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Not forsaken

"Not forsaken" Continued...

Issue: "Race to the finish," Nov. 3, 2012

The work continues despite the difficulties in the country. The group’s founder—known as “Mama Maggie” across Egypt—didn’t dwell on the uncertainties during an interview shortly after she washed a steady stream of street children’s feet this spring. “Every ministry has its challenges—serious ones. But greater is the One who is in you than the one who is in the world,” she said. 

And she noted that Christians in Egypt have known suffering before: “We are very happy that we are the fruit of the prayers of the martyrs and their seeds. So it’s our turn to do something before we leave.”

Beyond the Middle East, Christians are taking their turns at service despite immense pressures and violence. Every Sunday morning, Christians across northern Nigeria return to churches, despite regular attacks by a vicious Islamic group that often massacres dozens at a time. The group has demanded that Christians leave the region or face extermination.

In Sudan, Christians are still fleeing aggression by their own government in a campaign that has killed thousands. 

In Pakistan, Christians are waiting to hear the fate of Rimsha Masih, a 14-year-old girl who initially faced a possible death sentence for allegedly burning the Quran. (A police investigation reported that a Muslim cleric framed the girl.)

And in India, the Evangelical Fellowship of India reports relentless persecution against Christians in northern regions, particularly Orissa. The organization reported a series of beatings and severe harassments against Christians and pastors by Hindu mobs during the month of September.

The list could continue, but groups promoting the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church emphasize that prayer is an invaluable help to Christians facing serious challenges.

“The first thing that people in this situation ask for isn’t activism or advocacy,” says Iranian pastor Borji. “It’s prayer.”

Borji says Christians often ask for protection against violence, but they also ask for prayer to remain faithful under pressure, and the ability to continue their service. Jerry Dykstra of Open Doors USA agrees. “They don’t necessarily pray for the persecution to go away,” he says. “They pray for faith that is unwavering.”

—For resources on this year’s International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church, persecutedchurch.org offers a list of organizations with helpful information

Jamie Dean
Jamie Dean

Jamie lives and works in North Carolina, where she covers the national political beat and other topics as news editor for WORLD.

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