How you helped thousands of persecuted Christians
A message from ‘Brother John’, Open Doors director for Asia
In the town where I live, all shops were closed except for one. The government had brought food to this store so that people without a job – people like me – could get food for free. I hadn’t been able to give my wife and children any food for the last two days. Finally help had arrived and we’d be okay for at least a week or two.
When I got near to the shop, I saw dozens of other people already in line. I waited patiently and silently. Nobody spoke to me. That was alright. I was used to it. In just a few hours I could bring home a bag full of supplies. Yes, my legs hurt, but that didn’t matter. I couldn’t stop thinking about the smiles on the faces of my wife and children.
Finally, it was my turn. I took out my ration card and gave it to the shop owner behind the counter.
“Why are you here?” he said, ignoring the card.
“What do you mean, Sir?” I replied. “I’m here to collect food. Look, I have government permission. I qualify.”
“No, you don’t. You are a Christian. Get out of here.”
“I am a Christian, but I have a ration card.”
“Get lost. Or I’ll call the police. Do you want to spend the night in jail too? Go!”
I slowly put the ration card back in my pocket and left the store, ignoring everyone who stared at me. I didn’t go home, but walked to the river instead. My mind was racing. I prayed. I thought about a thousand ways to get food and about a million ways to tell my family that I wasn’t sure if we’d ever eat again. I wondered if I should jump from the bridge.
A reality? Not for me and not for you, but for many brothers and sisters across Asia. The COVID-19 crisis and the ensuing lockdowns have led to harrowing situations. My teams and our local partners have received an incredible number of text messages and phone calls.
When the first desperate messages came in, I had a virtual meeting with all my leaders. I wanted to know just one thing from them: can we help?
“With God’s grace, we can,” they replied, and they went to work.
Fast forward six months. I've received our reports, and I'm informed that thanks to supporters like you, Open Doors has been able to help over 163,000 individuals receive emergency aid.
This is incredible. Over 163,000 persecuted Christians have received essential survival kits with food and sanitation items such as soap and face masks. My heart is filled with gratitude, because I know the stories behind the number.
I think of a community of ignored deaf Christians in Central Asia, who were forced to eat grass because nobody gave them anything. They received food and love.
I think of our local partners in Myanmar who risked their lives to visit cut off Christian families. They gave food and love.
I think of North Korean Christians who secretly were able to contact us in China. They collected food and love.
I thank God for opening doors and I thank God for you. You see, those 163,000 people were all at risk of severe malnutrition and even dying because of starvation. If hope is like a rope, they had come to the end of it. Thanks to you, we were able to give them a new rope, one that is stronger and longer than the one they had.
Thank you for getting us this far. You have been a source of inspiration. Your prayers and gifts mean that we know that God is with us in this difficult and often dangerous ministry.
The work is not done yet, however.
We all know that Covid-19 is still among us. We will continue to work to help the Persecuted Church in Asia survive. In Open Doors we have a saying: ‘Work as if everything depends on you and pray as if everything depends on God’. In other words: we work with the skills and understanding the Lord has given us, yet, we realize that outside of God we cannot do anything. We need Him to come through for us, so we pray.
Thank you for your prayers, thank you for support, thank you for your love for God’s children.
Thanks to you, the man from the beginning of this letter came home during the evening, to find bags filled with rice, cooking oil, vegetables, and much more. The smiles on the faces of his wife and children had never been so bright.