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May 2023 Persecution Magazine

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WWW.PERSECUTION.ORG<br />

MAY <strong>2023</strong><br />

PERSECU ION<br />

Rising from the Rubble<br />

ION<br />

ICC HELPS PERSECUTED BELIEVERS RECOVER IN THEIR<br />

TIME OF GREATEST NEED.<br />

PERSECU ION<br />

PERSECU ION.ORG<br />

INTERNATIONAL CHRISTIAN CONCERN<br />

PERSECU ION.ORG<br />

INTERNATIONAL CHRISTIAN CONCERN<br />

PERSECU ION.ORG<br />

INTERNATIONAL CHRISTIAN CONCERN<br />

PERSECUTION.ORG 1


Contents<br />

MAY <strong>2023</strong><br />

ON THE COVER<br />

Buildings are flattened in Turkey<br />

from the devastating earthquake<br />

and aftershocks that killed tens of<br />

thousands of people in February.<br />

Photo: First Hope Association in Turkey<br />

FEATURES<br />

08<br />

10<br />

14<br />

16<br />

IN THEIR TIME OF<br />

GREATEST NEED<br />

ICC assists persecuted<br />

believers when there’s<br />

no one left to turn to.<br />

FULANI MILITANTS<br />

KILLED THEIR<br />

HUSBANDS, BUT NOT<br />

THEIR JOY IN THE<br />

LORD<br />

BLACKMAILED BY<br />

RADICAL ISLAM<br />

Two stories of Christians<br />

facing intimidation and<br />

discrimination at the hands<br />

of radical Muslims.<br />

BANDAGING THE<br />

BROKEN BODY<br />

Radical Hindu<br />

nationalists terrorize<br />

Christians and shutter<br />

churches.<br />

RECURRING<br />

04<br />

06<br />

“I HAVE SAID THESE THINGS TO YOU, THAT IN ME YOU MAY<br />

HAVE PEACE. IN THE WORLD YOU WILL HAVE TRIBULATION.<br />

BUT TAKE HEART; I HAVE OVERCOME THE WORLD.”<br />

ICC NEWSROOM<br />

YOUR HANDS AND FEET<br />

JOHN 16:33<br />

Your Source for <strong>Persecution</strong> News<br />

ICC Projects Made Possible by Supporters<br />

@persecuted @persecutionnews @internationalchristianconcern International Christian Concern<br />

OUR MISSION: Since 1996, ICC has served the global<br />

persecuted church through a three-pronged approach of<br />

advocacy, awareness, and assistance. ICC exists to bandage<br />

the wounds of persecuted Christians and to build the church<br />

in the toughest parts of the world.<br />

DONATIONS: International Christian Concern (ICC) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) (all<br />

donations tax-deductible). ICC makes every effort to honor donor wishes in regards to<br />

their gifts. Occasionally, a situation will arise where a project is no longer viable. ICC<br />

will redirect those donated funds to one of our other funds that is most similar to the<br />

donor’s original wishes.<br />

2<br />

MEMBER<br />

<strong>Persecution</strong> | APRIL <strong>2023</strong><br />

© Copyright <strong>2023</strong> ICC, Washington, D.C., USA. All rights reserved.<br />

