11 21 Newsflashes from the Persecuted Church
Syria: Open Doors Seeking 500,000 Signatures to Prod U.N. Action
For nearly three years, the people of war-torn Syria have experienced terrible suffering and enormous challenges. In particular, the Christian community, around 8 percent of the population, is paying a high price for living in a country where the civil war has caused over 100,000 deaths and left 4.2 million homeless inside the country.
With no end to the war in sight and neighboring countries stretched to their limit with thousands of Syrian refugees in camps, Open Doors is issuing a global petition. Open Doors is hoping 500,000 signatures will prod the U.N. to safeguard all Syrians, including vulnerable Christian communities. The petition urges worldwide leaders to:
Protect the lives, livelihoods and freedoms of all the people of Syria
Safeguard the existence of the Christian community and in particular the assaulting, kidnapping, torturing and killing of Christians by extremists and criminal groups
Guarantee safe and proper access for all to humanitarian assistance, both inside and outside of Syria
Make it possible for Christians to remain in and/or return safely to their homes without fear or threat of violence
Safeguard the right of Christians to be able to worship in peace and safety
Ensure the establishment of a new Syria with a society and constitution that in theory and in practice guarantees and respects the right to freedom of religion and belief for all.
Syrian pastors are coming to Open Doors, asking the ministry to speak out on their behalf. This is a practical way to support the Syrian church in the hour of its greatest need. Christians can stand in solidarity with believers in Syria by signing the petition at http://lp.opendoorsusa.org/emails/nov-13-action/save-syria.html?utm_source=pr&utm_medium=pr&utm_campaign=save-Syria. The Open Doors team will take the petition to the United Nations on Dec. 10 and present it to the five permanent members of the Security Council. The petition will also be presented at the European Union and the embassies of China, France, Russia, United Kingdom and the USA. Open Doors is also providing emergency relief packs to help 8,000 Syrians families survive each month.
“Signing this petition could make a huge difference in the lives of millions who are suffering in one of the worst human crisis in our lifetime,” comments Dr. David Curry, President/CEO of Open Doors USA. “Open Doors is currently helping through delivery of relief materials, but we also have to advocate on behalf of our fellow followers of Jesus at the highest levels of governments. I urge you to sign the petition now.”
Indonesia: Couple Reaches Muslims with HIV Ministry
Agus and Tina(not their real names) started a ministry among Muslims in 2009 after meeting a Christian in East Java, Indonesia who had the same heart for such a ministry. The couple started to share the Good News to their Muslim neighbors and families, and opened their house for believers from Muslim backgrounds to meet every Thursday night. The couple decided to visit Muslim HIV patients in a public hospital in Malang, East Java every day. Agus and Tina gave them food and medicines. Muslim HIV patients in Indonesia are often excluded from their families and communities. However, the couple realized that they needed to grow their own business to support their ministry. They could not count on the traditional and mainline churches. Many of them were hesitant to support such ministries out of fear.
“We have a salt egg business and a small stall,” explained Tina. “But the ministry started to grow and we needed more money to support and reach out to more Muslim patients. Our business was not even enough to support our daily needs.” In 2012, Agus and Tina were invited to come to a gathering of Christian workers like them in East Java that Open Doors organized. There they learned about Open Doors’ livelihood project that supports field workers who reach out to Muslims. They decided to submit a proposal for a one-year loan. It was approved.
A year later they paid off the loan. Meanwhile, their ministry grew bigger. They continued providing food and medicines to Muslim HIV patients, and asked for a local Bible School to send some of its students to help them in their ministry. Many of the patients accepted Isa (Jesus). One family decided to accept Isa and be baptized in His name after witnessing how the couple’s ministry cared for their son who was an HIV patient.
“Thank you Open Doors,” said Agus. “We can help more patients and share the Good News to more Muslim HIV patients. The loan increased our profits, and we are able to buy more food and medicines. We can reach out to more Muslims in our neighborhood.”
(For more information or to set up interviews, call Jerry Dykstra at 616-915-4117 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The Open Doors USA website is www.OpenDoorsUSA.org).