Customer Service - FAQs

Welcome to the Open Doors online customer service center. Over 65 years ago, Christians around the world began sending dollar bills and coins to our founder, Brother Andrew, to fund his Bible-smuggling trips behind the Iron Curtain. Ever since, Open Doors has considered every supporter to be a partner in our work. In an effort to serve you—our partners—we’ve compiled the answers to our most frequently asked questions below. If you cannot find the answer to your question, or need assistance with an unlisted item, you can reach Donor Services at 1-888-524-2535 Monday through Friday between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time. You may occasionally reach our voicemail if all of our representatives are busy or engaged in a training or prayer meeting. We do our best to return all voicemails within one business day. If you do not need to talk to a live representative, but just want to forward your feedback, you may send your thoughts to [email protected]. We read every email we receive and, when relevant, pass along all suggestions to the appropriate department where they are reviewed.

ABOUT US

What does Open Doors do?

Open Doors is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with more than 65 years of experience and a long track record of financial integrity.

 

Open Doors supports believers who live in regions that are closed or hostile to the Christian faith. These include victims in over 60 countries who have experienced harassment, discrimination, assault, abduction, false imprisonment, rape and even murder because of their faith in Jesus.

 

For more than 65 years, we’ve worked closely with local partners on the ground to assess the needs of Christians who are persecuted by hostile governments, militants and other sources. We customize our support to the needs that arise, including distributing Bibles and Christian leadership training, emergency aid, trauma counseling, legal advice, safe houses and much more.

How does Open Doors define persecution?

We define Christian persecution as any hostility that is inflicted on a person because the person identifies as a Christian. Beatings, physical torture, confinement, isolation, rape, severe punishment, imprisonment, slavery, discrimination in education and employment, and even death are just a few examples of the persecution Christians experience on a daily basis.

 

According to The Pew Research Center, over 75 percent of the world’s population live in areas with severe religious restrictions (and many of these people are Christians). Also, according to the United States Department of State, Christians in more than 60 countries face persecution from their governments or surrounding neighbors simply because of their belief in Jesus Christ.

Why does Open Doors specifically serve persecuted Christians?

Open Doors believes that all people have the right to choose how they worship (or don’t worship), regardless of their religious beliefs. As a result, we advocate for religious freedom for all people groups, particularly minorities who often face discrimination. However, our primary aim is to help the Christian church help the world.

 

When Open Doors was started by Brother Andrew in 1955, he felt God particularly calling him to serve Christians who were persecuted for their faith. As a result, his efforts–which became known as Open Doors–primarily focus on helping Christians who live out their faith in the world’s most difficult places.

 

In addition to serving Christians, Open Doors supports church communities in closed countries. We help them serve their communities and reach out to non-Christians–as well as their persecutors–with the hope and message of Christ. By strengthening the Global Church in this way, we help the Church survive and thrive in the world’s most complex and dangerous places. And by doing so, we help ensure the Great Commission is carried out and the gospel continues to go out around the world.

 

Open Doors also serves the American church by connecting U.S. Christians to their persecuted brothers and sisters, so they can learn and be inspired by believers who follow Jesus at great risk to themselves.

What is the meaning of the name Open Doors?

Our organization is called Open Doors because we go to regions of the world that are seen as “closed” to Christianity. But our founder, Brother Andrew, refused to believe it was impossible to take Bibles or other support to restricted countries. Instead, he said, “With God, there are no closed doors to the gospel.” We operate out of that same belief today—determined to go wherever God calls us, no matter how hard and no matter how long it takes. We see every country and every door as an open one.

What is Open Doors’ Mission Statement?

Open Doors USA is to be used by God as the catalyst for making the stories and needs of the persecuted church UNAVOIDABLE in the hearts and minds of American Christians!

What are Open Doors’ Core Values?

  • We are part of the Body of Christ, a people to people people.
  • We are persecuted-church driven.
  • We are people of the Bible.
  • We are people of prayer.
  • We live and work by faith.
  • We are devoted to Jesus Christ and His commission.
  • We are motivated solely for the glory of God.

What does Open Doors believe?

Open Doors is a Jesus-centered, Bible-believing organization that is non-denominational and non-partisan.

 

We are devoted to Jesus Christ, to the Bible and to prayer. And we do our best to live and work out of deeply rooted faith in God.

 

These values are more than just words on paper. They are part of our daily rituals. Around our organization, it is routine to begin and sometimes also end business meetings in prayer. And every week, our entire staff gathers at least three times to share what God is teaching us and to pray for the persecuted believers we serve. We also take a day of guided reflection each quarter to seek God’s will and direction for ourselves and our work.

 

We stake our lives on Jesus’ Great Commission. We take this command to go into the world so seriously, that we still take risks to this day to get copies of the Gospel into hostile areas. We do this because we are inspired by the life and teachings of Jesus, who often went out of His way to spend time being present with vulnerable people on the margins of society.

 

We value all the people who work with us at every level—persecuted believers and supporters alike—as we are all family in the larger Body of Christ.

How did Open Doors come to exist?

In 1955, a young Dutchman was burdened with the desire to reach out to Christians in Eastern Europe, where Christianity was becoming more and more illegal. He took his first trip to visit Christians in Poland, and was amazed at what he saw:

 

Entire underground churches with only one Bible to share!

 

Brother Andrew knew he had to do something. Two years later, he arrived at the same border in a VW Bug filled with Bibles. He understood that if he was caught with the Bibles, he would be arrested, so he prayed:

 

“Lord, In Your Word, You made blind men see. Now, I am praying that You would make seeing eyes blind.”

 

And God answered his prayer!

 

Brother Andrew was able to deliver Bibles and training materials to Christians in Eastern Europe, allowing Christians to freely read God’s Word in those countries. During his life, Brother Andrew took great risks to sneak the gospel into other closed countries during the height of the Cold War. Over the years, he has traveled to 125 countries, logging an estimated 1 million miles! And Andrew did so with a sense of adventure, believing that his faith in Jesus was worth every danger he faced.

 

Today, Open Doors – the ministry started by Brother Andrew– has expanded to strengthen persecuted Christians in over 60 countries!

 

Although the world has changed, Christians are still persecuted and–in some communities–continue to be forced underground. Like Brother Andrew, Open Doors team members still take risks to resource these Christians living in hostile regions and to continually work against persecution wherever it exists.

 

We spend time getting to know persecuted believers on the ground, in their communities. They advise us on what their communities need most. And they teach and inspire us as they live out their faith in Jesus in the midst of great hardship. We believe that they, along with our team of staff and supporters like you, will be the Brother Andrews of this generation.

Who is Open Doors’ founder, Brother Andrew?

We often describe Brother Andrew as the founder of Open Doors. But referring to him as “the founder” could lead people to picture him as a suit-wearing executive who delivers presentations in a boardroom.

 

That image, however, couldn’t be further from the truth. In actuality, Brother Andrew is our chief adventurer and lead risk-taker. He’s best known, in fact, for courageously putting his life on the line to smuggle Bibles behind the Iron Curtain at the height of the Cold War.

 

Stories from Brother Andrew’s dangerous global exploits earned him the nickname God’s Smuggler—a handle that would also become the title of a best-selling book about his ministry. “God’s Smuggler,” one of many great Brother Andrew books, would go on to sell over 12 million copies and be translated into 40 languages.

 

You can read more about Andrew’s faith here.

 

Due to his advanced age, Brother Andrew is unable to correspond with media or supporters at this time. However, he encourages everyone to take what he calls a “step of yes” in stepping out to serve God in your own lives. Doing so has taken his life to extraordinary places, and he believes God will do the same for you!

