Thursday, December 10, 2009

Unknown to many but known to God

In the past week, two excellent studies on religious freedom have been released on two of the most restricted nations on earth and two of the least known. Ask any group of people if they have ever heard of Maldives or Eritrea and I would suggest that the majority would admit that they know little to nothing of both nations--and Maldives in particular. This is not a chastisement or suggestion that people ought to have a better grasp of geography; it is simply an acknowledgment that these two nations have a rather small footprint in the world’s geopolitical landscape.

For this reason, religious persecution goes on in Maldives and Eritrea rather unnoticed and under-reported. Significant studies such as these recent ones by Forum 18 on Maldives and the Australian Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty Commission on Eritrea are rare.

There is comfort in knowing that although these nations are unknown to many, they are known to God. Still, I am also pleased to to see this quality of research, believing that God can use it to further His purposes in these nations.

And so I urge you to study these reports in depth, to pray for the believers there and to financially support ministries like The Voice of the Martyrs who work in restricted nations like these but who, for security reasons, usually cannot share details of their work there. The Voice of the Martyrs’ Underground Church Fund is specifically set up to fund such projects. I also encourage you to stand behind Forum 18 and the Australian Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty Commission in their important research work both financially and prayerfully.

But to the reports….

To read the report on Maldives click here.

To read the report on Eritrea, click here.

To conclude, I recall reading the late Ralph Winter’s observation that the most significant ministries are those that are the most difficult to raise support for because they are often the most difficult to explain. I would add that it is also because sometimes you can’t talk about them at all or, at best, in the most general of terms. On behalf of the mission, I want to express our thanks to the many of you who trust us as we glorify God by serving His Persecuted Church around the world by donating to our work. We also thank God for you and pray for you, our supporters, almost every day during our staff prayer time. Together, we hope to roll back the ignorance that many have of nations like Maldives and Eritrea so that we may truthfully say that the plight of our brothers and sisters is known both to God and to man.

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