A Turning Tide
Ed Weaver, President of Spoken Worldwide, notes that their Christian workers have found it difficult to know who to trust. Places that traditionally had been indifferent or even welcoming to Christians are beginning to turn against Christ.
“It’s becoming more and more real. As various religions are becoming more radicalized, I do think that you find that it’s getting more dangerous.”
He continues, “One of the places that has been a little bit surprising over the last few years is India, where [there are] radical Hindus that are just as difficult and oppressive as radical Islam is. So those are places that have been surprising.”
India is not the only places where Christians are unwelcome. Weaver shares that re-education camps are popping up in China, turning the tide against Christians there once again. The Middle East and North Africa continue to be difficult places for Christians as well, with outright aggression from both governments and religious groups.
Political or Just an Excuse?
One place Christians from Spoken Worldwide have faced difficulty is in North Africa.
“We had some of the disciples that had been in some of our programs that had been arrested. And one of the things we were challenged with finding out was what we had heard was that they had been arrested because they were believers, they had been proselytizing. But as we dug further into it, we found that what we were hearing was they had been arrested because they were accused of being dissidents against the country, against the government.”
According to the official arrest record, communication with Westerners was the source of the trouble. But it was hard to tell if the harassment actually was political or religious in actuality. Many Christian workers have been persecuted under the guise of political connections around the world.
Whether political or religious, Christians are facing persecution daily.
Weaver reminds us, “The reality on the ground is that people’s lives are at stake. The very real prospect of jail is right there in front of people on a regular basis. But at the end of the day it’s all about trust. Who can you trust? Who can you communicate with? And how do you advance the Gospel with that small band of believers that you do trust.”
Pray that Christian workers would have discernment as they share the Gospel with a world that is increasingly hostile. Ask God to give then wisdom in new places and with new people.
And also pray that whatever their circumstances, God’s people would obey the call to proclaim His Word.
“Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness.” Acts 4:29