Permission to reproduce all or part of this publication is granted<br />

provided attribution is given to ICC as the source.<br />

STAFF<br />

Publisher Jeff King<br />

Editor Mike Anderson<br />

Designer Hannah Campbell


We Go Where the Lord Leads<br />

It’s a tragedy to lose your family’s home and everything<br />

you own with it. It’s another thing for it<br />

to happen in the dead of winter. It’s still another<br />

level of tragedy when the government won’t help<br />

you because you are a Christian.<br />

Finally, it’s a catastrophe when it happens to all the<br />

Christians you know at the same time! That’s the situation<br />

for Christians living in Turkey.<br />

Turkey is a Muslim country run by a radical who<br />

hates Christianity and is essentially an enemy of the<br />

U.S. and Europe. For that reason, the news about<br />

Turkey has quickly faded from the headlines in spite<br />

of the fact that 80,000 people died and huge masses<br />

of people have nowhere to live.<br />

That’s why we are assisting our brothers and sisters<br />

there. We rolled up our sleeves to help them and<br />

provided necessities like tents, food, generators, and<br />

more to help families get through this immediate<br />

crisis.<br />

We go where the Lord leads, especially into the<br />

dangerous places where Christians are hated and<br />

attacked. I’ve had the privilege to be part of many<br />

rescues, big and small, for more than 20 years.<br />

Whether the masses in Turkey or the lone Christian<br />

victim of persecution.<br />

From the bottom of my heart, I want to offer you a<br />

sincere, “thank you,” because none of this is possible<br />

without you.<br />

We are a partnership that together, act as the hands<br />

and feet of God for his family at the front lines!<br />

In Love,<br />

JEFF<br />

Jeff King, President<br />

International Christian Concern<br />

Author: The Last Words of the Martyrs and<br />

Islam Uncensored<br />

PERSECUTION.ORG 3


ICC Newsroom<br />

YOUR SOURCE FOR PERSECUTION NEWS<br />

Lone Protestant Church in Gaza Struggles to Survive<br />

Gaza’s Christian community is struggling to survive<br />

after years of steady decline in numbers. Only an<br />

estimated 1,000 Christians remain in the Gaza<br />

Strip, an area of more than two million residents –<br />

the third most densely populated political unit in the<br />

world. Internal pressures caused by radical Islamic<br />

terrorists and other political and territorial factors<br />

drive Christians out of the area.<br />

Christians of all denominations have played a<br />

vastly important role in healthcare, education, and<br />

business in the Gaza Strip for centuries. Today, among<br />

evangelicals, only one known Protestant church<br />

continues. Its leadership has been struggling to lead<br />

its flock ever since local Islamic militants martyred the<br />

Bible Society’s Christian Bookstore’s manager in 2007,<br />

which was followed by an exodus of church leaders.<br />

Christians feel pressure from all sides and are in many<br />

ways cut off from fellowship with and support from<br />

the wider body of Christ. Pray for the church in Gaza<br />

that they would remain strong under daily pressures<br />

and threats.<br />

More Than 70 Christians Killed in DRC in Two Weeks<br />

The Allied Democratic Forces (ADF)<br />

killed 72 Christians in Nord Kivu in the<br />

Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)<br />

in the span of two weeks.<br />

Mulinde Esemo, a key church leader in<br />

Butembo, DRC, said the past two weeks<br />

have been a period of “great anguish” for<br />

the body of Christ in Congo.<br />

“We are living in a very tense situation<br />

here in Eastern DRC, both in towns and<br />

in the villages,” said Esemo. “Scores of<br />

believers have been killed in cold blood<br />

by the ADF rebels. It is a massacre like<br />

one killing animals.”<br />

Unabated, the ADF militants have<br />

been on a killing spree as they push<br />

their agenda of the Islamization of the<br />

majority-Christian eastern side of the<br />

DRC.<br />

Esemo continued, “Families that fled<br />

from all those villages are now living as<br />

refugees here in Butembo, despite the<br />

fact that the town and the suburbs are<br />

overpopulated. Women and children<br />

are the most affected since they are<br />

most vulnerable. You will occasionally<br />

hear them crying for the lack of food,<br />

as the men look for casual jobs to buy<br />

something for the families.”<br />

Please consider partnering with<br />

International Christian Concern (ICC) to<br />

assist our brothers and sisters who are<br />

suffering in the DRC and please continue<br />

to pray for them.<br />

4<br />

<strong>Persecution</strong> | MAY <strong>2023</strong>


HEAD TO OUR WEBSITE, PERSECUTION.ORG, FOR THE LATEST NEWS<br />

More Than 36<br />

Murdered in Brutal<br />

