Help start a world-changing
movement of prayer for
persecuted Christians in 2021
Persecuted Christians will receive critical support because of you
By providing year-round support, Frontline Partners help bring critical aid to persecuted Christians as needs arise. The stories below feature some of the ways that Frontline Partners assist believers around the world.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.”
“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.
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.)
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.
“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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
At the end of 2019, there were about 140 income-generating projects 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 Christians stay in the country.”
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. winterization items 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.
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.”
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.
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.
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.”
Help start a world-changing
movement of prayer for
persecuted Christians in 2021