As an Open Doors Frontline Partner, you’re helping bring critical aid to persecuted Christians as needs arise. The stories below feature some of the ways your monthly support strengthens believers–and the Church–around the world.
You strengthened displaced believers in Burkina Faso
Thanks to your generous support, Open Doors was able to provide targeted relief to 2,100 Christian households now in overcrowded displacement camps in Burkina Faso. They are families forced to flee their homes because of escalating violence from extremist groups where they live.
As they carried away their packages, they shared messages of gratitude and blessing for how you’ve stepped into their lives:
”We came to hide our heads in this town. And you have brought us this help. We do not know in which year this situation will come to an end. We count on God, and we count on you who are upright. May God increase your wisdom.” — Timbida from Zimtanga
“We left our village because of terrorist attacks, and you brought us food when we had little. May God bless you and grant you long life.” —Gemila from Koudougou
“Glory be to God: Today, I have just received food we desperately needed. I hugely thank you!” —Salamata from Naounkieba
You equip Iraqi Christians to reach Muslims
Among many activities Open Doors’ local partners support in Iraq, a music project brings hope to area youth. For youth who returned to their damaged or destroyed homes after ISIS, music brings inner peace and hope, helping them process painful memories of displacement and return, as well as the fear of losing everything again.
So far, more than 1,000 youth have participated in music projects at the Center of Hope ministry in Qaraqosh, one of the many towns on the Nineveh Plain. The activities were so impactful that teachers at the Center of Hope decided to replicate the experience for other youth in other nearby villages. Because of your support, programs like this can exist and multiply. Listen as Sam Salim, a violin teacher in Qaraqosh, shares:
You gave lifelines to 14,000 women in Central Asia
Through your regular support, we are able to sponsor a much-needed ministry to women who often suffer persecution for not only their faith but also their gender. In some cases, the threat is severe. In many areas, Christian women are being kidnapped, raped and forced to convert to Islam. Some have even been killed by extremists or family members for their decision to follow Jesus.
Responding to this often-silent epidemic, Open Doors saw a need to help women access emergency help and care. As a result, we help sponsor a program called “His”—a reminder to women that they are cared for and protected by a loving God.
The training takes many forms, including persecution preparedness, marriage affirmation, spiritual care, advocacy and health and wellness. In cultures where women’s rights are not a high priority and obedience is expected, these lifelines can literally save lives.
To date, the “His” campaign has reached 14,000 women, helping them find their purpose in God and hope for the future. Women like Asma*. After participating in the training, she shared: “Being God’s makes us priceless.”
You helped build a ministry center in Mexico
After years of hard work and vision, Open Doors recently inaugurated a new Bible training center In Chiapas, Mexico.
The new center will be a place where indigenous believers, who are often persecuted for their decision to leave tribal beliefs, can experience God’s presence as they learn His Word—as well as build community and a sense of family.
At the ceremony, believers gathered, holding signs representing their various indigenous regions. The ribbon-cutting symbolizes not only the culmination of their hard work in building the center but of a new beginning for all of them—of the future and hope God has prepared. Without regular support from Frontline Partners like you, this center would still be just an idea.
Today, it is ready to be a light to many. Thank you.
You let North Korean Christians know they're not alone
As COVID-19 ravages North Korea, the situation is dire. When the border with China is closed, most trade and smuggling activities are halted, which drives up the prices of everything, including food. We have reports that there has little food to buy and that prices have quadrupled. At this point, it takes multiple months’ salary to buy a kilo of rice. Even corn is very expensive.
With every box of essentials our partners are able to deliver, your support is strengthening believers. A North Korean believer recently shared: “Despite all the difficulties we may face, we would only hold on to the Lord, and remember that the pathway of the faith is the only way to the Victory of the Cross, the glorious of all. Thanks to our brothers and sisters from all around the world and your supports through the deliveries, we experience such precious care and love from every box of medicine and every piece of clothes.
“Everyday when we pray, we think about you. This national holiday, for the first time this year, we are able to eat white rice for our meal. We can never thank you enough. It has never been this difficult. But we are happy to be able to complete our mission. Thank you so much for your help.”
Your support emboldens believers in Syria
In recent years, Syria has been ravaged by Islamic extremism. Though many believers have fled the country, a small sect remains, determined to continue the work of Christ amid persecution. Islamic State group no longer occupies Syria, but extremists still control much of the country and believers face danger at every turn.
Although many have fled, an emboldened remnant of Christians remain. You support makes it possible for this group to follow Jesus and stay strong amidst life-threating adversity. Although they are few, they know their Christian family is many.
Join Lina Sarko, a Christian mother of two, in her prayer: “We come before You with confidence as children come before their father, asking You to heal our land, asking You send the spirit of life and the spirit of resurrection to our country. You are able, and there is nothing You can’t do. We ask for Your mercy upon the people who have gone astray. Lead Syrians towards You, God, and help us be an example of Your love.”
