in a dangerous storm of opposition from local police-all because they had accepted an invitation to a Christian woman’s home to drink tea with several women who were not believers.

When they accepted the invitation, they were unaware that the police had pressured this woman to invite them, in order to set a trap.

While they were drinking tea and chatting, the police arrived and forcibly searched the house. When they couldn’t find any incriminating materials, the officers left. However, a short while later, some other policemen appeared and started filming all the ladies.

Accusing the two Christian ladies of holding a religious meeting, the police took them into custody and escorted them to a police station, where they were put under pressure to sign a statement, admitting they were involved in “illegal missionary activities.”

When they refused to sign the paper, police detained them for six hours, mistreating them physically and psychologically. Gulshan was beaten so badly that she suffered a concussion. Only when their pastor intervened did the police let them go, so they could go to a doctor to have their injuries treated.

After learning that a court case had been filed against them on the false police charges, Gulshan and Latifa left their hometown and sought refuge in one of Open Doors’ Safe Houses in another region of the country. Despite police visits to their relatives, the authorities were unable to track down the whereabouts of the two Christians.

For a month, Gulshan and Latifa were able to escape the brunt of the storm, staying in the Safe House until the pressures abated. While they stayed in safety, the judge hearing the women’s case sentenced them to pay a fine equal to seven times the minimum monthly wage-more than a half year’s salary.

The Safe House was like a haven in the storm. The opportunity for Gulshan and Latifa to “catch their breath” and recover physically and emotionally, has helped equip them for the next steps in their spiritual journey.

“We were very happy to spend time away from all the turmoil,” the two believers said as they left the Safe House to return home. “We were able to learn more about spending time with God and being quiet before Him. To meet with other believers was a blessing to us, and really encouraged us.”

“And thank you so much for assisting us in paying these huge fines. You are a blessing!” the two women concluded.

This story really stood out to me- it is amazing what a difference a safe house can make in the lives of persecuted Christians. As we reflect on the ultimate gift that God gave us over 2000 years ago this Christmas, would you and your house consider providing a life changing gift- a Safe House for a persecuted Christian in need?  

Thank you for your faithful prayers and support this Christmas. Though we may not know the full impact our prayers and gifts will have, one day we will know…when we are all in our eternal safe home with our Savior!

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*Names have been changed for the protection of these persecuted believers.

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