Who is Open Doors’ CEO?

Open Doors USA President and CEO David Curry advocates on behalf of those who are persecuted for their Christian faith. He provides leadership to Open Doors in our mission to strengthen and equip Christians who live under extreme restrictions, while encouraging these believers to remain strong in their faith.

 

Since assuming the role of CEO in August 2013, Curry has traveled extensively to encourage those living under persecution and to support the work of Open Doors. In addition, Curry is often present in Washington, D.C., advocating for religious freedom at the highest levels of our government. He has testified before the House Foreign Affairs Committee and has met with a wide range of policymakers in Washington from both sides of the aisle, including at the White House, in the Senate and at the U.S. State Department.

 

Curry appears frequently on Fox News and is a regular contributor to HuffPost. He has also been published or featured in sources such as CBS News, CNN, The Washington Post, Christianity Today, USA Today, The Christian Post and other news outlets.

 

You can see editorial pieces and interviews with Curry by scrolling to the bottom of this web page.

Who is on Open Doors USA’s Board of Directors?

  • Colin Stewart, Chair
  • Daisy Szabo, Vice Chair
  • David Curry, President & CEO (Ex Officio)
  • Bruce Dingman, Director
  • Francesca Fajinmi, Director
  • Tim Kachuriak, Director
  • Nathaniel Spoelman, Director
  • Roger Spoelman, Director

What countries does Open Doors assist?

Open Doors works actively in over 60 countries such as China, Nigeria, Colombia, Syria and many more places around the world. For security reasons, Open Doors is careful to protect the identity of our co-workers and partners, and in some cases does not publicize its activity in certain countries or regions. A helpful resource for learning about countries that face persecution is our World Watch List which can be downloaded at ODUSA.org/WWL.

How does Open Doors USA work with other bases?

Open Doors USA is part of Open Doors International—a worldwide network of believers who support the persecuted church. This worldwide network has more than 25 branches and operates via staff and partners in more than 60 countries. Together, we cooperate to meet the needs of believers in persecuted countries. Truly, we work as a global Body of Christ.

 

All branches of Open Doors International share a common set of core values, including that of being persecuted-church driven. Our partners on the ground undergo a strategic planning process every three years to assess the needs of the persecuted church in each locale, to plan how to best address those needs and to estimate the local cost of fulfilling needs.

 

On an annual basis, this information is evaluated and adjusted according to recent learnings and areas of greatest need, and circulated to all 25 bases in our network, who work together daily to ensure that all needs are met as fully and consistently as possible.

FINANCIAL INFORMATION

Who determines the amount budgeted to each need?

Needs are surfaced and prioritized by local partners who live in the regions where we serve. Every three years, these partners undertake a strategic planning process to assess the needs of the persecuted church in each locale, to plan how to best address those needs and to estimate the local cost of fulfilling needs. Then, on an annual basis, this information is evaluated and adjusted according to recent learnings and areas of greatest need, and circulated to all 25 bases in our network. We then work together daily to determine the costs of providing these services and to ensure that all needs are met as fully and consistently as possible.

How do I know my donation will be used to help the persecuted?

Open Doors strives to be transparent in our financial dealings and have been professionally recognized for our efforts to do so. For instance, Open Doors is a charter member of the Evangelical Council of Financial Accountability. Our record of transparency has earned us the highest Platinum rating on GuideStar, which is awarded to less than 2 percent of charitable organizations, and we were named a Top-Rated Nonprofit in 2018 by Great Nonprofits. We are also a 3-star charity with Charity Navigator and are accredited by the BBB.

 

We frequently include stories about the impact of our program and the people served by them in our magazine, newsletter, e-mails and other platforms. You should never be short on examples of people helped through your giving!

Where can I find Open Doors’ annual financial statement?

As a charter member of the Evangelical Council of Financial Accountability, Open Doors is committed to financial credibility and transparency. After the close of the year, our records are reviewed and our books are audited in a process that takes several months. We then prepare a summary of our spending and impact in our annual report, which can be found here.

What do fundraising, administration, advocacy and awareness costs go to?

When it comes to fund-raising expenses, Open Doors attempts to follow best practices for alerting supporters about opportunities to support the persecuted. This may include paying for necessary resources like e-mail platforms, customer service software, printing, postage, social media advertising and other fees.

 

Administration expenses include costs incurred in managing our offices, staffing our programs, and providing accounting and management tools or services.

 

Advocacy and awareness refer to many efforts. For context, Open Doors conducts worldwide research to collect and analyze data on the persecution of Christians in approximately 100 countries. We then release a World Watch List each January that is seen as a definitive source on religious persecution by the media and has been referenced by the State Department and other government officials. Along these lines, we also conduct awareness campaigns among lawmakers in Washington, D.C., with our CEO taking important actions like testifying before Congress or participating in calls or events with the White House.

 

We also have year-round advocacy communications and meetings aimed at raising awareness and influencing officials to advocate for the persecuted. This sometimes involves bringing in persecuted Christians to meet with churches and public officials, launching petitions, meeting with foreign dignitaries or partnering with other humanitarian organizations to address an issue.

 

In addition, Open Doors holds occasional press events and works tirelessly to pitch reporters to ensure these often poorly-highlighted abuses against Christians receive coverage in the media. Similarly, we seek to engage Christian influencers—authors, pastors, musicians and other figures—to use their own channels to help educate Americans on the plight of the persecuted.

 

Alongside the public, Open Doors also builds relationships with American churches. We report on the climate for persecuted Christians each month to 8,000+ churches, sometimes providing slides and other materials for them to use in educating and praying for their persecuted Christian brothers and sisters. We also host and coordinate the International Day of Prayer in which we rally Christians around the country to pray for the persecuted.

 

There are a host of other things that may fall under awareness—from a podcast to a prayer app to a magazine—all of which are aimed at raising awareness, prayer and support for Christians in the world’s most difficult places.

 

In determining Open Doors’ budget, our heart is to be students of nonprofit methods, always striving to make the most efficient spends with the highest returns. We are continually evolving our strategy as we identify new opportunities for cost savings and discover which methods raise the most support for the persecuted. It is always our goal to send increasing amounts of money to the field in order to help larger numbers of persecuted believers.

 

Ultimately, we work our hardest to raise awareness, support and prayer, but we trust God to supply our needs and bring our needs before Christians who can help fund critical programs to serve the persecuted.

What is Socio-Economic Development?

Socio-Economic Development refers to programs and services that strengthen persecuted Christians, helping them survive and continue to live out the gospel in their local communities. These programs may include—but are not limited to—food kits, micro-loans, literacy tutoring, job training and trauma care.

What is a Challenge Grant?

From time to time, an individual donor provides a significant gift to the ministry and asks that it be used as a “challenge grant” to challenge/inspire other donors to consider joining in giving to a particular project. When you give to meet a challenge grant, your gift to a particular project or country is combined with money from a generous donor to make twice the impact. This is only effective to the limit of the challenge grant—for example, up to $25,000 or $50,000.

Can I get your Form 990?

You can request our most recently filed Form 990 by completing the form found here.

Is Open Doors registered in the U.S.?

Yes. Our U.S. office is registered in California. It was incorporated July 1, 1973 as a 501(c)(3) organization under our legal name: Open Doors with Brother Andrew, Inc. (aka Open Doors USA). We are federally recognized as tax exempt.

 

Our EIN: 23-7275342

Donations should be made payable to:

Open Doors USA

P.O. Box 1595

Merrifield, VA 22116-1595

BIBLE DISTRIBUTION

How did Open Doors get involved in Bible smuggling?

