Although she grew up in a Lebanese Christian family, Nasrin* (19) began doubting God, and even declared herself an atheist while in high school. But God intervened and now she tries to inspire others to see that God and science are not opposing forces.
Lebanon has the largest percentage of Christians of all the Middle Eastern countries, most of them descending from the early Christians living in the region since Biblical times. But these credentials don’t guarantee a healthy spiritual life, according to Nasrin. “Most Christians in Lebanon are just Christians on their ID. My family is listed as Christian, but they are not dedicated to any church,” she tells. “So as I grew up and reached high school age, I started to wonder who is God really? Do I believe in Jesus because I experienced Him, or do I say I’m a Christian just because this is the only religion I know?” Continue reading
Iraqi teen Asmaa* (16) had to run from the house she grew up in in Iraq. Now, it’s dawning on her that she may never return. Facebook is the only connection she has with her friends.
It was just after her 15th birthday, in mid-2014, when Asmaa’s life changed completely overnight. Her eyes reveal that the memories of those days are still vivid; speaking about it still overwhelms her with emotions, only allowing her to speak in a soft voice.
Growing up in a Christian family in Mosul hadn’t always been easy, but at least Asmaa had her friends, family and a large Christian community there. And a place to call ‘home’. Continue reading
North Korea ranked number one
North Korea – Watch tower as seen from the Yalu river
North Korea ranks number one for the 14th consecutive year in the Open Doors World Watch List, ranking the top 50 countries that persecute Christians. The Hermit Kingdom has ranked number one again as leader Kim Jong Un continues to try and stamp out organised religion in what he views as a challenge to his power. Continue reading
Although the war in Syria changed his life completely and has separated him from his family, Seif* (18) feels he is closer to God than ever before. And what hasn’t changed is that he still loves his country; he cannot wait to return and start rebuilding.
“Living in Syria is like being in the middle of a dangerous forest,” says Seif. When he starts sharing about how his life feels, at first it seems like he is telling a children’s story; like many in the Middle East he is a compelling storyteller. But this particular tale turns sour quickly, “There is danger everywhere; predators might be crawling up on you from every side, but it is dark, you can’t see clearly, and it’s difficult to get out. No one there has your growth and development in mind.” Continue reading
Pascuala was shot, abused and forced to witness family members killed, but that has only resulted in compassion for the vulnerable and a zeal for Christ.
In the late 1970’s, after several thousand believers from the Mexican state of Chiapas were expelled from their homes and land, they founded their own community, Betania or ‘Bethany’. Pascuala was one of the beleivers who lost her home and started Betania. Though short in stature, Pascuala has abounding compassion, making an impact throughout Chiapas. On a recent trip to Mexico, Open Doors had the chance to visit her and see her ministry.
Pascuala gently takes the hand of Carol, a member of our group, and places it on one side of her face. Guiding her hand, Carol feels the hard pellets still lodged in her face and neck. Twenty-one pellets still under her skin from the blasts of a shotgun which struck Pascuala 50 years ago at just 13 years of age. Continue reading
Christians in Laos feel the firm grip of Communism. Believers who meet for fellowship are regularly visited by authorities, while those who share the gospel face expulsion from their village, arrest and death threats. Thomas* is a believer on the run who has seen many come to Christ, “I have always been running. This is the third time I’ve escaped.”
When we met Thomas he was hiding in a Bible college outside Laos. “I have been crying for two days. I cannot sleep at night. I don’t know where to go and what to do next. I only have two choices: live an uncertain life, or go back to Laos and die.”
Thomas has paid dearly for sharing the gospel, unable to see his wife and children. “I just want a place of peace where I can stay legally. I also want to continue sharing the Gospel,” he says. “All my life I have suffered; I would like to have freedom. I also don’t want my family to suffer. At the moment, nobody is taking care of them. My wife does some farming to feed the family. If I could just go back, I would. I cannot call my wife nor can my wife call me. The government did something to our phones.” Continue reading