A Christian testifies to the faithfulness of God after the martyrdom of his family
A new short film from a global missionary organization serving persecuted Christians tells the inspiring story of courageous faith faced by a Christian in northern Nigeria.
Release of Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) Rebecca: Nigeriathe true story of a Nigerian Christian woman who watched helplessly with her daughter as Boko Haram militants killed her husband and son and burned down their house.
“There was nothing we could do to defend ourselves,” she said. “I was devastated. I cried for several months.”
After the attack, Rebecca searched the charred remains of their home and recovered the Bible she and her husband had received as a gift from the church on their wedding day. She said she and her husband read this Bible together every day.
“I still use that Bible,” Rebecca said. “It reminds me of the faithfulness of God.”
“The Lord is the husband of all widows,” she added. “I turn to him for every need. That’s what I still cling to.”
The feature was released on Monday to coincide with the International Day of Prayer for Persecuted Christians (IDOP), a global movement of prayer for Christians around the world who boldly proclaim their faith, no matter the cost.
Todd Nettleton, media relations and message integration manager for VOM-USA and host of VOM Radio, told the Christian Post that he hopes the film personalizes the struggle that so many Christians face around the world.
“Each year for IDOP, we make a short film that churches will use, that families will use to put a face on persecuted Christians, to put a face on the people we pray for,” Nettleton said.
Nigeria is designated as a “hostile” nation in the VOM 2022 Prayer Guide, a designation for countries or large areas of nations where governments may attempt to protect the Christian population but Christians are still persecuted.
For Nettleton, Rebecca’s story is essential for the world to hear, and “it also illustrates the importance of the word of God for our persecuted brothers and sisters.”
In addition to Nigeria, Nettleton said there are other global hotspots where Christians face increased persecution, including China and Iran, which have faced growing unrest in recent weeks after the death. by Mahsa Amini. The 22-year-old was arrested for failing to wear the mandatory dress code and died in police custody.
Nettleton said that since Amini’s death, the gospel has been spread as a sort of counter-culture message in response to growing discontent with the Islamic Republic among many Iranians.
“There are Christians among the protesters, not necessarily to protest but to be a witness of Christ, and to say, ‘Hey, we understand your frustration with the government, we understand your frustration with Islam, let me tell you talk about Jesus,'” Nettleton said.
Nettleton hopes “VOM’s IDOP resources this year will inspire hundreds of thousands of Christians around the world to pray for our family in Nigeria” and “spiritual members of our family in other restricted and hostile countries.”
When asked to share a story about the practical impact of a global effort, such as IDOP, Nettleton shared the story of Petr Jasek, who traveled to Sudan in 2015 on behalf of VOM to meet pastors and help persecuted Christians.
Jasek was arrested and later charged with conspiracy against the Sudanese government. He spent 14 months in a prison in Sudan, part of that time sharing a cell with Islamic State fighters.
“His life was in danger,” Nettleton said. “And yet, every night at 9 p.m.…the lights go out and Peter falls asleep right away, no matter what’s going on around him, no matter how much danger he’s in.…The lights go out. turn off and Peter immediately falls into a restful sleep.”
After serving his sentence, Jasek returned home to the Czech Republic and learned that his congregation had faithfully prayed for him every night at 8 p.m.
When it’s 8 p.m. in Prague, it’s 9 p.m. in Sudan — the exact time the lights went out and Jasek fell asleep.
“He knew immediately that it was their prayers that had been behind his ability to fall asleep so quickly and his ability to rest so well, even in prison, even when he was in danger,” Nettleton said.
“So when people ask me, ‘Does it matter if we pray? Does it make a difference if we pray?’ I always think of Peter who went to that prison in Sudan and the prayers of his own congregation that enabled him to do so.”
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