The conference I attended this week was a gathering of faithful believers from the five countries of Central Asia. Due in large part to government regulations and Islamic persecution, four of the five countries represented here are listed in Open Doors’ list of top 30 countries where “it is most dangerous to follow Jesus.” The evidence of this reality is the many believers who did receive a visa to come and others who admit they expect harassment from the government when they return home. Yet, they are gathered at this conference to be encouraged by faithful Bible preaching, fellowship, and a diverse mix of ethnic music.
Franz T., President of the Baptist Union of this region proclaimed, “God’s will is that the Good News be spread throughout all languages to all peoples.”
I am worshipping next to brothers and sisters who have been jailed, who have suffered for the sake of Jesus and yet they walk with joy. And they wanted me to pass on to you how much you mean to them. Without your prayers and your care of them, they could not continue doing what they do in Jesus’ name. When you encourage them by standing with them, by God’s grace they press on.
During introductions it was noticed that one country was only able to send one brother, though more attempted to come. Franz asked all at the conference, “Who will stand and pray with him?” Without hesitation, they all — I mean all — immediately rose up to stand with him. Oh, that we would be so bold under persecution to stand with those under persecution! Even thinking about it now I have tears in my eyes.
Christ is not something we schedule among weekly events. Following Christ is laying your life down in full for your Lord and Master Jesus and daily proclaiming Him in your life and words.
“For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.” (Luke 9:24, ESV).
Be encouraged that in the midst of a world that is becoming more hostile to followers of Jesus Christ, that followers of Jesus Christ are growing more vibrant, in part, through your loving care of them.
Press on toward the upward call!