Our nonprofit was launched by a courageous man from the Netherlands named Brother Andrew. Many people best know Brother Andrew from his most well-known book, “God’s Smuggler,” which tells stories of his secret missions to smuggle Bibles into hostile regions since 1955.

During his life, Andrew has traveled to approximately 125 countries and logged more than a million miles to take Bibles and other support to persecuted Christians living in the world’s most difficult places.

One highlight from Andrew’s decades of service occurred when Open Doors helped coordinate an effort that smuggled 1 million Bibles into China. You can read a Time magazine article about that here.

How does Open Doors go about distributing Bibles?

Bibles are sometimes shipped in or brought in by hand, but we also sometimes arrange for them to be printed locally, within the country when possible. It is now often easier to use digital methods to get Bibles into a country, as well. We do not disclose all of our specific methods for transporting or delivering Bibles in order to protect those who may risk their lives to smuggle them into volatile regions.

Who smuggles the Bibles?

Many staff and partners are involved in distributing Bibles via a variety of methods, some secret and some public. One of the most powerful examples of smugglers involve a former drug seller who gave his life to Jesus and began smuggling Bibles instead. You can read about that here.

 

Our Bible transportation is almost exclusively carried out by local Christians who are residents of the country where they minister. As a result, neither Open Doors USA nor any of our other OD offices worldwide is looking for full-time Bible couriers.

What version of the Bible does Open Doors distribute?

Open Doors is a non-denominational ministry that distributes Bibles to Christians affiliated with a wide range of denominations.

 

The Bibles we deliver are translated from the original Hebrew and Greek text into the native language of each country. When possible, we work with established Christian leaders in-country to choose reliable translations.

 

Open Doors is not a translation ministry, so we do not handle the translation ourselves. Rather, we work with local Christians on the ground to find the translation that is best for their ministry and context—and that is doctrinally sound. In this way, we equip these local believers and churches to be the Church, no matter what.

How much do Bibles cost?

Seven dollars is the average price for a Bible and discipleship materials. Some Bibles, which must be translated into difficult languages or distributed in highly restricted regions, cost closer to $10-$12 a piece. In addition, thanks to technology, passing along Bibles sometimes takes new forms—such as embedding the Bible on a SIM card or within a device to electronically smuggle it into a country. These methods may require specific technology for manufacturing, which also contributes to the overall cost.

 

Open Doors asks donors to please donate $7 to cover both the cost of a Bible and discipleship materials for persecuted believers. These discipleship materials are essential as they enable potential converts, as well as new believers, to better understand their Bible in regions where they may not always be able to safely access a church or receive spiritual training.

How is Bible distribution funded?

Much like the early days when Christians sent our founder dollar bills and coins to fund his Bible smuggling efforts, believers in the free world continue to take up this cause. For example, here’s a story of one 68-year-old volunteer who rallies his church to donate Bibles.

 

Churches often participate in raising funds for Bibles. Often times, a church will begin by setting a collective goal to raise funds for a specific number of Bibles and will then challenge their congregation to meet or exceed that goal. While costs for children’s Bibles or Bibles printed for certain countries can sometimes be higher, the general cost is $7 to provide a Bible and discipleship training. So, for example, churches may set out to provide 1,000 Bibles by raising $7,000 for this program.

 

Thanks to volunteers and donors like these, in…

2016—2,724,054 Bibles and discipleship materials were provided.

2017—2,479,000 Bibles and discipleship materials were provided.

2018—2,023,093 Bibles and discipleship materials were provided.

2019—1,873,503 Bibles and discipleship materials were provided.

I want to donate my Bible. Where can I send it?

Thank you for having a heart to donate God’s Word! Unfortunately, we are not able to use donations of physical Bibles. Most persecuted Christians in the countries where we work do not read English! Rather, the Bibles we deliver are translated into many languages spoken in the regions we serve. Even if you happened to have a Bible printed in one of these languages, it is not cost-effective or secure to mail it from the United States. Instead, when possible, we try to use in-country printers and regional publishers whose Bibles can be more quickly and safely transported to their final destinations. However, you or your church can raise money to provide these Bibles here.

Why do you deliver Bibles to people in countries who may be harassed or arrested for owning them?

Please be sure that Open Doors never forces Bibles on anyone! Our Bibles go only to people and church networks who want and request them, but who sometimes cannot access them easily on their own. This does include delivering Bible and discipleship materials in restricted or hostile countries. Because Open Doors has been smuggling Bibles for 65-plus years, we have spent a great deal of time developing the safest methods which minimize risk as much as possible while delivering Bibles.

 

We believe people living in these volatile places should have the freedom to worship or not worship as they please. This includes making their own choice to own a copy of God’s Word for themselves—rather than having the government or militants make that decision for them. And we know from experience that having access to Scripture can provide not only spiritual growth, but needed comfort and strength when facing difficult circumstances.

What does the Bible teach about persecution?

You can learn more about what the Bible has to say about persecution by exploring these free resources below.

 

  1. The Ripple Effect is a four-week series developed to help you or your group learn more about Christian persecution—and to connect you to persecuted believers around the world.

 

  1. Dangerous Faith is a nine-week study, with accompanying videos, that explores the topic of persecution through the Book of Acts.

 

  1. The Standing Strong Through the Storm e-mail devotional is accompanied by Scripture passages to remind you that you are united with Christians all over the world—and ONE family in Jesus.

PROGRAMS THAT SERVE THE PERSECUTED

How does Open Doors determine what programs it offers?

In our 65-plus years of ministry, Open Doors has built long-term relationships with local Christian leaders who live and serve in the world’s toughest communities. And we’ve learned to listen to them! Rather than pushing the same programs in every region, we work to meet the needs that local Christians tell us are threatening believers and their ministries.

 

As a result, Open Doors offers a wide variety of programs—because persecuted Christians almost always have complex needs that require more than one form of support to truly make a difference. Most of what Open Doors does fits into three categories: 1. Bible & Gospel Development (like distributing Bibles and other Christian literature, evangelism training, and other teachings and seminars), 2. Women & Children Advancement (like supporting persecuted orphans, women’s literacy training and microloans, as well as job training), and 3. Christian Community Restoration (like rebuilding churches and homes, providing social and economic support, and offering help to Christian refugees).

 

We seek to stay nimble and flexible enough that we can design custom programs to meet needs as they arise and evolve. Because of this ability to tailor programs, we sometimes handle severe cases others would view as too complex. For example, we engage in operations like helping safely escort an endangered faith leader out of harm’s way to a safe house—a type of undertaking few people or organizations are equipped to carry out.

What is persecution preparedness training?

Persecution preparedness training is a persecution education and discipleship curriculum developed by Open Doors. During these sessions, persecuted believers learn—among other things—what the Bible says about persecution and how to rely on God in prayer. They also learn how to gauge the opportunities and threats specific to their area, as well as how to seek legal aid.

 

The training is used worldwide in local churches, daily devotionals and multi-day conferences to teach a biblical perspective on persecution for seasoned and new believers alike. And our on-the-ground field workers and ministry partners tell us that persecution preparedness training is one of the most vital and biggest needs of the church.

 

In addition to any materials created specifically for a particular country, Open Doors uses the book “Standing Strong Through the Storm” as a basic curriculum in three-day seminars taught around the world. A daily devotional version of this curriculum—adapted for our supporters—called Standing Strong Through the Storm is available via a free subscription.

Does Open Doors send missionaries?

