Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

01
Oct
09

100% certain that I am uncertain

September 27 was my three month wedding anniversary. We celebrated by going to another wedding. Its been like that all summer. We had friends who spent their two week wedding anniversary at our wedding. Yay for love!

I have several friends in serious relationships asking me questions like “how did you know he was the one?” The truth is, I never really 100% knew. I’m not a person who is ever 100% sure about anything. I’m not sure what kind of career I want, where I want to raise a family, whether I want a disneyland or a knotts berry farm pass. This constant uncertainty used to make me indecisive. It also used to make me think that I wasn’t hearing from God. However, I’ve come to the conclusion that I am a doubter by nature and God could probably write something on my bedroom wall and I would still question whether or not it was what I should do. So now I pray and go with what I’m pretty sure God wants me to do. It’s a risk, I know, but God is a pretty powerful being and one thing I am 100% sure of is that if I start down the wrong path, He’ll let me know.  So I was never 100% sure that my husband was “the one” (which, btw, i don’t actually believe in the concept of  “the one” but that is a discussion for another time.) But I was about 95% sure, which was way more certainty than I had felt for anything, so I figured that was good enough. And wouldn’t you know it….three months into I’m now 100% sure. He was definately worth the risk.

20
Aug
09

Orissa Christians Still Without A Voice

When you visit www.orissaindia.com, you are met with a normal government website. It talkes about upcoming festivals, shares recent news and displays maps of the area. You would never know that in the actual state of Orissa, India there is exreme violence against a religious minority. The site does not talk about the thousands of Christians who have been killed in that region over the past year, simply for being Christian. Nor does it share the stories of thousands of other Christians who are forced to live in refuge camps because Hindu extremists have burned down thier homes and threatened thier lives. Allow me to share thier stories with you now.

22
Jul
09

What if your city banned Christianity?

Earlier this month the official leaders of the Katin village in Laos confiscated the livestock of all the Christians in that village. The Christians felt violated and mistreated, but it was nothing in comparison to what was about to take place.

On July 11th, the village officials called a special meeting for all residents and announced that they had “banned the Christian faith in our village.”

The chief of Katin village, along with village security, social and religious affairs officials, warned all 53 Christian residents that they should revert to worshiping local spirits in accordance with Lao tradition or risk losing all village rights and privileges – including their livestock and homes, according to advocacy group Human Rights Watch for Lao Religious Freedom (HRWLRF). The Katin chief also declared that spirit worship was the only acceptable form of worship in the community.

When I read stories like these, I like to put things into perspective with my way of life. What if the mayor of my town took away all the Christians cars? I would feel like it was a violation of my rights, something a mayor should not have the power to do. Then, what if a month later we were all called to a town meeting where the mayor announced that the Christian faith was banned. It would be unconstitutional, and unfair…..something that could never happen here in the US, right?

Actually the Laos Constitution allows for freedom of religion, just like our constitution does. So technically this should be just as unlikely to happen to believers there, as it would be here….yet they are still experiencing this unreal persecution.

When we put ourselves in their shoes, let us pray for them, not only for their protection and encouragement, but to empathetically pray for their rights and freedom.

16
Jul
09

Meet the Persecuted- Uyger Christians in China

Testimony of Uygur Christians in China

“That must be Mamat* now,” Helen said when she heard a faint knock on the door of the apartment.  Moments later a 20-something man with grey pants and a brown cargo jacket was standing in the Open Doors office, twisting his Uygur (pronounced WEE-ger) cap in his hands. 

Helen led him to a seat and offered him some tea. “Green Tea or Berryblossom White?” 

“Oh, may I try the berry tea?” he asked very politely, still twisting the cap in his hands.  He knew that if he was discovered sitting in the apartment of foreign Christians, the consequences could be serious.  Yet he wanted to meet with us and share his experience of life as a Muslim convert in one of the most restricted parts of China. 

Mamat was from a Muslim family, and as a teenager he was very eager to defend Islam.  He said he and his brothers would often hit his sister if her skirts were too short, or if she went out with boys without supervision. 

When he was 17 years old, a friend gave him a political tape to listen to—the tape urged the Uygurs to rise up against the government and declare an independent homeland.  Mamat did not agree with the opinions expressed, but listened to the tape out of loyalty to his friend. 

