Never before has Open Doors distributed so much food and Christian materials in North Korea. Despite decades of persecution, the church continues to survive underground with an estimated 200,000 -400,000 believers. North Korean Christians assure us there is victory even when they are tortured and killed. “Your help is proof that God has not forgotten us,” said one local Christian, as the North Korean Church continues to expand.
Distribution – In 2011, Open Doors International distributed almost 47,000 Bibles, Bible reference books and other Christian materials in North Korea. That is 10,000 more than the previous year.
Training – Open Doors secretly provided biblical training to more than 5,000 North Korean believers through a network created to help and train North Korean defectors and believers living in China’s border areas. In addition, around 50 North Korean women living in China received training. Open Doors organized a seminar for other Christian mission organizations working in North Korea. Over100 people attended.
Community Development -Open Doors gave emergency aid (food, medicine, clothing and other goods) to 56,000 Christians in 2011, helping 2,000 more than in 2010. Around a thousand refugees and their families received help through Open Doors’ safe houses in China.
The wave of revolutions that began in Tunisia last spring continues to affect Christians and the ministry of Open Doors. As the Body of Christ struggles for its survival in the Middle East, a massive emigration has begun, especially out of Iraq. In the long run, as people discover the face of Islam, they will find that strict religious law destroy their freedom just as it did in Iran. Iran now has the highest rate of Muslims converting to Christianity in the region. Literally millions of Muslims in the Middle East have encountered the Gospel message in recent years, which was impossible before the advent of satellite TV and the Internet.
Distribution – In 2011, Bible and literature distribution increased significantly in the Middle East, with 436,500 pieces delivered throughout the region, up 61% from last year. Borders opened up in Tunisia and Libya during the Arab Spring unrest. During the short window of time when there were no checks at the Libyan border with Egypt, more Bibles reached Libya than in the previous 42 years. In Syria, Open Doors distributed as much as possible while it was still safe to travel.
Training – More than 103,000 received training during 2011; an increase of almost 85,000 Christians over 2010. In Algeria, Iraq and Syria, Open Doors organized increased training seminars and prayer meetings to prepare Christians for the turmoil inside their countries.
Community Development – Almost 10,700 people were helped; a 69% increase over last year. This was largely due to the increase in relief aid given to Syria (5,000 people) and Iraq (almost 4,400 people). Working through local partner organizations, Open Doors extended livelihood support to 560 people during 2011 enabling these Christians to support themselves. Social service projects, such as prison ministry and vocational training, helped over 640 people. School support, community building projects and women’s economic empowerment programs helped almost 500 people in 2011. Relief aid benefited almost 9,000 people.
The revolution that ousted President Hosni Mubarak on February 11, 2011, briefly brought Muslims and Christians together against a hated dictator to demand an end to corruption as well as a solution to structural poverty and rising unemployment. In the aftermath, however, Muslim-Christian relations deteriorated. The overall situation for Christians worsened in 2011; there was a substantial increase both in numbers of Christians killed or physically harmed and of churches/houses attacked. Distribution, training and Christian community development opportunities, especially within the Orthodox Church, rose with the huge need in Egypt in 2011.
Distribution – Open Doors delivered over 60% more biblical literature in 2011, more than 207,500 pieces.
Training – Over 46,000 people, 36,000 more than in 2010, received training. The largest increase was in training Sunday school teachers where almost 3,000 teachers were trained. Over 20,000 people received Believer Bible training, an increase of 15,000 from 2010, and overall Christian worker training doubled in 2011.
Community Development – Most Christians were helped through Relief/Aid projects. Assistance was given to more than three times the number of people in 2011 (5,160 people) than in 2010. Open Doors provided livelihood support to 900 more people than in 2010. Social services also surged to care for over 10,600 more people, with over 5,800 of them receiving medical care. Church restoration and relief aid benefited thousands more. Throughout the turmoil, Open Doors has been there to help.
Distribution – In 2011, distribution increased 54% in Africa with over 64,000 Bibles, Christian literature and training materials delivered. Open Doors distributed more than a third of this number, 1,178 Bibles, to children from 81 churches in Nigeria because authorities force all children to attend Islamic Religious Studies. Also in 2011, new opportunities for distribution of Bibles opened up in Eritrea.
Training – Almost 11,000 people were trained in Africa in 2011, with the greatest increases in Nigeria, Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda. There was a significant rise in new students in Nigerian and Kenyan seminars, especially those on Holistic Awareness.
Community Development – Over 16,600 Christians were helped with projects in 2011. Livelihood support was significantly increased in Nigeria by offering assistance to farmers and through new community development programs. In Nigeria, Eritrea and Ethiopia, Open Doors also expanded its emergency relief programs.
“Our country lacks a fundamental Christian education,” said a Central Asian pastor. “People read low quality books written by unqualified authors that causes many problems, arguments and divisions in the churches. But your books unite people in their faith! I cannot express how your help is important for the churches in our country!”
