This year Open Doors is asking churches and small groups in Australia and New Zealand to participate in A Dedicated Faith. We want to see Muslims who are seeking God, find who He truly is and come learn the truth about Jesus. We also want to uplift Christians living in Islamic countries throughout Ramadan.
Ramadan, an opportune time…
Ramadan is a month in the Islamic calendar running from 6 June – 5 July. During these 30 days, Muslims will fast during sunlight hours, and pray in order to get closer to Allah. Muslim’s believe that it was during Ramadan that the first revelations of the Quran were made to Muhammad.
We asked our CEO, Mike, to tell us what has challenged or encouraged him in his faith this year. These were his answers…
1. Indonesia: ‘We will not stop hunting Christians’
‘We will not stop hunting Christians’ – these have to be some of the most chilling words I heard from last year, words used by extremists after they had burnt this church down. This image really brings to life the reality of persecution in Indonesia. It’s an image that for me really conveys stress, anxiety, pressure and fear.
2. Egypt: 21 Christians killed, Believers respond with love Continue reading
It took far more than courage for Brother Andrew to load his VW with Bibles and drive to the border checkpoint of communist countries. He knew his car would be searched by Soviet Border Troops. It took trust in God’s call to take the scriptures to believers behind the Iron Curtain, and inside the Berlin wall to East Germany.
Recently, twenty-nine Open Doors supporters from six countries embarked on a two-week adventure, tracing the roots of Open Doors in Central Europe. You might call it following the pathway of a pioneer – remembering 60 years of serving the Persecuted Church. One of these supporters, who also works for Open Doors, went along and wrote about their experience.
THE CHECKPOINT AND THE HIDDEN BIBLES
One of our first stops, we went to a now abandoned checkpoint. Teams once took campervans lined with bibles through here, praying the ‘Smuggler’s Prayer’ – “Lord Jesus, when you were upon earth you made blind eyes see…I pray now you make seeing eyes blind.” Guards turned a blind eye and allowed people to pass through the border gates unrestricted. Continue reading
History of the World Watch List
On 15 July 1955, a young Dutch Christian man called Andrew took the train to a mass communist convention in Warsaw, Poland. In his suitcase, he carried booklets, titled ‘The Way of Salvation’, to make sure that he could share the Gospel in the midst of communist rhetoric, oppression and thinking.
A country behind the Iron Curtain, Poland steered towards the end of the severely repressive Stalinist era. In the country, Andrew heard the story of the persecuted Church firsthand. He began telling the story of this persecuted Church back home and supporting them, bringing Bibles in a Volkswagen Beetle. It was the beginning of Open Doors, sixty years later grown into an international ministry serving the persecuted Church around the world.
Nowadays, the World Watch List is Open Doors’ main tool of measuring persecution and listing where Christian faith costs the most. In 1955, such a list did not exist. However, looking back over sixty years of serving the persecuted Church – and with today’s knowledge – what countries could have ended up in a 1955 World Watch List? Continue reading
One important part of our ministry over many recent years has been the annual Open Doors World Watch List. Since 2003, through research conducted by contacts and leaders in the field, Open Doors have ranked the top 50 countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian.
Although Open Doors and our supporters have been aware of the suffering faced by Christians for many decades, the past 12 months particularly, have seen a wave of persecution directed at Christian communities making international headlines:
- The Islamic State sweeping across Iraq and the civil war in Syria seeing scores killed and displacing hundreds of thousands of people.
- The April kidnapping of more than 250 girls from the predominately Christian village of Chibok in Nigeria.
- The imprisonment of Christian Meriam Ibrahim in Sudan.
- The brutal November murder of Christian couple Shama Bibi and Shehzad Masih in Pakistan – the list goes on and on.
The Top 10 countries where Christians face the most pressure and violence in 2015 are Continue reading
The following includes excerpts taken from the book titled, ‘God’s Call’ (2002) by Brother Andrew, founder of Open Doors.
“The political, social, and spiritual landscape of the earth has shifted dramatically since [Brother Andrew] first visited the communist world in 1955.”
The impact of the Berlin Wall during the years of 1961 – 1989 cannot be underestimated – it separated loved ones, isolated all those inside East Berlin and denied them of hope, even to the point of committing suicide for many.
However, the Berlin Wall also somehow served to strengthen God’s church. Continue reading