At Open Doors USA, we do not describe ourselves as a missionary organization, but our work is Great Commission-oriented. The focus of our work is to raise awareness, prayer and funds to support programs that strengthen the persecuted church. By doing this, we help the church survive difficult circumstances and enable Christians in the world’s most difficult places to continue to live out the Gospel despite restrictions and hostility.

 

If you are looking for ways to give back, a great first step is to become a volunteer and help raise awareness in your community.

 

Does Open Doors only support Christians?

Open Doors believes that all people have the right to choose how they worship (or don’t worship), regardless of their religious beliefs. As a result, we advocate for religious freedom for all people groups, particularly minorities who often face discrimination.

 

Our work in the field does focus primarily on strengthening and supporting persecuted Christians and churches. When we assist vulnerable Christians and help their churches survive, we help enable them to continue to live out the Gospel and serve their entire communities. We help the Church help the world.

 

However, in the course of this work, there have been many, many times we have provided safe refuge, emergency aid or other assistance to those in need—regardless of their faith background.

Do you really have ministries in the world's most closed countries?

The short answer is yes. Open Doors has been building networks—some of them completely underground—for more than six decades. This means that in some places, we have been partnering in the country before the current rulers were in power. Our current teams owe a lot to the founding generation of team members, who pioneered methods for secretly delivering aid—methods we continue to build upon today.

 

Our work in many places is well documented in stories across our Web site, books written by our founder and media pieces that have been written about us. And Open Doors is able to publicly talk about our work and operate under the name Open Doors in some countries. However, as you might guess, our work has to be much more covert and discreet in places where the government or militants threaten free worship.

 

We have internal security guidelines that require us to constantly assess the climate for our partners and projects. And at any given time, our teams on the ground may need to restrict publicly sharing about our presence in countries where it could cause hostiles to seek out and endanger our staff. We frequently wish we could share stories from these regions, because they are often some of the most powerful stories we hear, but we cannot jeopardize the lives of our colleagues or our partners.

I know a persecuted Christian who needs help.

Thank you for your concern for the persecuted. Open Doors cares deeply about all persecuted people. Unfortunately, as much as we wish we could support every single person and help with every single need, our U.S. office does not have the ability to screen individuals for security issues or directly connect an individual with local programs in other countries.

 

If your friend feels comfortable enough to provide contact information, in some cases we are able to forward that information to one of our offices to see if they can provide any type of assistance. If one of our partners is able to assist, they will reach out to your friend. However, due to security risks, our U.S. office is not part of the communication process once we forward the information. It can sometimes be helpful to contact government agencies, your local church or other organizations who have a public relief presence in the region where your friend lives.

Can you provide addresses for your work?

You can find contact information for 25 of our public offices around the world here. Unfortunately, due to the danger facing some of our teams, we aren’t able disclose places, identities, programs and other items in high-risk areas.

SECURITY

Why can't you share specific details about some of the countries where you work?

We face a difficult challenge when it comes to communicating how we work in the world’s most volatile regions. While we can and do publicly disclose our work in many regions—as evidenced by the many stories shared across our platforms—we are morally obligated to protect the locations and identities of those serving in the most inflamed and dangerous regions.

 

In these particularly unstable regions, the danger is high–not only for Christian citizens, but also for our Christian staff and partners. These faithful servants often do their work at great risk, knowing local forces are sometimes publicly seeking to root out those who operate faith-based enterprises. Revealing details that allow anti-Christian factions to more easily identify our efforts or partners can result in arrests, attacks and even deaths. Because of this, the countries where need is most intense are often the ones we have to be most careful to protect.
When outcomes are able to be made public, we do share them via our social media, newsletters, magazines, e-mails and Websites—as well as the annual report sent to those who make donations.

Why do some stories cite anonymous believers or use pseudonyms?

In some stories, particularly those concerning work in volatile areas, you may see a note that “the photo is a representative photo we used to protect the identities.” Open Doors often uses representative photos and names to help keep our brothers and sisters safe, especially in countries where converting is illegal and house church leaders and members are fined or imprisoned.

 

Please be assured that we use detailed security protocol to direct how we use photos and videos. Photos are taken by partners who live or work in the regions, who are experts in these contexts and who are educated about the risks present in the highlighted communities. They work with Open Doors staff, local ministries and the subjects of the photos themselves to determine how images can safely be used. Through this collaboration, each image is reviewed individually, and we sometimes blur, restrict or specify the ways in which it may or may not be used. Any photo determined to present a risk is not used. And if risks emerge after a photo is released, it is promptly taken down.

 

In some cases, the people pictured are already known Christians who are publicly serving God in their communities and have chosen not to hide their identities. While serving in churches, nonprofits and other capacities, these Christians are already known to militants or others in their community who may seek to harm them, but they have determined that their kingdom work is worth these risks. We work hard to support these inspiring Christians who devote themselves to living and spreading the good news of Jesus in the world’s most difficult places.

Can I get an update on a persecuted believer featured in a story I read?

Thank you so much for your care and concern for persecuted believers. We appreciate you checking in on how they are doing.

 

Our content team works hard to regularly update stories when updates are available. As a result, if you continue to monitor our Website stories, social media and prayer app, you may see a progress report about a person or group you read about previously.

 

Unfortunately, we can’t always provide specific and timely updates on individual stories due to security risks or privacy concerns. Also, please keep in mind that in unstable regions, it sometimes takes a while for updates to come in.

 

DONATIONS

How can I make a donation?

Thank you so much for wanting to support persecuted Christians.

 

The most significant way you can help persecuted Christians is by pledging a monthly gift, which allows you to become what we call a “Frontline Partner.” Frontline Partners are the backbone of our ministry. Because we know pledged monthly gifts will come in, we are able to more efficiently plan to sustain critical programs year-round. We’re also better able to quickly and nimbly respond when a crisis or attack arises. Frontline Partners also receive a free subscription to our Presence magazine that offers inspiring stories about what God is doing through your giving. You can learn more about becoming a Frontline Partner here.

 

There are a few ways you can help fund critical programs that serve persecuted believers.

  1. You can give online.
  2. You can call our toll-free number at 1-888-524-2535 and have a team member walk you through making your donation and answer any further questions you may have.
  3. You can mail a check to:

 

Open Doors USA

P.O. Box 1595

Merrifield, VA 22116-1595

If I am already a monthly giver (Frontline Partner), can I still give a one-time gift to another need I read about on social media, your Web site, snail mail materials, etc.?

Yes! In addition to their monthly gift that sustains year-round work, many Frontline Partners feel God prompt them to give an “above and beyond gift” toward a specific need. If you don’t have a reply postcard or envelope and need help designating your gift, you can give us a call at 1-888-524-2535

How can I update or increase my monthly gift?

We will be more than happy to assist you in updating your information so you can continue with your support. You can give us a call at 1-888-524-2535 and a team member can help you. Additionally, you can also update your credit card information via your account at Open Doors USA. To do this, if you already have a user account with us, you can log in to https://secure.opendoorsusa.org/user. If you don’t yet have a user account, you can still request a password to set up your account. On behalf of the women, men and families you support, we want to thank you for your faithful and ongoing support for the persecuted church.

I would like to donate, but I am currently living abroad in another country.

If you are living outside of the United States and are not using a credit or debit card from a U.S. bank, you will not be able to make a donation with us. You may, however, be able to donate through one of our other bases closest to you through our international Website here.

 

We are deeply grateful for your heart for the Body of Christ and your desire to stand with us as we lift up and serve the persecuted church.

Can I designate my one-time gift to a specific country, region or project?

