The Olympics are over—but our prayers can’t be

February 22, 2022 by Tim Dustin in Persecution updates

The Olympics are over and the rallying cries have faded, but has anything changed?

There has been victorious elation, heartbreaking loss and heated debate—both in and out of the competitive venues. Medals have been awarded, anthems sung and planes boarded for home, leaving the slopes empty and stadiums vacant. The 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing have come to a close.

Controversy surrounded the Olympics before they even began. Entire countries decided to diplomatically boycott the Games (the U.S. included) because of China’s outstanding human rights violations. Groups united and protested. Across America, instead of watching and supporting, TVs were kept off, giving the Olympics some of its lowest viewer ratings in history.

But now what? The rallying cries have faded. After all of that, has anything changed?

This early, it’s hard to gauge if the boycotts, protests and low ratings will have any lasting effect. More than anything, we hope and pray the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) will have heard the public outcry and disdain and act accordingly, but only time will tell.

What remains the same

We don’t know what will change, but as of right now, we know what remains the same:

China still has a government that has a history of using force and pressure to achieve its agenda. Right now, that means squelching anything outside of what it interprets to be in the best interest of the nation, including religions like Christianity.

To enforce their ideals, the CCP’s surveillance is among the most oppressive and sophisticated in the world; church attendance is rigorously monitored. There are more security cameras than any other country in the world, and the technological advancements made by China has played into ongoing monitoring. There have even been times when the government has promised money to those who report any “illegal” Christian gatherings.

However, China’s human rights violations continue to go beyond their treatment of Christians. Uyghurs are a native people in China’s northwestern region. Although China is predominately a mish-mash of atheism and traditional faiths, the Uyghurs are traditionally Muslims, which automatically tags them as a threat to the CCP. Over 1 million Uyghurs are currently incarcerated in “re-education” camps. In these camps, Uyghurs have been jailed, and there have been reports of rape, violence, sterilization, torture and even forced organ harvesting—all at the hands of the government.

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More than just China

But it goes beyond China. Athletes who proudly represented their nations are returning to countries where being a Christian means isolation, persecution and violence:

In Pakistan, Christians are considered second-class citizens, and the country’s infamous blasphemy laws continue to be leveraged to accuse non-Muslims (or minority Muslim sects) of insulting the Prophet Muhammad or the Quran; even a false accusation can lead to mob violence and worse.

In Iran, being a Muslim convert can mean having your house raided and being arrested, prosecuted and given a long prison sentence for “crimes against national security.”

In India, Hindu extremists aim to cleanse the country of Christian presence and influence. This leads to a systemic—and often violent and carefully orchestrated—targeting of Christians and other religious minorities.

In Nigeria, persecution is at its most violent. In much of northern Nigeria, Christians live their lives under the constant threat of attack from Boko Haram, the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), Fulani militants and criminals who kidnap and murder with few consequences. Last year, more than 4,650 Christians were killed in Nigeria alone.

In Saudi Arabia, most Christians come from other countries to work; because of that, foreign Christians are heavily restricted from sharing their faith or gathering for worship, and any actions outside of the norm can lead to detention and deportation.

In Morocco, Article 220 of their penal code criminalizes “shaking the faith of a Muslim.” This law puts many Christians (both Moroccan and foreign) who share their faith with others at risk of arrest and criminal prosecution.

In Mexico, Christians are against criminal operations and violence and are therefore at constant risk of being targeted for elimination by criminal groups and cartels.

In Colombia, Guerrilla groups threaten, harass, extort and even murder church leaders, who are targeted because they denounce corruption, defend human rights and oppose cartels.

In Turkey, any Muslim who decides to follow Jesus comes under immense strain from their families and communities, who often demand they return to Islam.

Let’s continue to show our brothers and sisters in Christ—around the world—we care

Though the Olympics are over, our Christian family continues to need us. Now is not the time for us to turn our backs on them. Our cause remains just as critical.

Pray

Let’s storm the gates of Heaven with our prayers. Let’s pray hard for our brothers and sisters, for peace through persecution, strength to gather and share the gospel and courage to stand in the face of the enemy—no matter what country they’re from.

And let’s pray for those who persecute, that God will soften their hearts and change their ways; that they might see the love of Jesus in those they harass, torment and belittle.

You can receive urgent updates and read stories of those who are in desperate need of prayer by downloading the Open Doors Prayer App by clicking here.

Give

If able, you can help more than you know by giving to Open Doors today. Your gift of any amount will help strengthen and equip believers in the hardest of circumstances. Your gift may go to Bibles, discipleship training, trauma counseling, job training, emergency food or shelter, supplies to rebuild homes and churches and more. Your gift can offer hope and help change a life forever. Learn more by clicking here.

Act

And here are a couple ways you can get involved today:

Share. So many Christians in the West are unaware persecution even exists in other countries. We have plenty of resources you can share with your family, friends and even church. By sharing the message of the persecuted, you’re helping grow the family of those in deepest need. Find our entire resource catalog to share by clicking here.

Write. Persecuted believers routinely tell us they are isolated, harassed and even attacked. Even more, they may not know a single Christian to share their experiences with. One way to let these brothers and sisters know they are not alone is by sending them a heartfelt letter. You can write a letter and connect with your global family by clicking here.

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Our goal is for every believer to know that—no matter who they are or where they live—we are all part of the same family in Christ. When they suffer, we suffer, too. We’re on their side, we haven’t forgotten about them and we will continue to pray, give and act on their behalf.

Please join us on our mission in Jesus’ name.

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