Today was difficult! Partly because of the 100 + temperatures along with the air conditioning being down most of the day, but mostly, it was hard because of what we heard from the pastors we are teaching in Bangladesh.
We are teaching 34 pastors in spiritual leadership. Before the first session the men get up and share briefly about what God is doing through their church planting efforts. I was not prepared to hear about the amount of persecution these men are facing. One man was recently threatened with death if he keeps preaching the gospel. His dedication to reach his region with the hope of the Gospel drives him and he has no plans to stop. I can’t help but wonder if he will be with us next year? These pastors are brave and godly men who are sold out to Christ.
Stories included one young pastor who was taken by police, interrogated, beaten and jailed for no other reason then his belief in Christ. His testimony reminds me of what frequently happened to the Apostle Paul (See Acts 16). However, the hardest story of the day was accompanied by a photo of a believer who after a baptism was cornered by some radicals. The photo of him dead, sprawled out and face down on the road with a mob surrounding him is etched in my mind. He meant no harm to anyone. He loved God and was supporting other believers who were being baptized. His zeal for Christ and courage to live out his faith cost him his life. His death was a warning to all the newly baptized believers that the same brutality may happen to them.
As I thought about what I saw, I am reminded that all around the globe men and women are being beaten and put to death for Christ’s sake. They knowingly risk their lives for the hope of the Gospel message. In light of how others suffer it makes the kinds of things we complain about rather silly and insignificant. As you go about your week, please make time to pray for those who are being threatened and persecuted for following Jesus. If we find ourselves complaining about something at home or at church, just stop and remember that whatever it is that’s bothering us probably doesn’t matter in terms of eternity. Agree with me that we will take that energy and drop to our knees and ask God to strengthen the men and women who are putting it on the line for Jesus? I thank God for you and have the confidence that you will indeed pray for the lost and continue or begin supporting our Worldwide missions fund. Your giving makes a difference and allows us to change the course of history in lives, families, villages and maybe even cities!