Yes! If a project or opportunity is available, you can request to have 100 percent of your gift go to the specific country God has laid on your heart. You can also mail in a check with the designated country written in the subject line or call Donor Services at 1-888-524-2535 to make a designated donation.

Can I give through stocks, my will or estate planning?

Yes. You can find information and staff to assist you with setting up gifts in this way at this Web page.

What does "Where Needed Most" mean?

On some materials, you may see the phrase “where needed most.” Where Needed Most gifts are “undesignated” and can be used for any type of Open Doors expense, from funding critical needs in the field to hiring team members to carry out programs. When supporters check the box allowing their gift to be used “where needed most,” we are incredibly grateful, because they allow us to use that gift to address whatever the most pressing needs are at the time.

How can I cancel my monthly donation?

Thank you so much for supporting persecuted Christians in the world’s most difficult places. Please know your gifts made a difference and helped encourage vulnerable believers that they are not alone. You can cancel your monthly donation at any time by calling us at 1-888-524-2535 or e-mailing [email protected]. Even if you are unable to give right now, we hope you will consider praying for persecuted Christians by downloading our prayer app here.

How can I create a user login for my Open Doors donor account?

If you already have a user account with us, you can log in to https://secure.opendoorsusa.org/user. If you don’t yet have a user account, you can still request a password to set up your account.  You can also give us a call at 1-888-524-2535 and a team member can help you.

I give a monthly gift. Or, I recently gave toward a specific need to help bombing victims or those facing famine, for example. Can I communicate directly with those receiving support?

When you give a one-time gift to help meet needs for a specific group of people, your gift is pooled with other donors’ gifts to purchase needed supplies that are then distributed to churches, families or other groups across the affected region. In some cases, our campaign materials may suggest that giving a specific amount—say, $30—will feed or assist one family. When information like this is included in our materials, that means if you choose to give $300, it will fund assistance for 10 families during that campaign. However, it is not possible for our organization to connect you with these families who have often just endured a bombing, are fleeing persecutors or are facing some other crisis. Often times, our team members are already placing their lives at risk in order to distribute aid.

 

We will, however, report back on the number of people served. This usually involves telling the stories of some individuals and families who were positively impacted by your gift. Whenever possible, we include photos, videos and thank you messages from those who benefited. Please review our Website, social media, weekly e-mails, magazine and newsletter for these updates!

 

Those who give a monthly gift, who we call “Frontline Partners,” have chosen to give in the most significant way possible. Because we know pledged monthly gifts will come in, we are able to more efficiently plan to sustain critical programs year-round. We’re also better able to quickly and nimbly respond when a crisis or attack arises.

 

Your monthly gift then allows us to use that donation to address whatever the most pressing needs are at the time!

 

Although we cannot track and report back the names and addresses of every individual served—–because of bandwidth, privacy and security concerns—we again do our best to provide regular updates via our bi-monthly magazine Presence and our monthly newsletter. Frontline Partners are also sent six “prayer polaroids” of specific individuals helped each year,  which you can use to pray for those you’re serving. For a list of ways your monthly gifts are helping, you can visit odusa.org/FLP-Impact at any time.

Can I give toward a need I saw in the news?

Thank you so much for your concern for persecuted believers. We follow the news closely and are constantly assessing whether current events may further complicate life for Christians in the regions where we work. As soon as a crisis unfolds, we get to work assessing the situation to determine if and how we might be able to support the church there on the ground.

 

We have an internal reporting system where we receive information from partners in all countries, so I would recommend checking back on our Website under the STORIES section for any updates that may be posted.

 

If you or your church has a specific vision to try to fund a large-scale project to help Christians in this area, we’d be happy to explore how we might be able to work with you to assist believers in this region. You can reach us by calling 1-888-524-2535 or e-mailing [email protected].

Why do you include a donate button on all communications?

We trust our supporters will give as God leads you and don’t expect you to give every time you see a need or a button.

 

However, Open Doors tries to use research and best practices to set up communications in a way that brings in the most money for the persecuted. This is why, as you receive communications from Open Doors, you will notice that many materials include opportunities to give. We provide these buttons and links so that anyone who is inspired by the featured stories can easily find the place to support critical programs that serve the persecuted. While asking for money in some contexts can be awkward, we can’t apologize for boldly advocating for the many vulnerable people we work with around the world. Their needs and testimonies move us. And we feel if you met some of these brave believers, as we have, you would understand the urgency of the needs and why we always invite people to give more as they feel led.

ACCOUNT INFORMATION

How can I change my address so I continue to get my magazine subscription and other updates?

If you already have a user account with us, you can log in to https://secure.opendoorsusa.org/user to update your information. If you don’t yet have a user account, you can still request a password to set up your account. Please contact Donor Services at 1-888-524-2535. Note: Since we schedule our mail in advance, it may take up to 8 to 12 weeks before you start receiving mail at your new address.

How can I update my credit card?

If you already have a user account with us, you can log in to https://secure.opendoorsusa.org/user to update your information. If you don’t yet have a user account, you can still request a password to set up your account. Please contact Donor Services at 1-888-524-2535. Note: Since we schedule our mail in advance, it may take up to 8 to 12 weeks before you start receiving mail at your new address.

How is my information used?

We do not sell or otherwise disclose personal information about you, except as described in this Privacy Policy. We may share the personal information we collect with our parent, affiliate and subsidiary companies, business partners, and other third parties for the purposes described in this Privacy Policy, including to communicate with you about products and services, offers, events and promotions that we believe may be of interest to you.

 

We also may share personal information with our service providers who perform services on our behalf. These service providers are not authorized by us to use or disclose the information except as necessary to perform services on our behalf or comply with legal requirements.

 

We also may disclose information about you (i) if we are required to do so by law or legal process (such as a court order), (ii) in response to a request by law enforcement authorities, or (iii) when we believe disclosure is necessary or appropriate to prevent physical harm or financial loss or in connection with an investigation of suspected or actual illegal activity. We also reserve the right to transfer personal information we have about you in the event we sell, merge or transfer all or a portion of our business or assets. Following such a sale, merger or transfer, you may contact the entity to which we transferred your personal information with any inquiries concerning the processing of that information.

https://www.opendoorsusa.org/privacy-policy/

COMMUNICATION PREFERENCES

How can I change my preference so that I can choose what communications I receive?

For your convenience, our system is set up to allow you to make modifications through your account.

 

To view your e-mail options and select your preferences:

  • Scroll to the bottom of any e-mail received from Open Doors.
  • Click on the underlined text stating, “Click here to update preferences or unsubscribe.” This will allow you to choose which e-mail types you no longer wish to receive or to add e-mails you want to receive.
  • To unsubscribe from ALL Open Doors e-mails, scroll to the bottom of the preferences form and press the button labeled “Unsubscribe from all e-mail communications.”

 

Note that if you sign up online to receive a resource, our newsletter or other items at some later date, you may be re-subscribed. You can repeat the procedure above to adjust your preferences if that happens. Please do not hesitate to contact our Donor Services Team at 1-888-524-2535 and we would be happy to provide you further assistance.

How did you get my address to send me mail?

We come into contact with supporters in a variety of ways. At some point in the past, you may have attended an event, downloaded a resource, subscribed, given a gift or had some other interaction with us. Or you may be on a mailing list secured by an agency or partner. If you have supported persecuted Christians with us in the past, you can call us anytime to adjust your communication preferences. Or you can scroll to the bottom of any e-mail received from Open Doors and click on the underlined text stating, “Click here to update preferences or unsubscribe.”