Your support helps provide discipleship and trauma training
Fady was only 11 when the war in Iraq began. Death and destruction were part of his everyday life: “Maybe in another country, a child would be scared to see a tank with armed soldiers driving by,” he says. “We didn’t even notice is anymore. At the height of the war, there were more than 15 explosions in Baghdad every day. It was something you got used to.”
In the chaos of the war, churches and church leaders became soft targets. Many church leaders were kidnapped or even killed, and churches were attacked; it’s estimated that 80% of Christians have left Iraq since 2003.
Thankfully, Fady stayed. Today, he is part of Open Doors’ Center of Hope ministry in Baghdad, where believers like him are leading discipleship groups and trauma training, as well as activities for youth and children.
“What war destroys in a minute takes much longer to rebuild,” Fady said, “and that’s why it’s important to keep a Christian presence here. As Christians, we are the salt of the earth. We have an ancient Christianity here. Our presence in this country is important.”
Your support helps converts stand strong
We continue to hear that when new believers know what to expect if their families or communities discover their conversion, they are empowered and equipped to weather persecution more effectively.
For a group of new believers in the Southern Philippines (where Islamic extremist groups target Christians in the predominantly Muslim area), Open Doors’ persecution preparedness training is a lifeline. At a recent gathering, believers came together to worship and learn how to stand strong.
Melinda,* a first-time participant, shares: “Since the first day [I became a Christian], I’ve realized that I’ve been exposed to a lot of persecution in my life. I’m grateful to God for giving me the opportunity to attend this training. There were so many testimonies that I could relate to, and it’s reassuring to know that I’m not alone in this fight.
“I am becoming increasingly inspired to return to my hometown and share the gospel with my family.”
Your support is strengthening grieving families
Baldina’s eyes reflect the tragedy she’s lived through. When their village in northern Cameroon was attacked by Boko Haram extremists, one of her sons was killed; another fled to a faraway town out of fear. Baldina and her elderly husband were alone, too weak to farm and fend for themselves.
Before the attack, Baldina called herself a Christian, but the roots weren’t deep. Her grief brought her back to a local church where she found comfort: “When I hear the message, listen to the songs, I am comforted. I thank God for everything … He is helping me to be strong today.”
Baldina and her husband are among the 3,000-plus Cameroonian families that Open Doors reached with relief aid, including food and clothes, during the last seven months of 2021. The aid helps Christian leaders who support persecuted church members like Baldina and her husband.
“Without this food, we would die of hunger,” she shares. “Thank you! I am grateful. You gave it to me, and God gave it to me.”
Your messages and prayers bring hope
Recently Susanna Koh, wife of abducted Malaysian pastor Raymond Koh, visited the Open Doors offices where she and her son Jonathan received hundreds of letters from believers throughout the world. It’s been more than five years since Raymond was last seen.
“The family has been through a lot of struggles and challenges, but the prayers of the saints have kept our spirits up, especially the cards and letters from Christians all over the world,” Susanna shared. “Thank you so much for upholding our family in the Lord. It really encourages our hearts especially in difficult times and difficult seasons. God bless you.”
Walk through the trauma center you helped build in Nigeria
Our field reports that attacks in northern Nigeria have risen to an all-time high. Violence is so common now that trauma care has become a dire need. Responding to that need, Open Doors’ Shalom Center recently expanded its space and capacity to care for 3,000+ survivors each year—up from 720.
Every year, Open Doors provides trauma care to 2,000 to 3,000 Nigerians in churches close to where they live. But sometimes the trauma is so severe that survivors need to receive care in a secluded environment, away from their homes. Watch how God is using your monthly support to restore individuals, families, churches and whole communities.
Open Doors Southeast Asia partner: 'We're so thankful for you'
Mariam, an Open Doors local partner in southeast Asia, has a special message for you as a Frontline Partner.
Discipling secret believers in Central Asia
The picture you see here was taken at a discipleship training for young, persecuted believers In Central Asia. (We can’t disclose the specific country for their protection.) Open Doors partners recently led a seminar for 25 Christians from six house churches. The gathering, which could have been easily raided by police at any time, led to both renewal and inspiration. Here’s just a smattering of what we heard from these young people:
“I repented 20 years ago, and I was told to dedicate my whole life to God, and I was afraid. Today, I have dedicated my whole life to God!”
“Here I received such a fire; now with such a fire, I will serve God until the age of 80. Thank you.”
1,500 believers in Colombia receive their first Bibles
Praise God! Because of your support and prayers, these believers in Colombia have their very own Bibles. They were overjoyed to receive them and through tears immediately thanked God: “Lord, we want your Word that we receive in our hands to be the constant voice of our conscience and live under it. We want that this Word becomes the guide of our path. It’s also the cause of our happiness.” Our partners captured this beautiful moment.
