I was sad to learn yesterday of the death of a pastor friend in South East Asia. I met him and his family while I was over there in 2010 and 2011. I attended his church a couple of times and even had the opportunity to speak for a few minutes. It was an incredible experience. I love attending churches in other nations. This pastor’s church certainly did not disappoint.
In spite of persecution, attempted church bombings, death threats, and even assassination attempts, he was faithful to continue doing the work of the gospel until the end. Being a pastor isn’t easy. Being a pastor in a hostile nation is beyond demanding. This was a pastor who was able to grow a small fellowship into a megachurch in a country where Christianity is legal but not welcome.
His church is left in good hands. He trained his people well. They will continue to be a force in that part of the world. I know they would appreciate your prayers as they say farewell to this beloved man.
As a pastor in a small city in the southern United States, it’s easy to forget that a lot of people do not experience the religious freedom that we enjoy.
For example, one country in SE Asia requires that you worship their leader. His picture must be the most prominent thing in every house. Everyone must wear a specific pin on their lapel. If you are caught in public without your lapel pin, you may be stopped, arrested, beaten, and nearly killed. Welcome to North Korea.
Here in the Bible belt at the elementary school where my wife teaches, the Gideons are allowed to hand out New Testaments to the students. To hand out Bibles in many other countries is nothing but a suicide mission.
Many churches in Asia, North Africa, and the Middle East meet secretly. They must be discreet in their coming and going so as not to arouse suspicion. They have to be careful sharing their faith with others for fear that the authorities will have them arrested or beaten – or both. They may have to share a Bible since they can’t have their own personal copy.
We get upset if the air-conditioner in the sanctuary is broken here. And if the pastor gets long-winded those padded pews start getting uncomfortable.
In my book, my South East Asian pastor friend is a hero. He was faithful to do the work that God called him to do no matter the difficulties, threats, and persecution. He modeled strong faith to his flock. He discipled them to stand strong in the midst of their enemies. He left a legacy of love for his people and for his God.
Thank God for determined men and women who live out their faith in spite of their harsh surroundings. I am a soft, mushy preacher compared to them. I’m spoiled rotten and easily disappointed. I get upset when someone unsubscribes to Q4NP because it gets “too religious” sometimes when I could get shot for posting this in other parts of the world.
God, help me to be stronger in my faith. Bless spoiled believers like me and help us to be unrelenting in our faithfulness to you – no matter the circumstances.
To learn more about the persecuted church, go to persecution.com.
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