Global charity Open Doors has disputed the way in which statistics on Christian “martyrs” are collected, arguing that an annual figure of 90,000, recently reported widely, is significantly higher than the accurately verifiable number.
In urma cu citiva ani, pe cind seful meu in World Vision era un olandez, Rienk van Velzen, in timpul unei vizite in Olanda, am avut cinstea de a vizita sediul organizatiei Open Doors, din Harderwijk, infiintata de cunoscutul Brother Andrew, pe care l-am si cunoscut personal acum citiva ani inBetleem, Palestina. A fost emotionant pentru mine sa vad acolo si sa expolorez in interior microbuzele folosite de organizatie in perioada comunista pentru colportajul de Biblii in Europa de Est, cu ingenioasele lor sisteme de securitate si de camuflare a transporturilor clandestine.
Unul dintre unchii mei, Costel Georgescu, a fost unul dintre liderii retelei secrete de colportaj de Biblii. De fapt, a si platit pentru asta cu un an de inchisoare. Dat fiind ca si eu si tatal meu am fost implicati putin in aceste activitati clandestine, prin intermediul unchiului Costel i-am cunoscut si eu pe citiva dintre colportorii de la Open Doors. Unul dintre acestia, prieten apropiat cu unchiul meu, era ‘fratele Dick’ (nimeni nu folosea nume de familie in asemenea activitati, pentru a proteja conspirativitatea; si de fapt, nu stiam daca acesta era cu adevarat numele lui – unura dintre cei cu colaborat pe atunci nu le stiu nici acum numele real). Continue reading “Olandezul zburator – Povestea unui contrabandist de Biblii”
Coperta uneia dintre primele brosuri de colportaj (o colectie de versete pentru hrana spirituala zilnica)
Aceia dintre evanghelicii romani care s-au nascut inainte de 1960, cunosc, din experienta, penuria de Biblii si de literatura religioasa din acele decenii ale perioadei comuniste. Lucrurile aveau insa a se schimba radical, in contextul unor inundatii catastrofale care au avut loc in Romania in 1970. Continue reading “Literatura religioasa de colportaj in perioada comunista”
Saudi Arabia ranks as the second most difficult place to be a Christian on the Open Doors 2013 World Watch List. Due to the oppressive government, and persecution that is evident through society, the country ranks second only to the totalitarian regime of North Korea. Christ died for all, but many Saudi people do not know Christ – yet!
Today, in Mecca, the holiest Islamic city, the crowds are massive. The faithful have arrived to participate in a Hajj. For many, this is a once-in-a-lifetime journey. The Hajj, or pilgrimage, is part of the Five Pillars of Islam. All Muslims, if able, must make a pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in their lifetime. Those, who have and then return back to their homeland, are highly revered in their local communities. Many Muslims see the Hajj as the highlight of their life and believe that it will wash all their sins away. But, there are testimonies from Muslims, who have gone on pilgrimage, with an upright desire to obey God… instead God gave them a vision, telling them that they need Jesus. Continue reading “Open Doors – In The Name of Jesus – The Alpha and Omega”
NOTE: Tomorrow, 11 May, is a special day of prayer for Syria.
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As the civil war intensifies in Syria, Christians are increasingly more vulnerable to the violence. While all Syrians are suffering, Christians in particular are targeted. In the fight for Islam, Jihadi’s from abroad have come to Syria to ‘fight for Islam.’ In some areas of Homs and Aleppo, neighborhoods have been taken over by extremists and are now ruled by Islamic Sharia law.
Lisa Pearce is deputy CEO of Open Doors UK and Ireland, which works with partners worldwide to support Christians who are under pressure for their faith. She traveled to Lebanon in April to meet with Syrian Christians who have fled the violence in their homeland. Here are some of her observations:
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About 30 kilometres outside Syria’s western border, the Lebanon town of Zahle is full of refugees: Many make it across the Syria-Lebanon border and not much farther. With new refugees arriving every day, it seems that every spare building, shed and patch of ground is being rented by families or groups of families, at crippling prices. Even those leaving Syria with money can afford almost nothing in Lebanon. Before the uprising, Lebanese prices were several times higher than those in Syria. A colleague in Beirut, 90 minutes from the border, used to travel to Syria to shop for clothes because it was so much cheaper. Now, with more people competing for the same land, rooms or bunch of bananas, prices in the border town have rocketed, putting many essentials out of reach of desperate refugees.