Distribution – Open Doors and its partners delivered Christian literature and approximately 470,000 Bibles to countries in Central Asia, an increase of 12% over 2010. Some literature was distributed on CDs, DVDs, SD-cards and small PDF-size books. Because of the variety of national languages in this region, many new people were trained in translation projects. In 2010, Open Doors was asked by Uzbek church leaders to distribute Biblical literature to about 7 million Uzbeks who work in Russia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. These workers travel between countries allowing them to deliver materials enroute! Training – In Uzbekistan, where unregistered religious activities are illegal, Open Doors provided resources for short seminars which are less likely to be discovered by the authorities.
Community Development -The number of beneficiaries more than doubled in 2011 because additional funds were provided for Christmas gifts, celebrations in some churches, children’s outreach and assistance to those who left the church because of fear. Almost 7,700 benefited under Social Services programs, an increase of 1,700 from 2010; 6,000 were orphans or children who needed care.
Disruptive violence against evangelists, pastors and church gatherings in remote or rural areas continues to occur on a monthly basis in India. “Hindu extremism going viral is the greatest threat to the church today,” said a church leader. Yet the church is growing significantly due to amazing success among the lower castes and untouchables.
Distribution – The demand for Bibles was greater in 2011 than in previous years. Almost 65,000 Bibles and other biblical literature went into India, a 111% increase. Because Open Doors was able to reach more churches and Sunday school teachers, the distribution of Children’s Bibles and children’s materials grew tremendously. Over 3,300 Children’s Bibles were delivered; none were distributed in 2010! Open Doors more than doubled the amount of children’s materials delivered from the previous year, over 26,500 pieces.
Training – 2011 saw a big increase in participation in Open Doors’ seminars for women and leadership. Over 8,300 Christians benefited from training, up from 5,900 in 2010. The church in India, however, currently needs leadership and capacity building to keep up with the increased growth due to church planting. Most Christian leaders find that their main problem lies in dealing with the grinding poverty levels.
Community Development – Emergency help grew significantly because of the distribution of relief materials to the needy. Increased numbers of Christians in Orissa and Chhattisgarh received vocational training, community building support, practical aid and assistance, 6,100 more people than in 2010.
South East Asia
Distribution – Almost 136,000 pieces of biblical literature were distributed in 2011. Because of the need in the Philippines, 1,500 pieces, including training materials for MBBs, were delivered where none were supplied in 2010. Open Doors delivered 76,800 Children’s Bibles in 2011, a 74% increase over 2010.
Vietnam received 70,000 copies as they celebrated the centennial anniversary in June of the gospel’s entry into the country. In Bangladesh, 6,000 copies of the Children’s Storybook were delivered.
Training – Nearly 30,700 people received training throughout 2011 in seminars and leadership conferences focusing on equipping churches and organizations for outreach to Muslims and biblical training for women.
Community Development – Over 25,500 Christians were given assistance in Southeast Asia in 2011, more than double those helped in 2010. Open Doors continues to be known for bringing quick assistance to victims of persecution by giving practical aid, income-generating loans, agricultural skills help and livelihood training. Famine in Myanmar, constant flooding in Bangladesh and serious drought in Vietnam were causes of the increased aid under emergency help (almost 16,000 people). Literacy training reached 5,700 people.
Distribution – Over the past 30 years, the Open Doors Asia office has distributed more than 40 million pieces of literature in China. In 2011, however, Open Doors shifted its policies and began sending less Bibles into China. As China experiences a strong economic growth, many churches can now afford to purchase Bibles. Open Doors therefore spent much of 2011 training church and marketplace leaders in Bible leadership. In addition, a growing number of formerly rural churches that have moved to the cities are fueling Christian development and a church revival. Churches that have been strengthened for decades by foreign resources are now learning to be less dependent on external support.
Distribution/Training – Training materials accounted for two-thirds of the 208,900 pieces of biblical literature delivered in the Gulf. More than 25,400 people benefited from training, with Christian worker training doubling and 8,850 people going through the Literacy and Vocational Training Program.
Community Development – 350 families were assisted through the Model Farm project that provided them with seeds and technical know-how to become self-sufficient. Open Doors’ partners were able to show Christ’s love in action to over 3,900 people by providing medical care and pastoral ministry. Open Doors also allocated 50 scholarships enabling 50 Christian children to receive a higher education.
Thank You, Father, for the generosity of the Open Doors supporters who willingly pray and financially support persecuted Christians. As You have blessed them, they have poured back in blessing to Your church. Thank You for them. We praise You for what You are doing through Open Doors and similar organizations to strengthen Your church around the world, from Egypt to Somalia, from China to Afghanistan. Grant wisdom, Lord, to Open Doors’ leaders as they allocate resources globally to serve Your church in places where faith costs the most. In the name of Jesus whom we serve, Amen.