The advancement of Islam and traditional religions in Africa place Christians in very difficult circumstances. The Church needs to be equipped to face these challenges or else the battle for the hearts and minds of Africans will be lost. Open Doors aims to train some of Africa's future Christian leaders and to provide them with the tools they need to bring this continent to Christ. We also aim to ensure that these new Christians have the Bibles and other Christian literature they need to grow in their faith and spread His Word to their communities!
The Church in this area is facing severe restrictions. Christians have very little freedom and in some cases it is illegal for them to meet. Christians face expulsion, discrimination, imprisonment and martyrdom for their allegiance to Christ. There is an immense need for indigenous church leadership as well as discipleship within native settings. There is also a great lack of Scriptures and spiritual literature in the indigenous languages.
China has a Christian population of at least 80 million today. Although the face of persecution has changed a lot, the Church among China’s minority groups – especially the Muslim Uyghurs and the Buddhist Tibetans – is very persecuted indeed. The government persecute them because they are perceived as part of a troublesome minority. The local community leaders, Buddhist priests and Muslim Mullahs, also persecute them because they distance themselves from certain community practices as a result of their Christian faith. Up until the mid-1990s, the dominant need of the Chinese Church was for copies of the Bible. But today the Bible need has been “significantly met,” with local churches able to finance, print and distribute Bibles themselves. The pressing need is to ensure that Christians are discipled, and Christian leaders are mentored, so that the Chinese Church may continue to mature.
Christians in Southeast Asia face much hostility from extremist Muslims, Buddhists and Hindus in this region. Increasingly these groups want to limit, as much as possible, Christian worship and witness through legislation, intimidation and discrimination. It is becoming very challenging to be a disciple of Christ in this region. Christians face discrimination, restrictions, closure of churches, torture, imprisonment and martyrdom for their faith.
Christians in Latin America face revolutionaries, drug lords, and religious extremists in conflicts. Christians are often caught in the crossfire between warring factions. Failure to side with either of the groups often result in imprisonment on false charges or death. In Mexico Christians are persecuted for not participating in traditional rituals prescribed by chieftains. They are also often falsely accused of crimes due to their refusal to deny Christ.
The Middle East is the birthplace of the Christian Church. Yet today, in some areas, the Church has almost been eliminated under Islamic pressure. The decline of the Church and the Islamic revival that is spreading in Middle Eastern countries are of great concern to Open Doors. Our vision is to strengthen the Church in the Middle East, and equip Christians to be the salt and the light in their part of the world and to refrain from emigrating and leaving the area without a Christian witness.