 

When you receive unwanted mail from us or any other organization but do not want your name included on any public lists, you can request to be removed from all mailings by visiting this Website. This Web site is not affiliated with Open Doors, but it is provided to you as a courtesy to help you manage your incoming communications from all organizations.

I called and canceled snail mail being sent to me, but am still getting it. Why?

When you notified us you’d like to cancel all mailings, we immediately made a note in your file. However, there are a few circumstances where a few pieces of mail may still get through to you for a short period. This happens because we often print and prepare thousands of pieces of mail 2-3 months in advance. As a result, there may be mailings already in progress to be sent to you. After these last pieces go out, all mail should completely stop. This can take 8-12 weeks at the longest. Please know that we take being good stewards of our resources very seriously and are regularly investigating options to improve. In the meantime, we are grateful for your patience and continued support of our persecuted brothers and sisters.

STORIES & PHOTOS

Why do some stories cite anonymous believers or use pseudonyms?

In some stories, particularly those concerning work in volatile areas, you may see a note that “the photo is a representative photo we used to protect the identities.” Open Doors often uses representative photos and names to help keep our brothers and sisters safe, especially in countries where converting is illegal and house church leaders and members are fined or imprisoned.

 

Please be assured that we use detailed security protocol to direct how we use photos and videos. Photos are taken by partners who live or work in the regions, who are experts in these contexts and who are educated about the risks present in the highlighted communities. They work with Open Doors staff, local ministries and the subjects of photos themselves to determine how images can safely be used. Through this collaboration, each image is reviewed individually, and we sometimes blur, restrict or specify the ways in which it may or may not be used. Any photo determined to present a risk is not used. And if risks emerge after a photo is released, it is promptly taken down.

 

In some cases, the people pictured are already known Christians who are publicly serving God in their communities and have chosen not to hide their identities. While serving in churches, nonprofits and other capacities, these Christians are already known to militants or others in their community who may seek to harm them, but they have determined that their kingdom work is worth these risks. We work hard to support these inspiring Christians who devote themselves to living and spreading the good news of Jesus in the world’s most difficult places.

Can I get an update on a persecuted believer featured in a story I read?

Thank you so much for your care and concern for this believer/these believers. We appreciate you checking in on how they are doing. Unfortunately, we can’t always provide specific and timely updates on individual stories due to security risks or privacy concerns. Also, please keep in mind that in unstable regions, it sometimes takes a while for updates to come in. However, our content team works hard to regularly update stories when updates are available. As a result, if you continue to monitor our Website stories, social media and prayer app, you are likely to see a progress report about the person who you read about previously.

MATERIALS/RESOURCES

How can I pray for the persecuted?

Thank you for joining us in praying for the persecuted church! One of our core values at Open Doors is that we are a people of prayer. With this in mind, we have developed resources to help inform prayers for our persecuted brothers and sisters.

 

There are several ways you can pray.

 

Download the Pray for the Persecuted Church App and you will be sent regular, specific prayer requests submitted by Christian leaders, field staff and partners living out their faith in the world’s most difficult places. Available for download in both the Apple App Store and Google play.

 

Visit an online prayer wall to type out your prayer regarding a particular subject and leave it on a virtual prayer wall. This allows you not only to lift up the need to God, but it also allows us to share with persecuted Christians the prayers that they cannot be present to hear spoken for them.

 

Download a monthly prayer calendar that you, your prayer/small group or church can use to guide your prayer for the persecuted church.

 

Join our 7-year prayer campaign focusing on asking God to restore Christian communities and bring hope back to Iraq and Syria.

How can I subscribe to receive more information?

You can sign up to receive stories and updates about the persecuted via e-mail here.

 

You can take advantage of our current offer—a free year of our full-color magazine, Presence—which is mailed six times a year.

How can I order books about the persecuted?

We are still developing our online store, but some of our best-selling titles are available here. If you are looking for a book that was written by Brother Andrew but is not available in our store, it is often helpful to search “Brother Andrew” on Amazon.com for opportunities to buy additional out-of-print titles.

WAYS TO HELP

How can I help most?

The most significant way you can help persecuted Christians is by pledging a monthly gift, which allows you to become what we call a “Frontline Partner.” Frontline Partners are the backbone of our ministry. Because we know pledged monthly gifts will come in, we are able to more efficiently plan to sustain critical programs year-round. We’re also better able to quickly and nimbly respond when a crisis or attack arises. Frontline Partners also receive a free subscription to our Presence magazine that offers inspiring stories about what God is doing through your giving.  You can learn more about becoming a Frontline Partner here.

I am not in a position to give right now, what can I do?

We understand not everyone is in a place where they have excess to give. If you’re not able to donate at this time, but still have a heart to help persecuted Christians, there are several ways you can help by giving of your time.

 

  1. Volunteer to raise awareness on your social media by becoming a Voice of Hope.
  2. Volunteer to raise awareness in your church or organization by becoming a Connector.
  3. Determine to pray for the persecuted by regularly using our Prayer App or other prayer resources.
  4. Write a letter to encourage a specific persecuted Christian or persecuted group. You can see a list of active campaigns here. There are also letter-writing guidelines available here.

Does Open Doors hold events?

Every year, Open Doors hosts the International Day of Prayer on the first Sunday in November. You can access resources to observe this day either with your church or on your own here.

 

Open Doors presents regular updates and live interviews via Facebook, which can be viewed here.

Can I help smuggle Bibles?

Neither Open Doors USA nor any of our other OD offices worldwide are looking for Bible couriers at this time. While the Bible is still central to all we do, and we still smuggle Bibles to certain locations, our needs for assistance in taking Bibles into countries have declined over the years as we’ve built more efficient systems. Bible delivery is almost exclusively carried out by native people living in the country.

Can I meet persecuted believers while traveling?

We are so glad you’re thinking of the persecuted as you plan your travels! One way you can serve our persecuted brothers and sisters while in a WWL country is to pray for them as you travel through the region. You will find prayer points for each WWL country on the Open Doors USA Website

 

Outside of official Open Doors ministry trips, Open Doors is unfortunately not able to support volunteering, Bible delivery, meetings with ministry partners and believers or organizing tours for individuals or groups. We understand the desire to help in this manner, and we love the hearts of our supporters that want to serve the persecuted church. However, due to the fact that our ministry partners and contacts are in regions with high security risks, they cannot receive volunteers and guests.

Can I go on a trip with Open Doors?

Thank you for thinking of Open Doors. We don’t have information about current trips at this time. However, if you’d like to call our team members at 1-888-524-2535 and provide your contact information—name, address, e-mail and phone—we’d be happy to forward your information to our travel department in the event any opportunities become available. In the meantime, if you would like to become more involved with Open Doors and the persecuted church, there are important volunteer opportunities available on our Website here.

WORLD WATCH LIST

What is the World Watch List?

The World Watch List is an annual comprehensive, research-based report that ranks the top countries where it is difficult to be a Christian. The most current list, which is released in January, can be accessed here. Other sources for information about persecution in restricted countries include the Gender Persecution Report and the World Watch Monitor.

How do you determine which countries should be listed on the annual World Watch List?

The World Watch List compiles data from multiple sources including Open Doors fieldworkers and external experts to quantify and analyze persecution worldwide. Countries are ranked by the severity of persecution of Christians, calculated by analyzing the level of violent persecution plus the pressure experienced in five spheres of life. The rankings and report are audited by the International Institute for Religious Freedom. You can learn more about the methodology behind the report here.

How do you calculate the number of Christians living in the region?

In creating the World Watch List, we use data from on-the-ground researchers, which we then cross-reference with other experts and reputable authorities. The final publication is audited by the International Institute for Religious Freedom.

