Christians living in predominately Muslim countries that are currently experiencing revolutions are asking; “Will there be more freedom or more persecution?” Nobody knows. What is certain is that new opportunities to provide help, both physically and spiritually, for our brothers and sisters in Christ have opened up. “That’s why we have increased the number of Bibles, books, DVDs and other Christian materials,” said Stephan, an Open Doors worker for the Middle East and North Africa. “Our couriers and contacts are working very hard to achieve this; we don’t know when the borders will close. Now is the time to bring God’s Word in unprecedented amounts to Christians in these countries. Our warehouses will empty soon.”
Even though the chaos offers opportunities, there are also serious threats to Open Doors’ work. “It’s much harder to bring together groups of people into safe locations,” said Stephan. “That means it’s much more difficult to offer training courses.” There is also concern for the future. “Libya is a big concern for us because the chances are great that a humanitarian crisis will occur,” Stephen added. “Most foreign Christians have left the country – about 75 percent of them. But the church leaders are still there, which is a testimony in itself.”
Over the last several months our attention has been focused on the news reports coming from the Middle East and North Africa. But the most encouraging messages do not come through CNN or other news channels. They come instead- almost unnoted – through e-mails to Open Doors.
Nasira, a A Christian from a Muslim background who comes to Christ. More (MBB) from North Africa, e-mailed Open Doors with these encouraging words. “The situation in our region is very uncertain, but my underground brothers and sisters are in dire need of so many things, most of all the Word of God. That’s why I am traveling to distribute Bibles. I need your prayers.”
Another e-mail reads; “I live in the heart of Islam – in Mecca. I came through faith by reading about Jesus Christ on your website. Now I want to tell my family about Him. Where do I start?”
It is short testimonies like these that give Stephan hope, strength and vision for the region. “Whether the situation improves or deteriorates, we will not abandon our persecuted brothers and sisters,” he says. Dr. Carl Moeller, president/CEO of Open Doors USA, adds, “Our fellow Christians in the Middle East and northern Africa need our prayers and support now more than ever. There is so much chaos and uncertainty from day to day. Please pray that this will be an opportunity to further the kingdom of God through Bible delivery, training and social/economic aid.”
Father, in the midst of ongoing unrest in the Middle East, we look to You as the one and only sovereign God. We pray that through political shifts and regime changes, doors-that were once shut will now be opened so that Your Word can be spread through-out the region. And as Open Doors works with urgency we ask that You fill their storehouses to capacity. Father, there are many who are hungry for a relationship with You, fill this hunger with Your Holy Spirit, making Your presence known. We pray that more people would come to a saving knowledge of Christ, and Your glory would be displayed throughout the region. Amen
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Additional Prayer Alerts
Following in his brothers’ footsteps, Paul Bhatti, the newly named “special adviser” to the Prime Minister, hopes bring justice to minorities in Pakistan.
Political, ethnic and religious clashes are occurring in Nigeria preceding the upcoming presidential election. Christians ask for our prayers as the possibility of instability during and after the polls remains high.
Francisco Melendez, a devote Christian who loved spreading the gospel through songs of worship and praise, had his earthly voice silenced on April 13, 2009.