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Suffering for Christ

In this season of Easter, we focus our attention in particular on the vicarious suffering and death of our Lord Jesus Christ on the cross, as well as His subsequent glorious resurrection, for our eternal salvation. At the same time, we are reminded that Christ’s church here below oftentimes is still suffering. Jesus himself predicted this fact: If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you (John 15:20). Worldwide, persecution of believers is on the rise. India in particular has developed over the past few years from a once rather secular democracy into a hotbed of persecution. This persecution is part-government sanctioned and arises in part from within the communities of converts. Call of Hope’s multiple Indian co-workers are witnesses to this sad development., as their own evangelistic work is becoming more dangerous every year.

For example, in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, our co-worker Bro. Salman* is very active in Muslim evangelisation. His wife, Sis. Maryam* is conducting sewing courses for young Muslim girls and women in rural areas. This course is a huge benefit to these participants from poor backgrounds and help them to secure a livelihood for themselves and their families. During their time together, Sis. Maryam also teaches the young women Christian songs and tells them stories from the Bible. Quite a few of the participants eventually accept Christ during this one-year course. At the end, there is a graduation celebration to which the families and relatives as well as other village inhabitants are invited. Bro. Salman and Sis. Maryam always use this wonderful opportunity to share the gospel with all invited guests.

Since the sewing course is conducted in a different village every year, Sis. Maryam faces the challenge each time to find a suitable location to rent for this purpose. Many Muslims are not willing to rent out a suitable room to “these Christians”. However, last year, Bro. Mohammed* offered a large enough place at his house. Bro. Mohammed is 70 years old and is the owner of a grocery store. Bro. Salman had come to know him one year previously during one of his evangelistic outreaches, and Mohammed had accepted the Lord and had become a secret believer.

Sis. Maryam was very grateful to be able to have the sewing course at Bro. Mohammed’s place. For the graduation ceremony, they had invited 100 guests – but actually 200 guests from the village showed up! Bro. Salman was leading through the festive programme and also gave a short sermon, explaining to the guests who Jesus is and why God sent his Son into the world to die for our sins. Bro. Mohammed, the owner of the property where Sis. Maryam had conducted the sewing course, also courageously confessed his faith in Christ publicly in front of his fellow Muslim villagers. Unfortunately, he is now facing intense persecution in his village. The village Muslims demand that he return to his former faith and otherwise threaten to expel him and his family from the village community. Please pray for Bro. Mohammed.

Also sewing students who come to faith in Christ often have to face persecution. One such example is Sis. Farat*. Sis. Maryam told us about her situation: “Farat participated in 2018 in our sewing course. After about six months, she took a personal decision to follow Jesus. As is customary in our culture, her parents arranged for her marriage with a Muslim guy. Her future husband knew about her faith in Christ before they married and seemed to be fine with it.

However, later he was incited against Christianity by his Muslims relatives, and became very hateful towards Christians – including his wife Farat. He expected her to renounce her faith in Jesus. When she steadfastly refused, he mistreated her psychologically and even physically over a prolonged period of time. When we visited her, Farat showed us the wounds from the beatings of her body by her husband.

At the moment, she is living separate from her husband together with her small son, in the apartment of her deceased mother. In order to provide a livelihood for herself and her son, she wishes to open a small sewing shop. Please pray that this should become possible, and that her Muslim husband may also repent and come to faith in Christ.”

Dear friends, as we rejoice in the salvation which Christ has wrought for us on Calvary, let us not forgot our suffering brethren in the World of Islam. Please also pray for all of Call of Hope’s frontline workers in the field.

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