 

The World Watch List (WWL) methodology defines “Christian” (sociologically) as “anyone who self-identifies as a Christian and/or someone belonging to a Christian community as defined by the church’s historic creeds.” Based on this definition, the WWL methodology distinguishes four types of Christians who may be counted in this total.

 

  1. Communities of expatriate ChristiansThis category applies to a situation in which foreign Christian residents (expatriates or migrant workers) are allowed to rent or own church buildings to a certain degree or permitted to at least conduct church services, but they are not allowed to have contact with nationals regarding Christianity.
  2. Historical Christian communities:This category applies to the typical historical churches, such as Catholic, Orthodox and traditional Protestant churches, which have often been part of a country’s history for hundreds of years. Their situation and degree of freedom differ from country to country.
  3. Communities of converts to Christianity:This category considers people who once belonged to a dominating religion or ideology, traditional religion, organized crime or other strong identifier, and who changed identity in order to become Christian. Converts may be absorbed by one of the other types of churches but often gather in “house” or “underground” churches.
  4. Non-traditional Christian communities(such as Evangelical, Baptist and Pentecostal congregations) and/or other Christian communities not included in the above three groups: This category deals with the great variety of new Protestant expressions and includes the independent churches in many countries. Some of them may be disputed by other Christians in terms of having a serious lack of theological orthodoxy, but as long as they self-identify as Christians (see definition of Christian) they are included in this category.

Why isn't Cuba on the World Watch List?

While Cuba is not on the World Watch List, Open Doors is still involved in strengthening and re-engaging the Cuban church. We try to provide for the acute needs of the church that are not met by other charities. For example, there is room for Open Doors to add value for the Cuban church through Bible distribution, leadership development and training in persecution contexts. A special focus is put on making the Cuban church more resilient to persecution. This includes efforts to strengthen the church’s leadership.

I traveled to a specific country, or know someone there, but haven't seen or heard of persecution.

Just like the culture in Mississippi might be different from the culture in Maine or Colorado, many other countries also have vast differences from place to place. Persecution in one part of the country could be relatively low and unnoticeable to most, while persecution in other parts of the country may be severe and pervasive. Many countries do not collect or report persecution, and their government officials may even refuse to press charges or file reports when Christians are targeted. As a result, crimes against Christian minorities are often swept under the rug and, therefore, under-reported.

Why do some organizations report higher numbers of Christians being persecuted or killed?

Some organizations who report on persecution have released higher numbers than Open Doors. This is usually because they are totaling deaths of Christians killed by various events, even if the reason for their death was unrelated to their faith. At Open Doors, in order to avoid exaggeration, we do our best to only count persecution events that are triggered by the victim’s public faith in Jesus.

 

You can read more about the way numbers like this are reported here and here.

I have other questions about what I am reading in the World Watch List.

You can find answers to additional questions regarding the World Watch List, and terms within it, here.

CONTACT & REQUESTS

How can I book an interview with an Open Doors team member or persecuted Christian?

We would be happy to help if we can! Please contact ICON Media Group at 1-615-499-6880 to schedule an interview or acquire information for a story. More information is available here.

Will your founder, Brother Andrew, take interviews?

Open Doors’ founder, Brother Andrew, maintains a love for the persecuted church. However, due to his advanced age, he is no longer taking public speaking engagements or interviews. Our CEO David Curry is able to take interviews when time and bandwidth permit.

I would like to request a speaker from Open Doors to come to my event or church.

Open Doors doesn’t have an official network of speakers on call to appear at events or churches. However, there are self-directed materials churches can use to raise awareness about the persecuted at our church resource page. Occasionally, we are able to send a staff person or volunteer to events in certain regions, so please feel free to reach out to us at [email protected] to explore any options that may be available.

I would like to use my influence as a writer, Web site owner, musician or other talent to raise awareness for the persecuted.

We have an online group of influencers called Voices of Hope. This group is made up of people who use their platforms—whether they are known locally, regionally or nationally—to help raise awareness about the plight of the persecuted. To become a Voice of Hope, and receive content to share every month, sign up here. You can also join our Facebook group where you can introduce yourself and let us know what ways you might be sharing. This may include—but is not limited to—talking about the persecuted while you speak or perform, writing stories for your Website or blog, or posting on your social media or in your e-mail newsletter.

Do I have permission to use research or materials published by Open Doors?

If you submit a request, we are often able to grant permission to use our materials, providing you cite our Website www.opendoorsusa.org. Please send an e-mail to [email protected] that describes what resources or materials you would like to cite and how that material will be used. It is helpful to include your organization’s Website or the Website of the publisher who will release your product.

How can I find out if Open Doors is hiring?

Your desire to serve the Lord is a blessing, and we wish you the best in your job search. You are able to apply for jobs and internships through our Open Doors Employment Opportunities Web page. If you do not see an opportunity that is right for you, be sure to check back as our Website is updated when we have job openings.

I may have a request for another Open Doors' base.

Please read the following scenarios and choose the one that best fits your situation.

 

  1. If you have a media question about Open Doors’ work around the world, please contact ICON Media Group at 615-499-6880.

 

  1. If you have a question about one of our stories or campaigns OR if you are interested in using our research/materials in your publications, please contact [email protected].

 

  1. If you are an American or represent an American church, business or other entity—and would like information on funding projects for the persecuted—please send an e-mail to [email protected] and we will connect you with the appropriate staff members who can help you learn more.

 

  1. If you live in or are a resident of Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Latin America, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Romania, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland or the United Kingdom, please go to opendoors.org for a directory of bases that can serve you accordingly.

 

  1. If you work at a ministry in Africa, Asia, Latin America or the Middle East and are seeking to partner with Open Doors, you may contact our international office at [email protected] or [email protected]. Please know that while we care about each person in these countries, factors like security issues, funding limitations and bandwidth sometimes prevent us from being able to pursue partnering with those who contact us.

 

  1. Open Doors’ founder, Brother Andrew, maintains a love for the persecuted church. However, due to his advanced age, he is unable to respond to personal communication at this time.

I know some people who are seeking asylum because they are being persecuted for their faith. Does your organization help with this?

Open Doors USA is not legally set up to take asylum cases. If you are currently in the United States and fear returning to your country of origin because of your faith, we would suggest consulting with an accredited representative at a nonprofit organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Justice to provide low-cost immigration legal assistance (see this map of recognized organizations) or an experienced immigration attorney (see this directory of the American Immigration Lawyers Association).

 

World Relief, another well-known Christian ministry, provides legal services in many of its offices and supports a network of Department of Justice-recognized local church-based clinics. You can find a list of their locations on this map.

 

These organizations may be able to offer assistance in requesting asylum or they may be able to refer you to another organization or attorney that may be able to assist you.

 

While you should consult with a legal professional to assess your particular case, with limited exceptions, U.S. law generally requires that you file for asylum within one year of arrival in the United States.

 

Please be advised that you should only accept legal advice from an experienced immigration attorney or an individual who is accredited by the U.S. Department of Justice. Unfortunately, there are some individuals who are not authorized to practice immigration law who will take advantage of people in a vulnerable situation, conveying inaccurate information in order to profit financially. In the most serious cases, following advice from unauthorized practitioners of law could actually lead to deportation, in addition to financial harm.

 

If you are located outside of the United States in a country that you believe to be safe, that country may have a process similar to that of the United States to request asylum.

