SANTA ANA, Calif. (May 26, 2010) – She came with just a small bag of belongings for herself and her three small children. Penniless and homeless after her husband’s death in 2008, she had already sought refuge in four different homes, but all rejected her.
As a former Muslim who had come to faith in Christ, Tina (not her real name) had no place to go in the face of mounting hostility from her relatives and neighbors. Living in one of Indonesia’s most populous provinces, she was immersed in the overwhelmingly dominant culture of Islam. More and more, new Muslim Background Believers (MBBs) were being forcibly evicted from their homes and villages for their faith.
Even her older daughters, both married to Muslims, renounced Tina. Her elder daughter refused her point blank. “Unless you return to Islam, you are not welcome in my house,” she told her mother.
Unable to cope with the pressure, Tina asked for help from a local ministry working with MBBs. They led her to an Open Doors worker who took her in and arranged for her to live in a safe house. With so many MBBs facing severe persecution and forced to flee from their homes, Open Doors has developed a safe house program to provide a non-threatening environment for them to deal with their trauma. The sheltered believers are also taught practical life skills to help them become economically independent.
“I can’t read, but my children can,” said Tina, beaming. “Every day they read me some Bible verses. It strengthens me in my faith.” Although illiterate, Tina is now leading a Bible study among a small group of MBBs.
Over 100 million Christians around the world are persecuted for their faith. But even while enduring persecution, many are spreading the Gospel in restricted countries around the globe.
They need the support and encouragement of Christians in the West.
During the months of June, July and August, Open Doors will be focusing on helping persecuted believers through a campaign called the 2010 Global Summer Offensive.
Some of the urgent projects this summer include:
- Delivering Bibles into dangerous Muslim-dominated countries and other restricted nations
- Supporting teams positioned in secret which will provide resources and encouragement to believers living in hostile places
- Setting up and furnishing safe houses that offer refuge to Muslim Background Believers such as Tina
- Supporting believers imprisoned for their faith in Christ, along with their families at home.
“Prayer is the rock of this campaign” says Open Doors USA President/CEO Carl Moeller. “Please join Open Doors this summer in prayer for all these dedicated believers living in restricted countries around the globe. I also encourage you to get involved in other ways. Make a difference in their lives.”
An estimated 100 million Christians worldwide suffer interrogation, arrest and even death for their faith in Christ, with millions more facing discrimination and alienation. Open Doors supports and strengthens believers in the world’s most difficult areas through Bible and Christian literature distribution, leadership training and assistance, Christian community development, prayer and presence ministry and advocacy on behalf of suffering believers.