ADF Attack<br />

In the early hours of the morning<br />

on March 9, rebels from the Allied<br />

Democratic Forces (ADF) attacked<br />

a village in the eastern Democratic<br />

Republic of the Congo (DRC). At<br />

least 36 people were killed during<br />

the overnight attack.<br />

Villagers were trapped in their<br />

burning houses or murdered with<br />

machetes and hatchets.<br />

Militants Promise Attacks on Nigerian<br />

Christians<br />

Fifty-seven communities in northern<br />

Nigeria were unable to vote at their<br />

polling unit because of their Christian<br />

faith, according to community leaders.<br />

Boko Haram and bandits in Kaduna,<br />

Borno, Yola, and Adamawa states have<br />

displaced more than 200,000 Christians.<br />

Other community sources report that<br />

22 individuals were killed for supporting<br />

Christian candidate Peter Obi of the<br />

Labour Party in Borno State.<br />

Moses David, a Christian rights activist<br />

who supported Peter Obi’s candidacy,<br />

spoke with ICC. He said that the election<br />

was not free and fair, and he is worried<br />

that Christians will not have a voice in<br />

Nigeria again. He predicted Christians<br />

will suffer more if nothing is done.<br />

The attack took place in an area that<br />

has been plagued with violent rebel<br />

activity. The Islamic-affiliated ADF<br />

made ICC’s 2022 comprehensive<br />

Persecutor of the Year report for<br />

worst “entities.”<br />

14,000 Gather in Vietnam for<br />

Evangelism Event<br />

In March, more than 14,000 people in<br />

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, attended the<br />

Spring Love Festival hosted by the Billy<br />

Graham Evangelistic Association.<br />

The event made history. This was the<br />

first time the communist Vietnamese<br />

government permitted, outside of a<br />

holiday, an evangelistic outreach with a<br />

foreign speaker.<br />

Rev. Franklin Graham, who is the<br />

president and CEO of the association,<br />

shared with the crowd, “God makes and<br />

creates you and loves you and Vietnam.<br />

Jesus is in the city tonight.”<br />

Before the event, Graham reportedly<br />

met with Deputy Prime Minister Le<br />

Minh Khai and other officials to discuss<br />

religious freedom in the country.<br />

PERSECUTION.ORG 5


Your Hands and Feet<br />

ICC PROJECTS MADE POSSIBLE BY SUPPORTERS<br />

A Calamitous Quake<br />

ICC Joins Massive Relief Effort Thanks to Your Support<br />

7.8 magnitude earthquake and many aftershocks struck southeast<br />

A Turkey near the Syrian border in early February.<br />

By the (conservative) numbers:<br />

• More than 50,000 people killed.<br />

• More than 300,000 collapsed or heavily damaged buildings.<br />

• More than two million people were displaced.<br />

There is scant media attention two months later. The public turned its short<br />

attention span to other things.<br />

But the crisis continues for displaced families in the region that struggle<br />

under extreme conditions. They lack adequate shelter, food, and necessities.<br />

It’s a gut punch for Christians already facing threats in heavily Muslim<br />

communities under a hostile government.<br />

International Christian Concern (ICC) joined the massive relief effort through<br />

local workers we trust. ICC spent tens of thousands of dollars on tents, food,<br />

clothing, hygiene products, generators, and more, thanks to your support.<br />

ICC is in this for the long haul. With so many churches destroyed and a<br />

government that doesn’t want them there, we are committed to helping<br />

the Christian community rebuild.<br />

6<br />

<strong>Persecution</strong> | MAY <strong>2023</strong>


West Watch<br />

A GLIMPSE AT ISSUES INVOLVING CHRISTIANITY IN THE WEST<br />

Photo: First Hope Association in Turkey<br />

Christian Finnish Member of Parliament on Trial<br />

Again for “Hate Speech” One Year After Not-<br />

Guilty Verdict<br />

Finnish Member of Parliament Päivi Räsänen must once again return to court<br />

to defend her Biblical views of sexuality. Despite being found not guilty of<br />

hate speech against the LGBT community by a Finnish trial court last year, the<br />

prosecutors appealed and are seeking “tens of thousands of Euros in fines<br />

and… insist that Räsänen’s and Pohjola’s publications be censored,” according<br />

to ADF International.<br />

Dr. Räsänen, a medical doctor, member of Finland’s legislature, and former<br />

Minister of the Interior, published a Tweet in 2019 in response to the Finnish<br />

Lutheran Church’s support of pro-LGBT pride event. Her Tweet questioned<br />

the church’s support of the event and included a picture of a Bible verse from<br />

Romans. Unlike many nations, Finland allows prosecutors to appeal a trial<br />

court’s “not guilty” verdict.<br />

Photo: ICC President Jeff King with Dr. Räsänen and her husband Niilo Räsänen<br />