Your support provided a Christmas in Indonesia
Open Doors partners were excited to provide a Christmas celebration for Christians who came from Muslim backgrounds. About 120 believers came to attend this simple Christmas party. The story of the birth of Christ was shared because there are many of them who have never even heard the Nativity story. Some of them seemed relieved and happy to know that they have brothers and sisters in the faith who have similar stories to their story of conversion. Among the 120 attendees, there were about 20 new believers, and this was the first Christmas they had experienced in their lives.
You helped teach people to read in Bangladesh
The Adult Literacy Class was initiated by local partners in Bangladesh in hopes that more illiterate individuals may be able to read and write. A large number of people who live in rural areas in Bangladesh are illiterate, and, in 2021 alone, the class has helped at least 3,000 adults learn to read and write. “Before, I could not read the [Bible,]” said Jinara, one of the students. “From this class, I have learned how to read and write. I have come to know many stories from the [Bible] and I can tell them to others. I have become a believer through this class.”
You allowed Sachin to provide for his family
Sachin (not his real name) was socially boycotted for his faith. He couldn’t earn enough money for his family. He’s skilled at repairing electronic equipment, so Open Doors partners helped him set up a shop. “Now I am able to support my family and have also purchased a vehicle to help me with my ministry work in the nearby villages,” Sachin says. “I serve as a church leader in several villages nearby. I have also repaired my house with this income. This help of yours had a huge impact in my life. I am very thankful to Open Doors for this transformation in my life.”
You helped provide medical care in India
Shanti* and her family accepted Christ when she was suffering from poor health and was healed after attending a church service and receiving prayer. The miracle paved the way for Shanti’s family to accept Christ and attend church in the neighboring village.
But their community and relatives soon began to persecute Shanti’s family. They were excluded from the life of the village and, eventually, a group of extremists beat up her son.
Open Doors local partners have helped Shanti and her family with medical assistance for Shanti’s son. They also provided the family with groceries. Shanti says: “I am so grateful to God for the organization that stood by us in this difficult time. God indeed places encouragers during tough times to build up our faith. I also thank you all for your assurance and prayers.
“Your help stands as a sign that we are on the right path to God and we are not alone in our struggles and pains.”
Your gifts helped this Bangladeshi family survive
Even in the best of times, finding work is very difficult for Kasem—he follows Jesus and employers won’t hire him. But during the pandemic and lockdowns, the situation was even worse. He desperately wanted to be able to provide for his family. “As a father and husband, it is hard to see my family starving for food,” he says. “We kept praying and waiting for God to help.”
Thanks to your prayers and support, that help came through Open Doors local partners, who provided Kasem and his family with emergency food aid and goats to raise for income. “We are very happy and thankful to Open Doors for supporting us during our needy moment. This support helped us to survive. It brought peace in my family because really there is no peace with hungry stomachs.”
Your help provided children’s ministry that strengthens faith
Adel* is an Egyptian boy who was ridiculed for his Christian identity. He decided to attend some children’s ministry classes supported by Open Doors partners. During the classes and conversations with a field worker, Adel learned he was uniquely created, known by God before he was even born. He now has built a relationship with his Savior. “Knowing God makes me feel happy,” Adel says. “I know I have a Father in heaven that I can always talk to. That’s amazing.”
Adel now lives knowing God has created him for a purpose and that he was known by Him before he was even born. “I want to talk to people about God,” he says. “I want to share about Him with lots of people.”
Your support made all the difference for a Nigerian widow
When Open Doors first met Rabo, 42, she was at her absolute lowest. It was in 2014 and she had just arrived with her five children in a displacement camp in Yola, traumatized and empty-handed. She had fled the following a Boko Haram attack that took her husband’s life.
Open Doors delivered relief aid to the camp, which helped Rabo. “This support really [was] timely, when we had no food in the camps,” she says. “I was able to feed my family for the three months I spent in the camp.”
Since then, Open Doors has been able to help with school fees for her children and to support Rabo’s small business with a microloan. “This support helped me to enlarge my restaurant, and I am happy to say that the profit I get from my business has birthed a provisions store,” she says. “Today because of all the support from Open Doors, we can eat and sleep in a house, and my children go to school. I want to say thank you to Open Doors for your support. God will bless and increase you all. If there was a word greater than thank you, I would have used it.”
You helped a woman threatened by her family in Djibouti
Roda* is from Djibouti, a country where Islam dominates every aspect of life. She grew up a Muslim, but eventually found the truth of Jesus through a friend—who eventually became her husband.
When Roda’s family found out she became a Christian, they threatened to kill her. Roda was forced to flee to Ethiopia, where Open Doors partners have supported her with social economic development training and microloans to start small businesses. Today, she runs a popular juice and popsicle stand, and has also started raising chickens for their eggs and meat.
The loans provided to her during the pandemic was what helped her weather the financial difficulties. “During the [pandemic lockdowns], we had nothing,” she says. “That is when you supported us, unexpectedly. It was a time of stress, it was painful. If [Open Doors partners] did not support me, where would I find all of this?”