On arriving at a church to meet our host for the few days, I was struck by how tiny it was: All we saw was a network of small rooms. And with only 50 members, it was greatly outnumbered by the refugees flooding into the town. Even so, they started going out to sit with a few families and understand their needs. They gathered what food, blankets and mattresses they could, and gave them to the families. They arranged for a doctor to come and visit the sick; They prayed with those who wanted prayer. And they visited more families, found more clothes, more mattresses. Two weeks before our visit, a large crowd of desperate, newly arrived refugees gathered outside the church and demanded food, mattresses and cooking materials. The church team were ‘five minutes from calling the police’. It is not easy. That little congregation now has been given funds from a partner organisation (which my organisation is working with inside Syria), and are helping many hundreds of families. Continue reading “Lisa Pearce – Zahle dispatch: Life among Syria’s Christian refugees”
This is my comfort in my affliction, for Your word has given me life.
Located in northeast Iraq, somewhat removed from the mainstreams of war, the mountains of Kurdistan are used by many as places of refuge.
Makruhi, a Christian teacher and servant of the Lord, knows the roads through the mountain passes well. But this year an early storm has made the trek more difficult. As her humble vehicle traverses the muddy ruts, she works hard to arrive on time.
High in a mountain village, 30 women are assembled, waiting for Makruhi to arrive. Some are ethnic Kurdish; others refugees, displaced from various cities in Iraq. All have suffered the ravages of war. Some are widowed, having lost not only their husbands, but also the provision they provided. Some have lost children. War is no discerner of persons. All suffer. Continue reading “Open Doors – Praying With Your Heart in Iraq”
All churches in Syria will unite in prayer on Saturday 11 May in many places all around the war-torn nation. This is a unique moment of unity of Christians in that country. The Syrian Christians ask their brothers and sisters all around the world to pray with them on that day.
We as MEE field office want to invite all Development bases to contact your contacts to get as much as possible Churches and individual Christians to join in. This is a real request from the persecuted church to join with them in prayer. During the events there will be video recording and pictures will be taken. They will be made available afterwards. (Open Doors) Continue reading “11 May – Special Day of Prayer for Syria – UPDATE”
While much of the Middle East and North Africa is undergoing change, one group especially is experiencing change for the worse: Christians. This is particularly true for Algerian Christians.
Mustapha Krim, the President of the Protestant Church of Algeria (EPA), was informed by police on May 22nd that all non-Muslim places of worship in Béjaïa Province, including the seven EPA churches he oversees, would be shut down. Algerian authorities based their decision to shut down the churches on the discriminatory Ordinance 06-03, which regulates non-Muslim worship. The EPA umbrella organization has been attempting to gain official recognition with the government for many years and finally obtained it this July. However, a total of 25 individual EPA churches have not been granted official registration although they applied through the appropriate channels. As a result, these Christian churches are still unprotected by the government and may be closed. Continue reading “Algeria – Crackdown on Christians”
Recently, turmoil has gripped countries across the Muslim world. In these times of uncertainty, many wonder what will happen to our brothers and sisters already paying a high price for following Jesus.
But, in the midst of turmoil and uncertainty, God is miraculously at work!
Day 6: God Will Act on Behalf of His Servants and Restore Fruitfulness of Life in North Korea
“For they will be a people blessed by the Lord.” Isaiah 65:23
When Japan was defeated in 1945 during World War II, Korea was divided into North (under Soviet Union rule) and a South (under US rule). After the North established the Democratic People’s Republic (DPRK) in 1948 severe persecution began in this communist country. Before the North invaded South Korea and started the Korean War (1950-1953) already two-thirds of the Christians had fled to the South.
