January 10, 2016
By Tom Doyle
Author of Killing Christians: Living the Faith Where it is Not Safe to Believe
“We understand why this is happening. Jesus promised that we would be hated because of Him. What we are going through is essentially The War on Jesus and we are the collateral damage. Terrorists want to erase Jesus’ Church in the Middle East. But we are not leaving. We are ready to die for our Savior.” – Farid of Syria
In recent days, the media has fanned the flames of the national debate concerning Syrian Muslim refugees and their immigration into America. As with any issue that falls into the political arena, the polarization of opposing views has become a feeding frenzy for news outlets and talk shows.
Somewhat overlooked in all of this have been the refugees who are followers of Jesus. They find themselves in an impossible situation as they live out their faith in the heart of Islamic terrorism, which is rampant in the Middle East.
Since a significant number of Muslims in the Middle East have embraced Jesus and left Islam, what is their future going to look like? Muslim Background Believers (MBB’s) are caught in the crosshairs as terrorists like ISIS make them suffer and die mercilessly for their faith in Christ. This is the ultimate offense to Islam, so they pay the ultimate price.
One recent follower of Jesus risked everything to follow her Savior.
As she stepped into the water, Amal smiled, and it radiated across her face. This was no ordinary baptism. You see, Amal is the wife of a Muslim imam. She trusted Christ this year and wanted to be baptized desperately. Her husband sensed something was different soon after she began to follow Jesus. The Holy Spirit began to shine through her countenance and he wondered why she had a look of peace and joy about her. He told Amal that she had changed. He confronted her and though she knew it could mean her death sentence, she replied “Yes, I love Jesus now!”
He immediately beat her, took her three children away, and threw her out of the house. He threatened to kill Amal if she was ever baptized, promising that he would personally execute her.
Twenty-five MBB’s gathered in a secure location and joyfully celebrated their baptism. Would Amal dare even attend, let alone be baptized when she knew fully what her husband was planning to do? His threats were well known throughout this traditional Middle Eastern city.
Amal walked into the room and the other new believers broke out in applause. They soon cried when they realized, despite the threats, Amal was not going to be deterred one bit.
When she came up out of the water, her countenance was one of perfect peace and her smile was even bigger. The underground believers now are her new family, cheered again and gave praise to God.
Would you pray for Amal? She lives in a strict Islamic country in the Middle East. But that was not a barrier for her because she was on a quest. She wanted to know the truth and live with peace in her heart. When she found it, she was more than willing to give up everything to follow Jesus. She finally has joy in her heart…and that’s why Amal is always smiling!
Pray for the persecuted. This is by far the most important thing you can do. Would you daily pray for your family, to which both you and Amal belong? If you want immediate requests from real people on the front lines, follow us on our 8thirty8 Facebook page. You can join over 15,000 who are praying for our brothers and sisters living in prison, persecution, and danger.
Give. e3 Partners is working in the heart of the very places where believers are under fire. Click here to help support pastors and believers who live in the middle of terrorist strongholds in the Middle East. Due to security issues, we are not able to give their city locations but we can tell you that in the work in Syria and other Middle East countries are making a huge impact. Like Amal, many of the Christian Refugees have lost everything. They are being discipled by trained, gifted national leaders but they lack clothes, food, and shelter. You can send a gift to help them by clicking here.
Go. There is work being done with Christian refugees in safe Middle East locations and e3 can take you there. Do you feel a call to help your brothers and sisters who have survived the onslaught of Islamic terrorism and are now growing in Christ and reaching others with the Gospel? Want to go work side-by-side with them? Click here.
The Body of Christ is much larger than you probably think. There are new believers in some of the most dangerous places on the planet. Paul wrote about being a family in I Corinthians 12:26- “If one part suffers, we all suffer.” We may not be called to suffer for Christ in America but we can certainly stand with our brothers and sisters who do. Like Amal, they’re making a stand for Christ and, as believers, this is one of our finest hours.