European Court of Human Rights Condemns<br />

Russia for <strong>Persecution</strong> of Home Church Pastor<br />

Europe’s top human rights body, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR),<br />

has found that Russia violated the right to religious freedom against a Christian<br />

pastor. In 2016, Donald Ossewaarde was an evangelical pastor who was<br />

arrested and fined, “after he invited locals to his house for worship, singing,<br />

and Bible study,” according to ADF International.<br />

Pastor Ossewaarde moved his family from their home state of Michigan to<br />

Russia in 2005 to be missionaries. He was conducting a standard Sunday service<br />

in his home when Russian police officers questioned and later arrested him for<br />

illegal “missionary activity” in 2016. Russia has been increasing pressure on<br />

foreign missionaries since a new law was passed in 2016.<br />

In its condemnation against Russia, the ECHR said, “freedom to manifest one’s<br />

religion includes… the right to express one’s religious views” and that missionary<br />

work and evangelism is a protected right under European law “along with other<br />

acts of worship.”<br />

PERSECUTION.ORG 7


In Their Time<br />

of Greatest<br />

Need<br />

ICC assists persecuted believers<br />

when there’s no one left to turn to.<br />

When we read the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000, we<br />

see it as an act of love and satisfying their need for<br />

food. They were hungry and left with nowhere to turn<br />

for food. He didn’t provide them with food with a stipulation of<br />

repayment or conversion into becoming his followers. He healed,<br />

fed, and performed miracles simply out of love for the brothers<br />

and sisters He saw in need.<br />

Though we can’t perform miracles in the same way, when we<br />

see our suffering brothers and sisters, we meet them in their<br />

time of greatest need – whether it’s providing aid packages of<br />

food to feed the hungry, medical care to bandage the broken, or<br />

household supplies and rent to the homeless.<br />

We often have the privilege to serve as a lifeline to believers of<br />

the persecuted church. Though these situations of need come<br />

from severe pain and distress, the work that follows is filled with<br />

hope for a better tomorrow, and ultimately points to hope in a<br />

better, more perfect eternity.<br />

In the Bible, Paul so clearly and eloquently writes this to<br />

church members in Corinth, saying, “For this light momentary<br />

affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all<br />

comparison” (2 Corinthians 4:17 ESV).<br />

Though trials of persecution are heavy on all our hearts, compared<br />

to the eternal weight of glory, they will only be a memory of<br />

momentary affliction. This is the good news that propels us to<br />

bandage persecution’s wounds of our brothers and sisters.<br />

In the following pages, you’ll read stories of persecution survivors<br />

from all over the world who have been helped by International<br />

Christian Concern (ICC). In the Middle East, one Christian family<br />

began to struggle financially after the husband’s radical Islamic<br />

employer refused to promote him unless he converted to Islam.<br />

ICC provided the family with a small business.<br />

Upon receiving the help to start the business, the wife expressed<br />

to ICC that our visit was like a visit from Christ. One that was<br />

undeserved but something they’re grateful for beyond words.<br />

8<br />

<strong>Persecution</strong> | MAY <strong>2023</strong>


Types of Bandaging<br />

A crucial aspect of our ministry involves<br />

what we call ‘bandaging’ the church. These<br />

are often immediate, and sometimes longer<br />

term, needs that believers face in the wake<br />

of persecution.<br />

MEDICAL CARE<br />

When believers are brutally attacked<br />

for their faith, they need medical attention<br />

as soon as possible. Because<br />

Christians in high-conflict don’t areas<br />

have immediate access to healthcare,<br />

we make sure they get the care<br />

they need.<br />

FOOD PACKAGES<br />

Food is essential. Sometimes food is<br />

too scarce or expensive to acquire<br />

for believers after a persecution incident.<br />

In Nigeria, we empower Christian widows to provide for their<br />

families after the loss of their husbands and breadwinners.<br />

“All my life I’ve never seen the kind of Christian heart as exhibited<br />

by ICC; because since the death of my husband, no one has shown<br />

up to render the kind of help my children and I have received<br />

from ICC,” said Monifa, a widow you will read more about in the<br />

following pages. “I know that generally, life is difficult, but this<br />

help would enable me and my children to get other things that<br />

we would not have been able to.”<br />

We strive as a ministry to provide Christlike care to as many<br />

suffering brothers and sisters as we can, and that is all fueled by<br />

supporters, including you. We are beyond grateful for the work<br />

you enable us to do—together—throughout the world.<br />

RENT AND HOUSE SUPPLIES<br />

When believers lose their homes and<br />

have nowhere to turn, we make sure<br />