Your support helped Christians in Nepal survive the pandemic
Christian communities in Nepal were particularly vulnerable during COVID-19. Many believers are workers who lost their jobs during lockdowns, and persecution can mean it’s difficult to find work for Nepalese Christians. Jasmaya Ramtel* is one of these believers. “The second wave of coronavirus came like a nightmare to me and I had to stop my only source of income,” she says. “I was worrying and wondering how I would survive now. I kept praying God to provide for my needs.”
Thanks to your petitions and support, Open Doors local partners were able to be an answer to that prayer, providing Jasmaya Ramtel with vital food aid. “How faithful God is!” she says. “He answered my prayer and made provisions for me from your partners. I am thankful to God for providing the means of my livelihood in the time of crisis and food scarcity. I pray that God leads them to reach out to many helpless women like me with this beautiful act of serving. God bless you all.”
You stood with a Christian in Laos as he endured prison
Inthy* is a Christian in Laos who has been imprisoned three times for his faith in Jeuss. Before he was imprisoned for the third time, he was invited by an Open Doors local partner, one of his longtime friends, to attend a persecution preparedness training. He attended the training in 2015. Inthy says the things he learned helped him go through his third stint in jail.
“The lessons are biblical,” he says. “The stories shared encouraged me so much, and I was always reminded of the story of the Apostle Paul in the Book of Acts. Persecution happens when you are a child of God; it happens if you truly follow Him. But no matter what, our Father will never abandon nor forsake us.
“Thank you so much for praying for me and my family. God has answered our prayers. Thank you for being one with us. We are one in the body of Christ. When you are hurt, I am also hurt. I thank you all. My greetings here from Laos to wherever you are. You are now a part of my family. You’ve been caring, loving and supporting us. Thank you for being with us in this journey.”
Your support helped a Nigerian widow weather COVID-19
In April 2020, tragedy struck Rose’s family. Fulani militants killed her husband, a pastor. At the time, Rose was expecting their third child. The death of her husband plummeted Rose into uncertainty. Open Doors visited the widow in Nigeria last year and provided her with food and money to start a small business. “During the past year, after I became a widow, truly, the Lord has not forsaken me,” Rose said. “The reason I say He did not forsake me is this: I have been receiving help from different people. God also blessed my farm. I got a good harvest.”
Due to COVID-19 restrictions and insecurity, life has become extremely challenging for many people in Nigeria. Through your gifts and prayers, Open Doors supported Rose with food aid to help her meet her most immediate needs, and provided financial support to start a business.
“This business has made me self-reliant,” she says. “I no longer wait for help from people, but with hard work and God’s blessing, I have been able to pay my daughter’s school fees and buy the essentials to take care of my children. I no longer see myself as a widow because God is truly my husband, and I have a new family in you.”
You helped a teenager continue her studies after she was jailed for her faith
In a remote village in Laos, Soy*, a young believer was imprisoned for her faith at the age of 14. After six days, she and her aunt were summoned by police and given an ultimatum: “They said, ‘Christianity is not a good religion so stop practicing it. We do not want this religion to spread in our area! If you sign this document and agree to renounce your faith, we will let you go home today.’”
Soy and her aunt refused to sign, but were miraculously released. However, even after her release from prison, Soy was bullied by her community. She found her way to another city to continue her studies, and while there, she met an Open Doors partner, Hannah, who you support through your gifts and prayers. “I am thankful to sister Hannah, and to my brothers and sisters from around the globe,” Soy says. “Because of God’s love, I received financial support to buy food and school supplies so I can continue my studies. Without you, I would not be able to continue my studies. I am so thankful for your support. Thank you so much and may God bless you and provide you more to share with those in need.”
You blessed a former Muslim in Ethiopia
Khalid* is a Christian in Ethiopia who came from a Muslim family. After Khalid’s family rejected and abandoned him for following Christ, he found support through Open Doors’ economic empowerment program. With hard work and determination, Khalid became a successful entrepreneur. We visited Khalid only weeks before the Covid-19 pandemic started and since then there has been many new and trying developments in his life.
Despite the difficulties around COVID-19, Khalid and his family have endured. “We attend church regularly and I try to visit places where I can witness to those that have not yet heard about Christ,” he shared. “My mother, two of my sisters and my brother are now in Christ! Praise the Lord!”
Khalid also shared his gratitude for the help he has received from you—his brothers and sisters: “God has prepared you for us, may God bless you and thank you for helping us financially and for praying for us. Because you are blessed, we are also blessed.”
Your support for Syrian Christians has trained hudreds of youth
One of the projects in Syria you’ve helped support are Centers of Hope. These Centers are based in churches and serve their communities, providing training, aid, biblical instruction and more. The Center of Hope where Sister Manal serves in has trained and supported about 200 youth in the past two years. Even with the challenge of COVID-19, they did not stop. Sister Manal and the other nuns continued helping the youth, glorifying the name of God and expanding His kingdom.