The DPRK leader Kim Il Sung understood the power of worship and set himself up to be the only one to be worshipped. Statues of him were erected everywhere and people were required to bow down before them; those who did not honor him were labelled as an enemy of the state and persecuted. Kim Il Sung created a monolithic belief system called Juche. This belief system twists the Holy Trinity of Christianity by teaching that Kim Il Sung is god, his son Kim Jong Il is the Christ figure, and the ideology of Juche replaces the Holy Spirit. Kim Jong Il refers to Juche as “Kimilsungism.” Continue reading “Week of Prayer for North Korea – 6th Day”
Day 5: God is Leading His People in North Korea to Make for Himself a Glorious Name
…So He became their Savior. In all their affection He was afflicted, and the angel of His presence saved them; in His love and in His mercy He redeemed them, and He lifted them up and carried them all the days of old. Isaiah 63:8-9b
North Korea is often described as one huge prison. North Koreans can be imprisoned for virtually any state-defined crime, such as being a Christian, making a negative comment about the regime, traveling to China to look for food, failing to have a picture of Kim Il-Sung in their house or even failure to keep it clean enough. Punishment is not limited to the offender, but also three generations of the offender’s family. What compounds these situations for citizens are the severe violations of human rights that occur throughout the North Korean penal system, including systematic use of torture, forced abortions, public and private executions, use of humans for chemical and biological testing and extreme starvation. Continue reading “Week of Prayer for North Korea – 5th Day”
Day 4: The Lord Will Make North Korea a Praise in the Earth
The Lord has made proclamation to the ends of the earth; “Say to the Daughter of Zion, ‘See, your Savior comes’! See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him.'” They will be called the Holy People the Redeemed of the Lord; and you will be called Sought After, the City No Longer Deserted. Isaiah 62:11-12
North Korea is the most dangerous country in the world to be a Christian. Believers risk imprisonment and death just to own a Bible. And yet the Word of God continues to go out and to bring true freedom, especially in the cities near the Chinese border. Every year North Koreans risk their lives to cross over the border into China. Once they have crossed, the danger continues, but there are also opportunities to hear the Good News of Christ when they fall under the care of Christian safe houses. As they receive Christ and are discipled, many refugees return to North Korea at great personal risk to bring the Gospel message to their fellow citizens at home. Continue reading “Week of Prayer for North Korea – 4th Day”
Day 3: Pray that Children of North Korea Will be Known Among the Nations as Blessed of the Lord
Then their offspring will be known among the nations, and their descendents in the midst of peoples. All who see them will recognize them because they are the offspring whom the Lord has blessed! Isaiah 61:9
Can you imagine the sorrow of not being able to pass on your faith to your children? In North Korea this simple and natural act is dangerous for both believers and their children. Parents sometimes tell their children stories from the Bible as though they are fairy tales just so they can impart some of their faith to them. And they live out their lives as an example. But if caught overtly sharing their faith, they can be sent to prison…and their children with them. As soon as parents are arrested, their children are sent with them to the same prison camps where they then face an abysmal existence. They are forced into hard labor, and often their little bodies succumb to the physical toll. Not many children survive the prison camps, and any who do remain alive are severely traumatized. Continue reading “Week of Prayer for North Korea – 3rd Day”
Day 2: The Lord Will Glorify His Church in North Korea
And I shall glorify My glorious house. Isaiah 60:7b
In the midst of any crisis across the globe, Brother Andrew challenges us to ask the question “Is there a church?” In the midst of the current tension on the Korean peninsula, and in the wake of the announcement of heir-apparent Kim Jong-Un as the expected successor to the ailing current president, Kim Jong-Il, we ask, “Is there a church in North Korea?” Continue reading “Week of Prayer for the Persecuted Church in North Korea – 2nd Day”
North Korea is a dark country shrouded in mystery and silence. All that we know is what we have learned from defectors…or what the government of North Korea wants us to know. So much is uncertain. There are many questions with few answers.
Organizaţia creştină Open Doors, creată de cunoscutul lider creştin “Brother Andrew”, a dat publicităţii rezultatele ultimei sale analize cu privire la situaţia persecuţei religioase în lume. Comunicatul de presă poate fi accesat AICI. Pe acelaşi site puteţi urmări un scurt darputernic mesaj video rostit de Brother Andrew.