they’re able to sleep with a roof over<br />

their head.<br />

SMALL BUSINESS STARTUP<br />

We don’t want to create dependence<br />

on immediate relief aid. So, we assess<br />

the skills of our persecuted believers<br />

and supply them with tools and resources<br />

to start a small business.<br />

EDUCATION ASSISTANCE<br />

We believe education holds the key<br />

to unlocking cycles of generation persecution.<br />

Unfortunately, education<br />

is something only reserved for the<br />

wealthy in many countries. Through<br />

scholarships and other assistance,<br />

we set children up with a second<br />

chance at a brighter future.<br />

Illustration iStock/Andry Djumantara<br />

PERSECUTION.ORG 9


10<br />

<strong>Persecution</strong> | MAY <strong>2023</strong>


FOUR WOMEN RECLAIM THEIR<br />

FUTURES WITH THE HELP OF ICC<br />

AFTER FULANI MILITANTS KILLED<br />

THEIR BELOVED HUSBANDS<br />

One day not long ago, on the eastern<br />

edge of Nigeria, Amara, her four<br />

children, her pastor, and a handful of<br />

others gathered inside a newly revamped,<br />

cinderblock structure and dedicated the<br />

space to the Lord.<br />

And with that, amid smiles and “thank<br />

yous,” Operation Poultry began.<br />

After years of recovering from deep pain<br />

and trauma, and struggling to survive and<br />

support her family, Amara has joy and<br />

hope – and dreams for the future.<br />

ICC helped bring that hope with the<br />

delivery of 150 chickens. With ICC’s aid,<br />

Amara renovated and launched a poultry<br />

farm. ICC equipped her with an ongoing<br />

way to provide her family with nutrition<br />

and steadily generate income.<br />

The need for this helping hand came<br />

after a tragic attack by radical Fulani<br />

militants in February 2019. Four pastors<br />

PERSECUTION.ORG 11


were headed to show support and offer<br />

their condolences to the people of<br />

another village recently attacked by the<br />

Muslim militants. But on their way, the<br />

militia gunmen ambushed and brutally<br />

murdered the pastors, one of whom was<br />

Amara’s husband.<br />

To the militants, it was just a few more lives<br />

in a decades-long slaughter. Depending<br />

on who you ask, it’s estimated the Fulani<br />

militants have killed between 50,000 and<br />

100,000 Christians in the past 20 years<br />

and displaced more than 3 million.<br />

But to Amara and her children, and their<br />

community, it was heart-wrenching<br />

devastation and loss. The tragedy forced<br />

Amara in an instant, with no forewarning,<br />

into the role of being the sole parent<br />

and provider for her children. The<br />

economic conditions in the<br />

area were difficult, and it was<br />

a struggle just to survive.<br />

They migrated west to a<br />

different state, and with<br />

some financial backing<br />

from ICC, Amara had<br />

the opportunity to relaunch<br />

a poultry farm business that had<br />

run down due to a lack of finances.<br />

The day the chickens were brought in and<br />

the business was dedicated to the Lord,<br />

Amara expressed her delight and thanks:<br />

“I am happy because it is something that<br />

I least expected,” she said, “I am so much<br />

happy about it, I am full of joy.<br />

“My future plan and my prayer are that<br />

this farm will grow and be a big farm<br />

so that anyone who wants to see an<br />

example, it will be an example for many,”<br />

she said.<br />

Amara and her children – three sons<br />

and a daughter ranging from pre-teen to<br />

young adult – recorded a quick video of<br />

themselves clasping their hands together<br />

and saying, “Thank you, ICC.” The smiles<br />

and laughter are evident.<br />

Joy and hope look like squealing, wiggly<br />

piglets for Orisa and her children – also<br />

victims of the Fulani militants.<br />

Orisa lost her husband and her five<br />

children lost their father in the same<br />

attack in which Amara’s husband was<br />

killed. Like Amara, Orisa also struggled to<br />

support her family after the death of her<br />

pastor husband. ICC knew setting Orisa up<br />

with a piggery would provide her with the<br />

means to support her family.<br />

A location was found, building supplies<br />

were bought, and masons started<br />

constructing a cinderblock pen. Once<br />

they were done, carpenters put a blue<br />

corrugated tin roof in place. Everything<br />

was ready! Ten piglets were ordered and<br />

delivered, and Orisa’s pastor was invited<br />

to pray and dedicate the new business to<br />

the Lord.<br />

“We did not expect this, but we thank<br />

you. <strong>May</strong> God bless you,” said Emmauella,<br />

Orisa’s daughter who bears the name of<br />

her slain father, Emmanuel.<br />

Their names mean “God with us,” and God<br />

is surely with them. Despite the heartbreak<br />

and subsequent hardship, these families<br />

have endured. God, who never forsakes,<br />

offers Himself to them to bind up their<br />

hearts and souls, and He provides practical<br />

12<br />

<strong>Persecution</strong> | MAY <strong>2023</strong>


healing and hope through ministries like<br />

ICC that come alongside the suffering<br />

persecuted.<br />

Monifa, another woman made a widow<br />

