Team Middle East, Update 8 - Pray for the Persecuted Church
"Do you remember what I told you? ‘A slave is not greater than the master.’ Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you. And if they had listened to me, they would listen to you." John 15:20
Religious persecution is something that is rarely experienced in the United States... at least not in the same form as in the Middle East. In our host country Christians experience a limited amount of freedom of religion. They can have churches and hold Christian services, as long as the target of these services is other Christians. As previously mentioned, people here are designated their religion based on their parents, so changing religions can have serious consequences. The most serious consequence, however, comes when a Musl im converts to Christianity. This individual will face family and social ostracism and possibly death.
Today we had the privilege of meeting two men, one who converted to Christianity from Isl am and another who is discipling young converts who have left Isl am. Sayeed (not real name) gave his life to Christ several years ago after becoming disillusioned with Isl am. He started questioning his faith and reading Christian materials, which led to this life changing decision. He soon began having problems with the secret police and his family, who were not pleased with his decision and pressured him to leave his faith. Sayeed practicing his faith in secret, but his parents wanted him to make it official by marrying a Musl im woman. In order to please them, he complied. Although his new wife knew he had not given up on Christianity, she covered for her husband in the presence of family. Now Sayeed has three beautiful children whom he prays will come to faith in Christ, even though his family is a big influence on them. As he shared his story with us, we could see the light of Christ on his face. He has a burning desire to show Jesus' love to other Musl ims. One way he does this is as one of the people who responds to podcast questions. Pray for Sayeed, his wife and children and other Musl ims who come to faith in Christ as they continues to be a light in a dark place.