Pastor Farid ministers in war-torn – and predominantly Muslim – Syria. Death threats against him are so common he can’t track them all. Except for the one instance that he was able to count them. Thirty. He knew that because they were spray painted and numbered on the front of his home.
Number one, this is how we’re going to kill you. Number two, this is how we’re going to kill your wife. Number three, this is how we’re going to kill your children. Number four…
The church in the Middle East is under more persecution than anywhere in the world. Not coincidentally, I think, the Christian church in the Middle East is growing rapidly. In the midst of terrible darkness, there is a beautiful ray of hope.
God is moving in profound ways.
It’s amazing how God uses desperate circumstances to open people’s eyes to their need for Christ. A portion of Pastor Farid’s death threats came by text from a man named Rashid. Someone once asked Farid why he didn’t replace his phone, so Rashid couldn’t terrorize him. Farid said, “No, Rashid’s threats remind me to pray for him every day. Nobody else will. So I will.”
Farid did more than pray. He went to Rashid’s home. Their interaction was intense. As Farid was leaving, he surprised Rashid by saying, “I have a gift for your family,” and handing him a Bible. In the Middle East, if someone offers a gift to your family, you don’t turn it down. Rashid held the Bible with two fingers like it was poisonous.
Some weeks later, Rashid was trapped in bombing in Syria. The Quran wasn’t offering him any comfort. He picked up the Bible and read it until 6 a.m. the next morning. Along the way, he fell in love with Jesus. Rashid now writes worship songs for the church in Syria.
Tom and JoAnn Doyle have been missionaries to the Middle East for years and have witnessed conversions to Christ that defy explanation outside of divine intervention. They’re our guests on our Focus on the Family Broadcast “Praying for Persecuted Christians in the Middle East.” You can hear it on your local radio station, online, or on our free phone app.
Believers in the West know that Christians in the Middle East are subject to intense persecution, but their plight usually seems far removed from our own experiences. With that in mind, I’d encourage you to join me for my conversation with Tom and Joann. You’ll be amazed by the stories of boldness by Christians living in the Middle East, and you’ll be inspired to pray for those who are persecuted.