and left with five children that fateful day<br />

in February, was also deeply moved by the<br />

way she saw the Lord ministering to her<br />

family through ICC.<br />

“All my life I’ve never seen the kind of<br />

Christian heart as exhibited by ICC,”<br />

she said, “because since the death<br />

of my husband, no one has shown<br />

up to render the kind of help I and<br />

my children have received from<br />

ICC. It’s such a great assistance.”<br />

Monifa was given what she needed<br />

to set up a poultry farm business:<br />

100 chicks and the construction of<br />

a solid cinderblock structure for<br />

her to house the chickens in.<br />

“It’s such a great assistance,” she<br />

said. “I know that generally, life is<br />

difficult, but this help would enable<br />

me and my children to get other things<br />

that we would not have been able to.”<br />

Monifa points out that her chickens are<br />

doing well, and she said she is thankful<br />

to the Lord and ICC.<br />

“I say Thank You multiple times, I am<br />

so grateful,” she said.<br />

“All my life, I’ve never<br />

seen this kind of<br />

Christian heart as<br />

exhibited by ICC,”<br />

- MONIFA, WIDOW<br />

AND MOM OF FIVE<br />

PERSECUTION.ORG 13


Blackma<br />

by Radic<br />

Islam<br />

We will often hear stories of Christians<br />

living in areas of the Middle East<br />

who are targeted and discriminated<br />

against for their faith in Christ. This is<br />

the case for Farah, Omar, and Arman.<br />

Farah is a 50-year-old woman, who is<br />

married to her husband, Omar. Together, they have two<br />

married daughters and two sons. One of the sons, Mina,<br />

is 22 years old and works in a blacksmith shop. The other<br />

son is 12 and is still in school.<br />

The family lives in a village that is 94% Muslim, leaving<br />

them in the minority. Omar struggled to find a job in the<br />

village, so he traveled to a larger city where he worked<br />

at an iron factory, and because of his honesty and<br />

intelligence, he was quickly promoted.<br />

Two stories of Christians facing intimidation and<br />

discrimination at the hands of radical Muslims.<br />

He worked for seven years until a new<br />

boss came along. This new boss was an<br />

Islamic extremist and hated Christians.<br />

He used to curse Omar and insult<br />

Christianity, but Omar chose not to<br />

respond to the harassment.<br />

Omar’s new boss asked him to convert<br />

to Islam to promote him. When Omar<br />

refused, Hassan and some of the<br />

workers accused Omar of negligence<br />

and began to file complaints. One day<br />

they gathered and beat him severely,<br />

damaging his spine, and eventually, they<br />

fired him.<br />

Omar was unemployed due to his spinal<br />

injury, and his son Mina supports the<br />

house even though he earns only 50<br />

pounds a day. The family wants to start a<br />

clothing business to generate income to<br />

support their daily expenses.<br />

ICC rented a storefront and provided<br />

14<br />

<strong>Persecution</strong> | MAY <strong>2023</strong>


iled<br />

al<br />

the startup materials and clothes<br />

for Farah to sell while her husband<br />

recovers from his injuries. She can<br />

support her family with these profits.<br />

“I thank God who helped me in my<br />

difficult circumstance. I believe that<br />

God has compensated me for all the<br />

persecution and injustice that my<br />

husband suffered, and I am confident<br />

that through this project, I will be<br />

able to provide for my family. Many<br />

times I felt despair, but when your<br />

staff visited me, I felt Christ’s visit<br />

to me. [The staffer] listened to my<br />

story and reassured me. Thank you<br />

for your help, and may the Lord bless<br />

you,” said Farah.<br />

Arman, another follower of Jesus,<br />

was an experienced tailor of more<br />

than 10 years in the Middle East. But<br />

a group of Muslim extremists burned<br />

his shop down after they could not<br />

convert him to Islam.<br />

It started when a man walked into<br />

Arman’s shop to discuss the Bible.<br />

This “customer,” however, was<br />

secretly trying to convert Arman to<br />

Islam.<br />

Islamic leaders soon followed and<br />

came to Arman’s shop to pressure<br />

him to convert. But he refused.<br />

The extremists eventually gave up<br />

and kicked him out of his shop,<br />

forcing Arman to sell clothes for<br />

several years in the open market.<br />

In early 2022, Arman rented out a<br />

new shop from a Christian owner,<br />

but extremists found him again and<br />

burned the shop and all his supplies.<br />

After hearing of his hardship, ICC<br />

helped Arman resupply his shop so<br />

he could return to business.<br />

“For I consider that the sufferings of this<br />

present time are not worth comparing with<br />

the glory that is to be revealed to us.”<br />

- ROMANS 8:18 (ESV)<br />

PERSECUTION.ORG 15


Bandaging the<br />

Broken Body<br />

Radical Hindu Nationalists Terrorize<br />

Christians and Shutter Churches<br />

16<br />

<strong>Persecution</strong> | MAY <strong>2023</strong>


Church photo via Usplash/Paul Silvan to protect the true identity of the church<br />

