Christmas in North Korea: Nothing has changed, yet everything has changed.

At Christmas, as we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ our Immanuel, we are reminded that we serve a loving God who has promised that wherever we are or whatever we face, He will always be with us and will never leave us or forsake us.

God came to earth to be “with us”. His presence, through His Spirit, is a truth that we can cling to every day, alongside our persecuted brothers and sisters around the world.

We are also reminded that as Christians we are His Ambassadors and that the world will know this by the fact that we love one another (John 13:35).

Throughout 2014, the body of Christ has experienced turbulent times around the world. But this has always been coupled with an overwhelming response from the global church to pray, support and encourage each other in the midst of persecution.

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Kenya: Christians given warning to leave town, not to attend church, or else…

The tense atmosphere in Garissa, Kenya is at bursting point. Even before the verbal warnings to leave the town filtered through yesterday to the Christians and other non-Muslims living there, the news of a massacre in Mandera – of 36 non-Muslim quarry workers on the Somalia-Ethiopia border on Tuesday 2 December – would have been sure to put Christian believers on edge.

Open Doors contacts have been informed that Christians and other non-Muslims have been given verbal warnings to leave the town before Friday 5 December.

“They have been told to vacate their rental houses and move out of the town,” our contacts say. “Some have been issued notices by their landlords and are relocating to Madogo, a small trading centre neighbouring Garissa that is more open to non-Muslims.”

According to sources in the town, non-Muslims have been told what happened in Mandera was ‘mild’ compared to what will happen in Garissa if the threats to leave go un-heard. The Christians have also been warned not to attend church there on Sunday. Continue reading