SANTA ANA, Calif. (April 9, 2013) – In 2012 Open Doors International made a major impact by supporting and strengthening persecuted Christians in restrictive countries around the world, according to statistics released today by the global ministry.
Last year Open Doors delivered more than 2.4 million Bibles, training materials and other Christian literature; trained more than 219,000 people through courses with various focuses including theological instruction, Sunday school teacher training and trauma counseling; and served 207,000 people through community development projects such as job training, church restoration, medical assistance and financial support.
By visiting and praying with widows, orphans, prisoners and those displaced from their homes, Open Doors workers had the privilege of showing thousands of persecuted Christians they are not forgotten or alone.
But statistics don’t tell the complete story of how God has enabled Open Doors to carry out the biblical mandate: “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it…” (1 Cor. 12:26). Below are a few examples of the impact of Open Doors’ ministry in 2012:
Bible Delivery – Sri Lanka
Namal Rakesh, a Sri Lankan Seminary student, was passionate to learn. However, because of the cost of materials, he often had to borrow books from a Bible school. It would require God’s intervention to own his personal study Bible. Last June Namal received one of the 150 Sinhala and Tamil book sets distributed by Open Doors in cooperation with the National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka. Today Namal ministers to 30 believers in a predominately Hindu village. He says: “My study Bible has helped me understand Bible passages better, especially those I preach about on Sundays.”
Community Development – Ethiopia
Married less than a year, Mihret was eight months pregnant when Muslim extremists killed her husband, an Ethiopian evangelist. Mihret was badly beaten, but she and the baby survived. One month after the attack, a healthy baby girl named Birhannesh, meaning “light to the world,” was born. But Mihret had no source of income.
Open Doors, along with her local church, developed a plan to help her become financially independent. With funding from Open Doors, she opened a small kiosk selling Ethiopian coffee, tea and baked goods. Mihret’s business flourished and she was able to save money to purchase goats and rent a piece of land to plant grain. “The Lord has replaced everything I lost,” she says. “Through Open Doors’ support, I was able to see a bright future and could realize better the purpose of God in my life, even if the process is painful.”
Training – Egypt
Since she was a little girl, Mona longed to learn how to read and write – especially read the Bible herself. As Christians in rural Upper Egypt, Mona’s parents could not afford to send her to school. Traditionally, girls such as Mona, remain illiterate as they are expected to marry young and care for their homes and families. When Mona was in her early 20’s, she enrolled in a literacy class sponsored by Open Doors. Every Friday morning she joined 20 other women for the literacy class at her church. Last year she completed Level One and can now read and write. She is able to read Bible stories to children in the Sunday school she teaches. She is also reading the Bible to her family. “My dream to read and write has come true and I even received my own Bible as a gift from the literacy project,” Mona says.
“These stories are wonderful examples of what the Lord, our faithful supporters and the power of prayer has enabled Open Doors to undertake in 2012; standing along side suffering but faithful Christians,” says Open Doors USA spokesman Jerry Dykstra. “For over 58 years Open Doors has humbly served persecuted Christians in some of the darkest, most dangerous places on Earth. And God continued to bless the ministry in 2012. Please join us in supporting beleaguered believers in 2013 in such places as North Korea, Syria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and many more nations.”
For almost 60 years Open Doors has worked in the world’s most oppressive and restrictive countries, strengthening Christians to stand strong in the face of persecution and equipping them to shine Christ’s light in these places. Open Doors empowers persecuted Christians by supplying Bibles and Christian literature, training Christian leaders, facilitating social/economic projects and uniting believers in the West in prayer for Christians, who are the most persecuted religious group in the world and are oppressed in at least 60 countries. To partner with Open Doors USA, call toll free at 888-5-BIBLE-5 (888-524-2535) or go to our website at www.OpenDoorsUSA.org.
(For more information or to set up an interview, contact Open Doors USA Media Relations Director Jerry Dykstra at 616-915-4117 or email [email protected])