It’s an epidemic of violence toward<br />

Christians in Uttar Pradesh, an Indian<br />

state that has seen a sharp rise in<br />

crimes against Christian communities<br />

in recent years. In one attack, radical<br />

Hindu nationalists left a church<br />

building destroyed, the congregation<br />

injured, and everything, including and<br />

especially the Bibles, burned.<br />

The furious mob demanded the<br />

Christians leave the area and told them<br />

that the police would not protect them<br />

from their wrath. Sure enough, the<br />

police stood by while the attack took<br />

place. It was only after the damage was<br />

done that police arrested the attackers<br />

– only to release them later that day.<br />

The mob would later rally and move<br />

on to the neighboring village to<br />

inflict more harm on the Christian<br />

community.<br />

There, several Christian families were<br />

expelled from the village. Fearing for<br />

their lives, they took shelter where<br />

they could until the hostilities died<br />

down. Hungry and traumatized, the<br />

Christian families never waned in<br />

their faith. They ultimately decided<br />

to return to their village to repair the<br />

damage from the attacks.<br />

THE CHURCH AS ONE BODY<br />

ICC found out about the attacks<br />

shortly after and stepped in to aid the<br />

Christian community. Food packages<br />

for the affected families, rent for their<br />

stay, and medical attention were<br />

needed. ICC also<br />

The church congregation gathers for prayer during<br />

their first worship service in their new church building.<br />

supplied building materials to repair<br />

the church building.<br />

In total, ICC served more than 30<br />

Christians in the small community who<br />

expressed their deep gratitude.<br />

“When we saw things that were<br />

brought to us like groceries and the<br />

items for the church repair, I felt<br />

scriptures being fulfilled in our lives.<br />

When one part of the body suffers, the<br />

other part shares and helps,” said one<br />

member of the congregation. “I want<br />

to really thank God and His servants<br />

for not only meeting our physical<br />

needs by providing food and church<br />

building repairs but assuring us that<br />

we were one alone. We are one body.”<br />

The local pastor of the church also<br />

shared his feelings, saying, “We have<br />

a roof over our heads again. We have<br />

resumed our Sunday worship after<br />

almost three months of recovery,<br />

thanks to people who graciously<br />

supported the repair of our church.”<br />

It was a full house with all the<br />

congregants of the church gathering for<br />

Sunday worship. The pastor continued<br />

to share his gratitude, saying how the<br />

congregation was in full attendance<br />

after seeing God’s people come<br />

together to help and pray for them.<br />

A TERRIFYING TREND<br />

What happened to these Christians<br />

is all too common in India, especially<br />

in Uttar Pradesh. Last year alone,<br />

immense pressure from Hindu<br />

nationalists closed more than 500<br />

churches and house fellowships.<br />

Politicians and media turn a blind eye<br />

to the flagrant persecution of religious<br />

minorities, only adding to the system<br />

of oppression for those who suffer<br />

because of their faith.<br />

We continue to pray for our Indian<br />

brothers and sisters and be inspired<br />

and humbled by their resilience.<br />

They cling to their faith, even when<br />

it costs them everything. ICC will do<br />

everything it can to bring attention to<br />

this injustice, advocate for change, and<br />

bring relief to God’s suffering children.<br />

PERSECUTION.ORG 17


Stolen land<br />

Redemption Comes in the Form of an ICC Supported Medical Clinic<br />

18<br />

<strong>Persecution</strong> | MAY <strong>2023</strong>


“And after you have<br />

suffered a little while,<br />

the God of all grace, who<br />

has called you to his<br />

eternal glory in Christ,<br />

will himself restore,<br />