Just a few days later, officers from China’s Public Security Bureau arrested Mamat. At the police station, he was put through an interrogation. “Yes, I did listen to the tape,” he told them, “but I didn’t understand it. Please forgive me – I won’t do it again!” But in spite of his pleas of innocence, he was charged and sentenced to 40 days in prison. 

He was thrown into a concrete cell crowded with 20 men. Conditions were very sparse, with thin mats on the cement floors for bedding. The men were fed water and steamed bread for breakfast, water at lunchtime and another piece of steamed bread for their evening meal. Mamat soon felt weak and dizzy when he tried to stand up. 

The time in prison made him desire to live an even more devout life.  After his release, Mamat knelt every day on his prayer mat at work. However as time passed he hungered for something more than the ritual of those empty prayers. 

Eventually Mamat moved to a university in a large city in China where he hoped to study English. At the university, a classmate shared the story of Jesus with him. He listened warily, remembering a time when another “political” message not popular with the Chinese government had landed him in prison. 

There was a strong pull in these new stories about “God’s Son” named Jesus. Surprising even himself, Mamat agreed to go along to a restaurant and meet a foreigner who was speaking with a small group of Chinese students. At that meeting the foreigner invited Mamat to meet with him at his home once a week, to read and discuss the Bible. Mamat was so hungry for truth that he agreed.

He met faithfully with the teacher for a full year, touched by his faithfulness and friendship. Finally Mamat realized that if people had believed in Jesus for 2,000 years, and if Jesus had that much influence throughout history, then the message of the gospel must be true. After 12 months of deep soul-searching, he committed his life to Christ.  

At the time, he was sharing a dormitory with five other young men, all of them Uygurs. The foreign Christian had given him a partial translation of the Uygur Bible, which he kept hidden under his pillow. He would bring it out at night when nobody else was in the room.  One night, one or two of his fellow students saw him reading the Bible and began to ask questions. The problem was, they were very difficult questions, ones for which Mamat had no answers. 

As we sat drinking tea (Mamat seemed to like it), we handed over another book in Uygur that answered similar questions on faith. As Mamat leafed through its pages, his face lit up. “This book is exactly what I needed,” he told us, “a real answer to prayer!” 

Uygur Christians face double persecution. They are persecuted by their Muslim families, neighbors and imams (religious leaders) who believe conversion to another faith is a rejection of the Uygur culture and everything it stands for. Persecution also comes from the Chinese government. Authorities are wary of the Uygur people because of their drive for an independent homeland in northwest China. A Uygur who becomes a Christian is immediately marked as a double traitor to the People’s Republic. 

Knowing the risks, Mamat continues to share his faith with his fellow students. A few months ago he started an English conversational group that meets in a tea shop outside the university. There, they discuss the issues of faith and the meaning of life, often reading passages from the Bible. 

That day over our cups of hot tea, Mamat asked us to pray for wisdom for the future. Life back in his hometown is very difficult because his friends remain true to Islam and do not understand why Mamat no longer attends prayers at the mosque. His prayer is that God would protect him and show him the way to reach his own people.

* Names and photographs hidden for security reasons

08
Jul
09

The parable of the Sower

Matthew 13:1-23 tells the parable of the sower. A farmer sows seed in many places. He scatters seed on the road, but the birds eat it. He scatters seed in rocky soil, but the sun scorches them. He plants among thorns, but the thorns choke the plants. Finally he plants in good soil, where the plants grow healthy and produce and bountiful crop.

Verse 21 says “But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away.” Without being firmly rooted in the word, love and life of God, no Christian can withstand troubles and persecution. This blog highlights thousands of Christians all over the world who are firmly rooted in Christ and are therefore able to withstand the most intense persecution, sometimes to the point of death. Despite being discriminated against, verbally and physically abused, abandoned, forgotten and killed, these believers continue to persevere and remain deeply rooted in their faith.

We invite you to join our community. We are one body in Christ, when one suffers we all suffer. When one is persecuted we are all persecuted.  The stories of the persecuted church must be heard. Their suffering must not be in vain, but must be shared to encourage the body and further the Kingdom of God. We encourage you to read the stories and share them on your own blog along with your thoughts, experiences and prayers.




The purpose of the blog

To EDUCATE, ENLIGHTEN and ENCOURAGE. To be a voice to those who have none, a voice that is LOUDER than their persecution, oppression and pain. A righteous voice that is LOUDER than the enemy.

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