Good morning friends,
Greetings in the name of the Lord.
Sometimes I will simply relate a story that can be found in the Overseas Council website. This is the case here. I hear many stories of persecution of Christians around the globe on a regular basis. This story is one of persecution but also one of hope that particularly moved me to share with you.
“The persecution helped me to find my strength in God”
Born in Nepal into a traditional religious family, Philip* opposed the Christian church in his community, and in an attempt to discredit Christianity, he read the New Testament to look for weaknesses and loopholes. When he read about the crucifixion of Jesus, he says his heart was deeply touched. He repeatedly asked himself, “Why are you trying to find proof that Jesus is wrong? Didn’t He die a painful death that was not for His own benefit? I compared Jesus to [other] gods [that my family worshipped], but I couldn’t find anyone like Him. When I understood the reason why Jesus was crucified, I finally received Christ as my personal Savior and the Lord.”
His family, including his alcoholic father and grandfather who held a high position in his family’s religion, did not support his new faith. He was expelled from the community and the homes of his relatives and friends. But “the persecution helped me to find my strength in God. That perseverance began to bear fruit for the Lord.” Eventually, his whole family saw the changes in his life, and they all accepted Christ. Philip says God began to bless and transform his family: his father stopped drinking after 30 years of alcoholism; they had real peace in their home; and God changed the hearts of people who rejected the family and renewed relationships.
The Lord led Philip and his wife to the International Graduate School of Theology (IGSL) in the Philippines, to equip them for ministry. After graduating, they returned to Nepal, and Philip pastored a church in his home city. In the last three years, they have seen more than 70 people from his former religion come to Christ and be baptized. The church’s youth ministry now has over 100 young people meeting and growing in small groups. The church has planted two churches and started a children’s ministry, a prison ministry and Little Lamb preschool. The former city mayor was so impressed with the “model preschool” that he invited them to his home for Bible study.
Philip was recently asked to be on a city planning committee. “We trust this open door will lead to other leaders in the city finding Christ.” His church pastor will also conduct a training program for 50 business leaders with the Chamber of Commerce. “In a country where violent persecution was common place only a few years ago, it is amazing how God is allowing us to impact our city for Christ,” he says. “We commit to serve to further expand God’s Kingdom in our country and among our people. Please pray that we will continue to bear much fruit; fruit that will last. To God be all the glory!”
*Name has been changed for security purposes.
My friends, pray for the persecuted. But, as a friend that pastors a church in Eastern Europe said to me,
“Don’t pray about the persecution, pray instead for perseverance to endure the persecution. Jesus said ‘when we are persecuted’ not ‘if we are persecuted’. Persecution will happen. And when it happens, we know that we are doing the good work.”