Prayer is not our last resort, but should be our first response to trials. More than once I have stopped our London office and had the staff gather in prayer for an individual or situation. Thank you to everyone who has been praying for *Lina and wrote asking for an update. (read the original post here) For those who don’t know, *Lina was one of our in-country translators who contextualized content for a local audience. She was arrested and tortured for her faith last fall. After *Lina’s arrest, several other brothers and sisters were arrested for their faith.
The phone calls with our ministry director for this region have been especially difficult. The director’s heartbreak and sorrow for these people was very real and I felt pretty powerless sitting in my office while these people sit in jail.
Our ministry director writes:
Thank you for your patience in receiving an update. Thank you for persevering in prayer. Here is news for praise and further prayer.
An Update For Prayer:
- A number of those connected to our ministry in this region were arrested and some have already had their day in court. A few have signed papers promising not to attend any meetings or meet with other believers – which is not the same as renouncing their faith but they desperately need our prayers.
- One has been sentenced to a year in jail, though hope remains that upon appeal the sentence may be further reduced. Pray for this man’s family because if he goes to jail his family will be destitute.
- Still more continue to wait for their day in court. Please pray as these court dates will not be set until April at the earliest.
It breaks my heart to hear that some of those arrested denied their faith and we have not had any recent contact with them. It is not our place to judge these people because we can’t know what they faced or what they were threatened with. This strengthens my passion for ministries like Discipleship Essentials where new believers are discipled and mentored so their faith may grow and mature. We need a firm foundation in the faith in order to face trials and persecution.
“It is heartbreaking to see how fear has taken a grip on these people. Pray that God would free them from fear and bring them back to Himself,” writes our ministry director.
*Lina has not yet been convicted, but her situation is severe. If she’s found guilty of the accusations against her, she will receive many years in prison or perhaps even be sentenced to execution. She remains under house arrest, though in a different location, and continues to work and report to the Secret Police weekly.
In spite of this, she remains strong in her faith and finds great comfort in Scripture. Continue to pray as she questions why God has not rescued her from “this hell”. She is aware that many are praying for her and appreciates your prayers.
Other believers are learning of the suffering and persecution of their brothers and sisters in Christ and are being encouraged and strengthened in their own faith. There are some who are hearing of these believers’ trials and have come to have faith in Christ.
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
James 1:2-4 ESV
Featured Image Photo Credit: Stephen Woo