It is easy to get discouraged when reading about the persecution of Christians around the world. Sometimes all we seem to be doing is praying: asking God to intervene in nations, to change minds of leaders, to save and protect His people, to overcome the forces of evil in the world.
Therefore, I thought I would share some things to praise God for – events and circumstances where God has brought about change. These things don’t make news headlines because they’re not earth-shattering enough. Generally news of God in action tends to be glossed over almost as if the media are embarrassed to report it.
I am sure that these and many things like these are the consequence of the prayers of the saints. So, don’t stop praying – there’s more to come!
Freedom in Laos
In September, the Communist government in Laos has passed a law protecting churches in areas where harassment of Christians continues. This law allows Lao Christians to conduct services and preach throughout the country, and to maintain contacts with believers in other countries.
While Christians living in the capital Vientiane and other large cities were generally respected, Christians in rural areas were largely misunderstood and mistreated by local authorities. Seminars are now held throughout the regions to explain the law to local authorities and the general public. This would allay suspicion and encourage people comply with the law.
In recent years, the number of people arrested or detained for their religious practices has decreased, but pockets of abuse have still been experienced.
Testimony of a miracle in Laos
A man, whom we will call Kaloni for the purpose of this story, was discouraged because his wife and baby had left him, and he had begun to drink. He was walking through the grounds of a Buddhist temple, not actually drunk this time, when he felt something hit him in the chest.
Kaloni became extremely violent and uncontrollable, ending up in prison for a week and eventually put in a cage so he couldn’t harm himself or others. His family and friends asked for help from witchdoctors and they spent a lot of resources, to no avail. It was recognized that an evil spirit was the cause of this change, but nothing anyone did would get rid of it.
After about 6 months, a Hmong Christian suggested the parents connect with local missionaries in a predominantly Khmu village nearby. The pastor there went with his team to Kaloni’s village – where they stayed and prayed for one month. They continued to pray for him after they returned to their village.
One day, Kaloni’s father came to visit him as usual. “All of a sudden, Kaloni spoke with clarity and awareness: ‘Dad, I want to get out of this cage.’ His dad, who was barely able to communicate with him when he brought water and food every day, was astonished. He asked, ‘Are you well, son?’ Kaloni replied, ‘Yes, I am fine, Dad. I feel normal.’”
Kaloni’s father called the pastor, and with two other Christians they visited Kaloni and freed him from the cage. He was completely free of the demonic spirit. He and his parents and brother accepted Jesus as their Christ and Saviour.
News of the power of Jesus to heal that which the witchdoctors couldn’t has seen many people interested in Jesus. As a result, many people have put their faith in Christ.
Hope and healing in Syria
The extent to which Syria is suffering from COVID-19 is shrouded in secrecy, but Middle East observers say its hospitals are overflowing with people infected by the novel coronavirus, and many medical workers are unprotected.
More than 6.6 million people remain internally displaced in Syria, according to United Nations figures, and the government has welcomed aid from the native ministry. Local ministries were able to provide food aid to 6,500 people, care for 10,000 children and help 3,200 refugees in the first half of the year. The aid the local missionaries are providing has garnered favor from new contacts within different communities.
The COVID-19 crisis opened opportunities to work in new areas, leading to 12 new fellowships as workers answered questions about why they were helping people. Local leaders are able to share the gospel in areas they have never worked in before. They are also heartened by the joy of seeing people come to Christ.
However, there have been cutbacks in staff and the overall ability to meet all the needs has diminished. The workers are confident that God will continue to supply their needs in abundance.
Reminder to keep praying!
Remember 1st November 2020 is the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church.
The weapons of our warfare are not worldly but they are powerful enough to demolish strongholds! Contrary to the world’s ideas, worship and praise are powerful weapons in this battle.
Let us offer a sacrifice of praise for what God has done and how He is working, even when we don’t always hear about it.
Read Psalm 9 and use it as a prayer firstly to praise God for His wondrous works, and then to pray for those who are persecuted and those who persecute.
Aira Chilcott is a retired secondary school teacher with lots of science andtheology under her belt. Aira is a panellist and editor for PSI and indulges inreading, bushwalking and volunteering at a nature reserve. Aira is married to Billand they have three adult sons.
Aira Chilcott's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/aira-chilcott.html