Welcome to Pindaya, Myanmar (formerly known as Burma), where tourists and pilgrims from around the world journey to see the limestone caves and over 8000 golden statues that are set up as a shrine to Buddha.
Nearby, a missionary pastor quietly transforms his humble home into a church for former Buddhists who are now disciples of Jesus. All of them are now outcasts.
This story was first published in our Frontline Faith Magazine – The Rise of Extremism Edition.
Aung* and his wife Phyu* were once devout Buddhists. Aung worked as a carpenter until his conversion in 2012.
Constantly working to earn ‘merits’ through good deeds, Aung sponsored boys to train in the monastery, practised meditation and learned rituals for casting out evil spirits.
Young Buddhist Monks in Myanmar
It was Aung’s older sister who changed the course of his life. She had invited Aung and Phyu to a Christian meeting. They were moved by the worship and teaching and gave their lives to Jesus.
Over the last year, Sunita* (25) and her sister Meena* (32) have endured intense persecution from members of their village.
This article was first published in our Frontline Faith Magazine – The Rise of Extremism Edition. We have included a September 2016 update at the end of this article.
Their persecution started with their father Meena tells us. “He did not lock us up. But in every aspect we had to take care of ourselves. The entire village rejected us, but we were blessed by the Lord.” Continue reading
Recently we spoke to Brother Simon* who works for Open Doors with North Korean believers. Simon has worked with the North Korean underground church for many years. He knows exactly how deadly working with Christians in North Korea is.
Kim Jong-Un’s government has sent hundreds of security officials along the North Korean border with China. The aim – to kidnap, and now kill, missionaries and others helping North Korean refugees.
For North Korea, the murder of Pastor Han Choong Yeol in April was a warning to everyone helping North Korean refugees and in particular Christians. Brother Simon is aware of the risks and lives everyday knowing the danger of this ministry.
Life in North Korea.
In April, North Korean secret agents martyred a Korean-Chinese pastor who lived in a town on the Chinese border with North Korea. Pastor Han Choong Yeol was active in helping North Korean refugees. He helped provide food, medicines, clothes and other goods they needed for survival back in North Korea. Pastor Han was dedicated to serving God’s Kingdom and sharing the good news of Jesus Christ.
Paston Han. Image: Weixin
On Saturday 30 April, Pastor Han left his home just after noon, expected back at 5pm. When he didn’t return, people went out in search of him. They found him in the early evening with multiple stab wounds. Continue reading
View over West Lake in Hangzhou, China.
The G20 Summit just finished in Hangzhou, China. While the most publicised event was arguably President Obama’s Air Force One staircase incident, a lot happened over the few days.
But some things didn’t make the news.
This blog was written by Emma, an Open Doors Australia worker.
Suaad Has Been A Tailor In Iraq Since The 1980s.
I met Suaad when I travelled to Iraq earlier this year. Suaad has worked as a tailor since the 1980s, in Mosul. In 2014, Islamic State militants forced her to leave her home overnight. Now Suaad is staying with her brother and his family in a city in northern Iraq. She’s a widow and has no children, and hasn’t been able to return to her town.
She said, “I feel heavy inside, not knowing what has happened to my town. But one thing I do know—God is still there. Whatever other people have done to us, God is the one in charge.” Continue reading