2020 Impact - Africa

The very survival of the persecuted Church was at stake when the COVID-19 pandemic took hold in Africa.

Your support helped the Church hold on through a dark time.

Christians suffered not only because of the virus – but because violent persecution continued and even intensified.

Your support helped bring vital emergency aid for 30,000 of the most vulnerable individuals and families in West and East – all facing severe persecution and poverty caused by the lockdowns.

This faithful generosity sent a clear message to persecuted Christians: you are not alone. Thank you so much.

In 2021, our goal is to reach 50,000 of the most vulnerable believers with emergency relief – and many more with long-term support. Will you continue to stand with them in prayer and support?

"Most people who received support were surprised. They never thought someone from the other side of the globe is concerned about them, sharing resources with them."

Field Worker, Africa

“We slept yesterday without eating. But this food you’ve provided is like a dream. We thank God! We appreciate His faithfulness! May he bless and protect you.”

-Linda Markus

Programme Manager, the Middle East

Your questions answered.


How did COVID-19 affect the persecuted church in Sub-Saharan Africa?


Persecuted Christians are often among the poorest and most vulnerable people in society – so they were hit hardest
by the virus and by lockdowns.

But they also suffered because persecution was amplified.
Churches were closed. This meant offerings and financial contributions dried up. So churches were unable to care
for staff or vulnerable believers. Their capacity to provide practical and spiritual support was reduced.

Travel restrictions meant pastors couldn’t visit isolated believers. House churches couldn’t meet. Violence and discrimination continued. In some areas, Christians were blamed for causing the pandemic. Converts, for whom declaring their faith is risky, could not depend on their community for help in the crisis.

Believers are increasingly fearful, discouraged and anxious. Many feel hopeless and traumatized. The full psychological impact has yet to be realized.


How did my support help in the Middle East/North Africa in 2020?


Thanks to you, Open Doors intervened with food and relief for more than 30,000 individuals and families in 2020. This emergency aid saved lives. It restored hope and confidence, and strengthened believers to stand firm on God’s promises.


What help do persecuted Christians need now?


Open Doors’ vision is to reach 50,000 persecuted believers who are the most vulnerable in 2021. Persecuted
believers still need support with basic aid like food and supplies, to ensure they can survive the devastating impact
of the pandemic. For many families, the crisis is not over.
Long-term, people need:

• micro-finance and economic empowerment – to help families recover from lost income
• trauma healing – to overcome grief, and ensure Christians are resilient in faith
• family discipleship and care-givers programmes – to strengthen the church, starting at home


How can I pray?


Your prayers make a powerful difference and your help in this way is vitally important.


• Lift up Africa’s persecuted believers to the Lord. Pray for resilience, strength and encouragement. Ask that our brothers and sisters be filled with hope, and never feel alone.

• Pray for an end to the pandemic and lockdown restrictions across Africa.

• Pray for wisdom and courage for our teams who serve persecuted believers with care and diligence. Ask for God’s protection over them.

Please, will you stand with persecuted Christians?


Your long-term support can keep hope alive beyond the pandemic into an uncertain future.


Please prayerfully consider if the time is right to commit to pray for and support your persecuted family regularly, if you don't already do so.

“When I was told to come and collect a gift, I was thinking of a little token. To be surprised by this much... my body has started shaking. This is what God alone can do.”

Persecuted Christian, Africa