Sister Manal thanks you and everyone who supports the Center of Hope and other projects in the Syria church. She asks, “Please continue helping us and the Church in Syria. Your support is like the widow’s pennies. We need it so much in Syria and it means a lot to us to have you thinking of us and praying for us. When we see the youth flourishing and growing thanks to your help, we glorify the name of God and we thank you. As Saint Paul says ‘Blessings will continue with thanksgiving.’”
You sustained an elderly couple in India during COVID-19
An elderly couple in India were expelled from their home and community because of their faith in Jesus. The COVID-19 pandemic increased their hardship and support from Open Doors came at the right time. “I was worried to death about providing a meal for my wife; it was testing time for both of us,” Ravi* said.
When they heard about the difficulties facing Ravi* and his wife, Open Doors partners got in touch with Ravi and with their help he was able to open a clothes store that allows him to earn a living and provide for the needs of the family. Your support of Open Doors means Ravi and his family can continue to live for Him. “To God be all glory,” he said. “God saw my situation and provided for my needs through the organization that came forward to help me. With their aid I was able to set up a clothes store and earn a proper living.”
Editor’s note: We apologize for the poor photo quality, but wanted to take the opportunity to show you a real photo of Ravi—it can be difficult to always get high-quality pictures, but please lift up Ravi in prayer!
You provide food aid in Central Asia
Thanks to your gifts and prayers, over 12,500 people in Central Asia have received vital food aid. Timur*, an Open Doors parter in Central Asia, says, “We are very thankful that, even though we never met personally, we feel your presence and love and faith in God, and we are very encouraged by this fact. There will be some day in heaven when we will spend a lot of time talking, looking back on the joys and on the work we could do together.
“So thank you very much to each of you. We will also pray for your personal situations, your business, your families, that God also protects you and guides you and gives you shalom. A deep, deep shalom in your heart in whatever situation you are in.”
You helped Asian Christians weather the pandemic
Through your monthly gift, you’ve help sustain the lives of so many Christians in Asia who have suffered during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here is just one of their messages:
Matthew* and Linda*, tribal Christians from the southern Philippines:
Your monthly gift helps an Indonesian village heal
Thanks to your faithful giving, when news of an attack in Sigi, Indonesia, first came out, Open Doors partners were able to immediately travel to be with the suffering brothers and sisters there. Prayers were also mobilized from all over the world to bring God’s comfort to them.
Through your support and prayers, Open Doors has provided financial support to help the believers relocate to a safer area. In this new place, 13 new houses are being built, scheduled to be completed this Spring. Because of donors like you, Open Doors partners are also leading the villagers through persecution preparedness training (pictured to the left), and training Sunday School teachers.
A plot of land had also been bought for the building of a Salvation Army church that was destroyed in Sigi. Major Erik A. Kape, the Salvation Army’s division commander of East Palu, shares that the plan is to have the church ready by this July: “We are so grateful for the support of all believers around the world, including Open Doors, which has been generously helping our brothers and sisters here. They are doing well and continue to live their lives now. One of them even got married!”
You're helping Christians forced to flee their homes in Mozambique!
Through your gifts, you’re helping believers fleeing violence in Mozambique. Felismina is from Muidumbi in Mozambique’s troubled Cabo Delgado Province. She and her husband were forced to flee Muidumbi because of the intensifying Islamic insurgency in the surrounding areas. “The situation there is still terrible,” Felismina tells an Open Doors partner helping with emergency relief distribution. “People are still getting [killed]. Just last week there was another attack.”
Felismina and her husband used what money they had to catch a bus to Nampula and rent a small home. Thanks to you, local Open Doors partners were able to deliver desperately needed relief aid to Felismina and 327 other, mostly Christian families. They received food, kitchen utensils and bedding —including mosquito nets and soap with a bucket. “I’m very thankful for this help since we didn’t have blankets or utensils. I left running and didn’t bring anything with me. I am really grateful!”
You helped Bangladeshi believers have a merrier Christmas
In parts of Bangladesh, Christians who have converted from Islam experience pressure for their faith every day. In past years, Open Doors has hosted Christmas parties for these secret Christians, a place and a time where these believers can relax and worship openly. This year, because of COVID-19, these celebrations were canceled—but Open Doors was still able to help. Thanks to your prayers and support, we were able to help Christians like Badol* with food and COVID-19 aid. Badol—and other believers like him—were passed over for government aid because of their faith. Your gifts have kept him and his family going and gave them hope at Christmas. “Now the situation is getting better,” Badol says.
You helped Christians see hope in the face of a devastating attack
In late November 2020, an Islamic terrorist group attacked a small Christian community in Indonesia, murdering four men and leaving the village reeling. The attackers destroyed multiple homes and burned down a makeshift church and a Salvation Army outpost. The 13 Christian families in the small enclave were left grieving and traumatized.