confirm, strengthen,<br />

and establish you.”<br />

- 1 PETER 5:10 (ESV)<br />

Sara puts her left hand on the<br />

back of a little boy’s head and<br />

neck as she holds a flat wooden<br />

tongue depressor in her other hand<br />

and peers into a child’s mouth.<br />

Her sage-colored attire is covered in<br />

a leaf and floral pattern—the pink<br />

flowers matching her lipstick. Her<br />

head is covered with a loosely draped<br />

scarf, and there’s a small nose ring<br />

adorning the left side of her mature<br />

face.<br />

She and her husband, Victor, both<br />

older adults, have embarked on a<br />

new adventure together: opening<br />

and operating a first aid clinic.<br />

It may seem an unusual time of life to<br />

start an endeavor like this, but when<br />

Victor’s land was essentially stolen<br />

from him, he was left without a way<br />

to support Sara and himself.<br />

Victor is a Christian in a South Asia<br />

country where approximately 96% of<br />

the population is Muslim. He used to<br />

seek out work as a daily laborer as his<br />

means of supporting his family, but<br />

as he became older, that became less<br />

and less of an option and he’d come<br />

home empty-handed, having earned<br />

nothing.<br />

Victor’s financial hope for the future<br />

had been six acres of farmland he<br />

inherited from his father. His father<br />

had leased the land to a Muslim man,<br />

and then died before the lease was<br />

up, meaning ownership of the land<br />

transferred to Victor. When the lease<br />

was up in 2021, Victor attempted to<br />

regain possession of it—counting on<br />

the financial support it would bring<br />

him.<br />

But Muhazzim, the man who had<br />

been using the land, refused, claiming<br />

that Victor’s father had sold him the<br />

land.<br />

Victor was shocked to hear this false<br />

narrative—his father had not sold<br />

that land to Muhazzim.<br />

When Victor disagreed and stood his<br />

ground, Muhazzim and several other<br />

Muslims beat Victor and told him to<br />

leave the land.<br />

Muhazzim’s intimidation didn’t stop<br />

there: he told Victor there would be<br />

dire consequences if he took legal<br />

action to repossess the land.<br />

Besides being a victim of theft and<br />

injustice, Victor, unable to work as<br />

a daily laborer any longer, needed<br />

this land; it was his only hope for<br />

supporting his family.<br />

But hope and relief came in another<br />

form, through ICC’s assistance: how<br />

did they feel about starting a first aid<br />

clinic?<br />

Sara held a medical certificate<br />

that qualified her to run the clinic,<br />

and together she and Victor could<br />

establish and operate this clinic as an<br />

enterprise that would support them.<br />

They were deeply grateful for the<br />

help, saying they could never repay<br />

the favor.<br />

“We are thankful to you guys [who]<br />

help us in this hard time,” Sara said,<br />

“we are able to earn by ourselves<br />

instead of begging [from] others.”<br />

ICC provided funds for construction<br />

that was required to modify an<br />

existing shop, and then they assisted<br />

with purchasing the equipment<br />

and supplies needed, such as a<br />

stretcher, wheelchairs, a medical bed,<br />

medicines, and medical instruments.<br />

“I am thankful to [ICC] for this help,”<br />

Victor said. “Now we are able to<br />

survive. Our circumstances were not<br />

good: Muslim people grab my land,<br />

and we don’t have any earning option<br />

before that, but [ICC] help us with<br />

this clinic—God bless you.”<br />

Even though it seems Victor will not<br />

receive justice and regain his land, the<br />

situation was not hopeless, because<br />

with Christ it never is, He always<br />

makes a way, and in this instance<br />

He used ICC to come alongside and<br />

lift the burden from this persecuted<br />

couple by equipping them to support<br />

themselves in a dignified way.<br />

PERSECUTION.ORG 19


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