 

While the U.S. accepts a very limited number of persecuted Christian refugees to be resettled to the U.S. each year, less than one percent of the world’s refugees have been selected annually in recent years. These individuals are generally chosen based on referrals from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), so you may want to formally seek to register as a refugee with UNHCR if you are outside of your country of origin. In limited cases, the U.S. embassy in a particular country may also make referrals for consideration for resettlement. For a list of U.S. embassies, click here.

SOCIAL, CULTURAL & THEOLOGICAL ISSUES

Your materials say you support Christians in Palestine, as well as Israel. This surprises me as I typically see Palestine as being at odds with Israel.

Open Doors USA believes that our job is to advance the church, wherever it is persecuted, around the world. As a result, we often are present, supporting people who stand for Jesus, on both sides of an international conflict.

 

This is true of our work in both the Palestinian territories and in Israel. Christians and churches are present in both contexts. Christians in Israel sometimes face persecution, just as minority Christians who risk their lives to follow Jesus in the Palestinian Territories are sometimes persecuted, as well. Persecution does not start or stop at the borders between these two groups. Rather, Christians in both places are known to face harassment, discrimination and attacks.

 

So we minister to both groups because we believe that God wants people in every tribe and nation to be exposed to His Word and that He wants His Church to be advanced in every people group. We pray that our efforts might even foster unity in some cases, like Jesus prayed in John 17:22-23: “I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”

 

Please continue to pray with us for Christians who are affected in these areas, so that they will stand strong for God and unify in His love.

Does Open Doors advocate for the rights of women?

Yes. Both men and women are employed by Open Doors at every level. And one of our primary ministry categories is devoted to strengthening and supporting women, who often face “double persecution” because they are considered secondary citizens due to both their gender and their Christian faith. Each year, Open Doors also releases a Gender Persecution Report to help raise awareness about the issues facing persecuted women around the world. You can visit odusa.org/women to download this report and learn more.

Some of the pictures I've seen of Open Doors work feature Catholic priests. How does this work since Protestant and Catholic groups have different beliefs and practices?

Open Doors is intentionally non-denominational, and we employ a staff from a variety of church backgrounds and traditions. We believe that followers of Jesus can worship differently, so long as they proclaim—in word and deed—the life, death and resurrection of Jesus!

 

When our founder, Brother Andrew, heard God’s voice telling him to “Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die” (in the words of Revelation 3:2), he believed God was calling him to do whatever he could to support believers and churches in the most dangerous areas of the world. This meant supporting whatever churches were present and risking their lives to follow Jesus in volatile regions, including some places where Catholic congregations were the primary or only churches serving the people there.

 

Along these lines, Open Doors has provided Bibles to the Russian Orthodox Church in the midst of communism, just as we have worked alongside Copts in Egypt, Roman Catholics in Poland, Anglican churches in India and evangelical churches wherever they were springing up. We continue to come alongside any community who claims the name of Jesus and preaches the gospel as revealed in God’s Word, regardless of denomination or faith tradition. In fact, in many cases, people from other traditions inspire us because they refuse to recant their faith in Christ even when threatened.

 

In Mark 9:40, when the disciples asked Jesus about outside groups who taught about God, Jesus said to them, “Whoever is not against us is for us.”

 

Brother Andrew, our founder, also sometimes pointed out that if you disagree with someone’s interpretation or practice of faith, perhaps the very best thing you can do is give them Bibles!

I've seen references to praying for Muslims during Ramadan. Is Open Doors observing Ramadan, an Islamic holy day?

No, Open Doors is a Christian organization and we therefore don’t participate in practices and rituals of other world religions. However, nearly 40 of the 50 countries on Open Doors’ World Watch List are dominantly Muslim societies. And we often hear that some Christians who live in these countries face heightened persecution from extremist groups during Ramadan, because they do not participate in Islamic rituals. Among some radical sects, those who are revealed as rejecting their native Muslim religion are seen as traitors or infidels who may then be subjected to harassment or attack. As a result, we pray that God will protect those who may be persecuted by extremists during Ramadan. We also pray that as extremists engage in reflection and self-examination during Ramadan, they might be moved to seek peace.

What political party is Open Doors affiliated with?

Open Doors is not aligned with any political party. We are a bipartisan, non-denominational group that includes staff who hold a range of political beliefs. We partner with a variety of officials and organizations, where we seek to let the Bible—along with opportunities to benefit the persecuted—direct our work rather than party lines. We respect America’s way of life and pray for those who govern us, yet we never forget that our deepest allegiance is first to Jesus.

I've seen some international Christians who have tattoos in Open Doors stories. What is the meaning of this?

In Egypt, it’s not uncommon to see Christians with tattoos on their wrists. Many Christians have them, even children who are elementary-aged. While we in the West might be uncomfortable to see such a young child receive a tattoo, this tradition goes back centuries in Egypt.

 

This practice began when Egypt changed from a Christian country to a Muslim country in the seventh century. According to some sources, the Christians who remained in Egypt were tattooed to show they were Christians and were forced to pay a tax. The Coptic Christian community in Egypt has adopted the tattoo as a powerful tradition, changing its meaning into a radical expression of faithfulness to Jesus in the middle of difficult situations.

 

Some point to the Old Testament law in Leviticus 19:28, which seems to discourage tattoos. But our belief is that the context of this passage likely forbids making marks on your body within the context of a pagan religious ritual. That’s what the “markings for the dead” is describing, a common practice among surrounding cultures at that time.

 

The question to ask with tattoos is, “What does this mean and why am I getting it?” The people of God are supposed to be set apart—that was the point of Leviticus 19:28. But tattoos may have different connotations in different parts of the world. And in modern life, they are usually motivated by other reasons (such as to remember a lost loved one) rather than as a tribute to paganism.

What does Open Doors believe about social and political issues in the news?

For the most part, Open Doors avoids getting entangled in theological or political debates that stray from the core of the salvation message. We do our best to live and work according to the Bible—which we view as the definitive influence on Christian life. However, we have a very specific focus for our work. We are concerned with supporting persecuted Christians and advocating for religious freedom for all. While individual staff may have opinions about various social or political ideas, the organization does not necessarily have a historical position on such matters, as we lack the expertise or knowledge to comment on every issue that arises in the over 60+ countries where we serve.

TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE

Do supporters of Open Doors have an opportunity to open a "user account" to track their participation and giving information?

Open Doors recently gained the technology to offer user accounts, but we are in the beginning stages of doing this. For now, it is possible to access limited information and update your credit card information via your account at Open Doors USA. To do this, if you already have a user account with us, you can log in to https://secure.opendoorsusa.org/user. If you don’t yet have a user account, you can request a password to set up your account. We are currently in planning to add more helpful features to this donor portal in the future.

 

If there is information you cannot access, we’d be happy to help you find it if you call us at 1-888-524-2535.

How can I make a donation?

The most significant way you can help persecuted Christians is by pledging a monthly gift, which allows you to become what we call a “Frontline Partner.” Frontline Partners are the backbone of our ministry. Because we know pledged monthly gifts will come in, we are able to more efficiently plan to sustain critical programs year-round. We’re also better able to quickly and nimbly respond when a crisis or attack arises. Frontline Partners also receive a free subscription to our Presence magazine that offers inspiring stories about what God is doing through your giving. You can learn more about becoming a Frontline Partner here.

 

There are a few ways you can help fund critical programs that serve them.

  1. You can give online.
  2. You can call our toll-free number at 1-888-524-2535, and have a team member walk you through making your donation and answer any further questions you may have.
  3. You can mail a check to:

Open Doors USA

P.O. Box 1595

Merrifield, VA 22116-1595

 

If you need assistance in making a donation, we’d be happy to help if you call us at 1-888-524-2535.

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