Thanks to your support, Open Doors was able to send a team to provide support and comfort to the devastated community. Our team attended funerals and reminded the villagers of the global Body of Christ they belong to. The team listened to the needs of the villagers and is determining how best to provide ongoing support. “Our presence is making a difference,” says Sam*, an Open Doors partner whose team visited the village.
You helped converts come to Jesus and be baptized.
Our partners in Bangladesh have shared a video with us of the recent baptism of dozens of secret believers. “These Christians are all converts from another religion,” our partner told us. Please celebrate with us the brave step these believers have taken. For most, if not all of them, persecution awaits. Their families and communities may reject them. Some will be even be attacked and/or expelled from their village.
You helped a North Korean grandmother and others like her.
Mi-Ok (not her real name) is over 70 years of age and thus old enough to be Kim Jong-Un’s grandmother. Her parents served in the underground church for decades. She managed to get to China earlier this year where she visited an Open Doors safe house and received food, fellowship and pastoral care.
After she was strengthened physically and spiritually, she was able to go back to North Korea. Just before she left, she wrote a thank you letter: “When I received food, clothes, medicines and other living supplies from you, I just cried out so much. I feel so thankful for God’s amazing love.”
You help women become literate in Bangladesh.
The women pictured above from Bangladesh were recently baptized after coming to faith through an Open Doors literacy class. “As they believed, they have already started to go through mental and social persecution, but their unity in Christ amazed me,” Peter,* an Open Doors local partner told us recently. Each woman was given a Bible, which they can now read themselves, thanks to your prayers and support.
You make Centers of Hope possible.
Syria and Iraq are still recovering from ISIS and war—Christians left the countries in droves, and many haven’t returned. There is real fear the church could “evaporate,” in the words of one church leader in the region where Christianity has been active for thousands of years. However–thanks to your support–in Iraq, about 125 congregations have been
transformed into Centers of Hope. In Syria, about 110 congregations) have
been transformed into a Centre of
Hope. Each Center of Hope hopes to serve 1,000 Middle Eastern families through counseling, fellowship, discipleship training, food distribution and other critical programs.
You have provided emergency financial assistance to 13 families in Vietnam.
Due to COVID-19, 13 families of believers from two provinces in northwest Vietnam have been left jobless and unable to provide for their needs. The men in these families work in the cities as daily wage laborers in wood workshops or construction sites, but were forced to go back to their hometowns because of the health crisis. Torrential rains which caused floods and landslides also damaged some of their farms and crops made it even more difficult for them to put food on their tables. Gya*, one of the men whose family we helped, expresses his thanks to you: “Local authorities did not include me [in emergency aid distribution] because I am a Christian. I want to thank all of you for your prayers and for helping my family and my children have food. I’m grateful.”
You have provided work and income to help Christian families survive.
In Bangladesh, some believers’ source of income came from selling milk, but due to the crisis, they were forced to sell their cows to feed their families. They continue to struggle to earn money as there are no work opportunities available during the pandemic. Thanks to your giving, Open Doors has been able to help them find means of sustaining themselves by providing pigs and goats for them to raise. To date, 87 families in need have been helped.
You shared the Bible with new Christians in Malaysia.
After 23 new believers were recently baptized, they were each given a Bible. “Many of them had never seen a physical Bible, let alone held one,” one of our partners explained.
We have also provided Bibles to believers like Reina.* While it may look like an everyday USB drive, Reina was so happy to receive a USB drive that includes the Bible in her language in audio format, a PDF Bible in her language, and the four gospels in video format. Her three sons are illiterate; their family doesn’t have a lot of money. At a young age, they all left school to go to work. Reina has found it difficult to help her sons understand her new faith, but now she puts on the gospel videos for them to watch while she prepares dinner.
“You’ve brought color into my gray life,” she says, “like the moon giving light to the night.”
You helped prepare churches in the Middle East.
“In the last three years, more than 200 churches were trained to use social media in secure ways to reach out to their believers online,” says Felix*, who leads Open Doors’ media activities in the Middle East and North Africa.
He adds: “These churches have been preparing for possible church closures by governments, or were just interested in exploring new, innovative ways to reach their congregations and to reach out into society with the gospel.”
Now, as more and more church buildings in the Middle East close to fight the coronavirus pandemic, these congregations can easily switch to using their online tools.
You encourage Christians in Central Asia.
In addition to funding emergency food rations to Christians unable to access aid during the pandemic, Open Doors has created videos in their native languages to share biblical content and encourage those who are isolated in their homes during this time. Some of these videos have been viewed more than 10,000 times. (In the above photo, the sign says that people are prohibited from coming in or out of the region by any means.)
You help North Koreans hear hope over the noise of loudspeakers.
In 2018, leaders of North and South Korea announced they had agreed on a peace treaty and complete denuclearization on the Korean peninsula. As part of the peace process, both North and South Korea began dismantling their loudspeakers at the border—these speakers were used to broadcast propaganda and militaristic messaging across the border. But now—two years later—North Korea has reinstalled 20 of its loudspeakers.
However, thanks to your support and prayers, Open Doors is continually broadcasting into North Korea—not through loudspeakers, but over the radio. Several Christian programs are aired regularly to disciple secret North Korean believers with Bible studies, prayers, praise songs and biblical guidance on life. One leader from the underground church secretly sent a message to you to say how touched they are by the radio programs: “Thank you for your radio programs. Sometimes the signal is interrupted, but usually, we are able to listen to the programs without a problem.” Your monthly support is helping disciple Christians, even over the roar of the government’s loudspeakers.
You continue to stand with Christians in India and beyond.
“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, the Christian community has been facing one of the most difficult situations ever”, our local partner Heena* reports. In addition to the normal, day-to-day persecution, many believers have lost jobs and incomes, and there are many reports of Christians near starvation. Although it is difficult to respond to the numerous requests for help which come in each day, Heena emphasizes “we do not stop distributing ration supplies wherever we can.”
Thanks to your support, Indian Christians receive wheat, rice, oil, spices, other essentials, sanitation materials and more. Heena says these believers know the worldwide family of God is helping them. “They extend their sincere thanks to the donors and supporters who provided these groceries to them in time of real need,” Heena says. “Many would have starved otherwise.” Over 100,000 people across more than 10 countries in Asia have been helped, thanks to your generosity.
You helped smuggle food to vulnerable Christians in Vietnam.
Our local contact in north Vietnam reported that 18 Christian families (between four and members each) were excluded from receiving COVID-19 aid from the government last month. Last week, Open Doors local partners were able to provide sacks of rice to these families—but it wasn’t easy. After distribution began, local authorities demanded that Open Doors partners stop the distribution.
To avoid more complications, our partners moved out of the distribution site and transported the sacks of rice to a different village where a believer willingly opened his house to store the goods—despite the risk. Our partners instructed representatives of the 18 families to discreetly go to the believer’s house, one after the other, and get their share. Each household received about 55 pounds of rice.
A believer expressed his gratitude: “I would like to say thank you so much to our brothers and sisters,” he said. “Thank you for supporting us in this difficult time. The rice will help our families to have food in the coming days. May God bless your hearts.”
You helped cyclone victims get emergency aid.
On May 21, super cyclone Amphan devastated and flooded nine districts in Bangladesh. Some 20 people died while 10 million were severely impacted, including 500,000 who lost their homes.
The storm’s damage adds another layer of difficulty for Christians in Bangladesh who have been badly affected by COVID-19 lockdowns. Because they are believers, they don’t get the support that people who follow the majority religion get. “In fact, sometimes it’s even worse,” an Open Doors partner shares. “Extremist Muslims may tell them: ‘We will give you food if you come back to Islam.’”
Through your support, Open Doors and our on-the-ground partners helped provide food and other relief supplies to more than 1,500 persecuted Christian families.
Your support helped encourage this Ethiopian Christian.
Marta from Ethiopia received letters of prayer and encouragement thru Open Doors. Here’s her story of how these letters and cards helped her feel connected to the body of Christ.
You are helping us call for change in Eritrea
In Eritrea, several members of non-registered groups have died in prison because of torture, denial of medical care or other inhumane conditions. The government is specifically targeting Evangelical and Pentecostal Christians, along with other non-registered religious groups.
Thanks to supporters like you, Open Doors is mobilizing research and advocacy efforts to call Eritrea’s government to immediately stop the widespread and systematic persecution of evangelical and Pentecostal Christians and members of other non-registered religious groups; to allow registration for groups wishing to acquire legal status; and to respect freedom of religion or belief and freedom of assembly for every individual—irrespective of their membership to a registered group.
You’re making a difference in India during this pandemic
For several hundred thousand people, lockdown in India is catastrophic. Most people in the world’s second-most populous country live hand to mouth—dependent upon running small businesses or doing daily wage labor, often for less than $5 a day (sufficient only to buy a day’s meal). Because of the lockdown, these workers don’t even have this meager income now.
Recently, one of our ministry partners in India shared what he saw when he visited believers in a local village: “People were living in such pathetic conditions. Masks and sanitizers would be a luxury for them; they don’t have even one proper set of clothes to cover their bodies; or soap to wash their hands. In many families, children wear ragged clothing, sometimes no clothes at all. We provided them food that would help them survive another 20 to 25 days. Some cried tears of gratitude to receive the packets.”
In one Asian country (we can’t name it due to security reasons), Open Doors has set up a secret garage to distribute emergency aid packages to minority Christians who are being sidelined and ignored. Each parcel contains enough food and soap to get families through at least two months during the coronavirus health crisis. In the vocational training centers that Open Doors supports, women are also knitting face masks for vulnerable community members.
As part of a seven-year campaign, Open Doors has launched an “Influential Christians” campaign that has reached 7.9 million people via social media in Iraq and Syria. Through this effort, we have worked to highlight the central role of Christians in the region—and advocated for dignified living conditions for all people groups, including Christians.
You're helping Syrian Christians stay in their homeland
At the end of 2019, about 140 income-generating projects were functioning. One of these is the mini market of Mikhael. In 2019, Mikhael, a Christian man, opened his mini market—a small supermarket just 2.5 meters wide and 6 meters long. To spread God’s love, Mikhael serves locals a free cup of coffee as a warm welcome when they enter.
Another Syrian Christian, Khalil, couldn’t bring in enough money to support his wife and four children. Thanks to your support, he bought a car and started working as a taxi driver in Latakia, Syria. This allows their family to stay and live out their faith in Syria.
Khalil shares his gratitude: “From the bottom of my heart: Thank you, God bless you. This is a very big help, you made sure Christians stay in the country.”
Food and Hygiene Support in the Middle East
Because of the Syrian war, millions of Syrians are in need. Since 2017, through supporters like you, Open Doors provided food parcels and hygiene baskets to about 17,000 families (that’s about 85,000 people each month). On top of that, churches distributed warm clothes, fuel, blankets and other items for the harsh winter season. When needed, people received medicine or were supported with urgent medical assistance.
In 2019, we were able to reduce the number of families who receive these packages, and started to invest more in income -generating projects.
You provided Bibles in Swahili for those who couldn't afford them
Open Doors also recently heard from a woman who partners with Open Doors in Kenya. After this Bible delivery, she sent us this message, “The Bible distribution went awesome! We were able to get Bibles to all that didn’t have one! Thanks SO MUCH for being a part of that with us and for hooking us up with the Open Doors team to make that happen! Below is a picture of just some of the college kids who got study Bibles. We gave out all the Swahili – English Bibles to the High School students.”
You provided Bibles to a youth camp
Open Doors partners were able to deliver a youth Bible to every student who participates in this Christian camp in Kenya. “Many of these youth can’t afford the books they need, let alone a Bible.” The program director tells us. Because of Open Doors supporters and the work of our partners, these kids now have a Bible to use as they walk through their struggles and to take home to share with their families.
Your monthly gifts help support a Christian widow in Nepal
In Nepal, a Christian mother named Komal recently lost her husband to illness. Because of her lack of access to education and the fact that she’s a Christian, Komal could not provide for her four children in a society that discriminates against those who follow Jesus. Thanks to your support, we helped Komal find work by providing a small shop to support her livelihood. Now, she does not have to beg for food from anyone. “Even though I was despised and distanced by my relatives,” Komal says, “I felt God’s presence in my life. Only because of His strength, I was able to overcome all those difficulties.”
You helped provide training in Pakistan
In Pakistan, millions people are discriminated against, falsely accused, beaten, raped, abused and forced into bonded labor for being born into Christian families. Some do not have access to a church and cannot read, so they know very little about the Scriptures. Through your support, Open Doors has offered vocational and spiritual training to 300 people who have little opportunity to advance in society. One of our partners who helps provide this training says, “We have been threatened and attacked. But we will not give up … we know that brothers and sisters around the world are behind us in prayer.”
Your monthly gift helps Christians in prison in Eritrea
In Eritrea, authorities are targeting house church meetings to arrest Christians. Some are tortured; others are imprisoned. In the last three years, Open Doors knows of at least 27 Christians (12 women, 15 men) who have died in prison, as well as one child who died as a result of a parent’s imprisonment. Through your support, Open Doors partners are able to help care for those in prison who receive insufficient food and medical treatment as they’re pressured to renounce their faith. One ex-prisoner described this support: “They supported us materially in different ways while we were in prison, even though they are not our blood family. Even after my release, they have done a lot for me. They have received me in love. I have seen the hands of the Lord through the brethren from different areas. I must give thanks to God for them.”
You're helping rebuild homes and lives in Iraq!
In Iraq, ISIS drove out Christians from Mosul and the Nineveh Plains. Through our partners, Open Doors has been able to come alongside believers in this crisis. In the initial years of displacement, your support helped provide food and emergency relief, such as blankets and heaters. Now, thanks to your help, three trauma care centers serve these communities while we also help renovate or rebuild houses, churches and schools.
Care packages for Christians in Sri Lanka
You may remember how bombers attacked churches and hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, killing at least 290 people and injuring hundreds more. Thanks to your support, we were able to deliver care packages to families impacted by this tragedy—providing them with food, persecution training materials and other helpful items.
Among these were Pastor Kumaran and his family who lost their 12-year-old son in the attacks. Pastor Kumaran says, “Thank you for the box. I brought it home this morning and my daughter opened it, saying, ‘It’s all mine now!’” Pastor Kumaran shares, “I still tell people about you coming to be with us during that time of grief. I remember you. You came here to just spend time with us. You comforted us. I’m a pastor and I can’t break down, you know? But you let us tell our stories and you comforted us.”