Standing Firm Against Persecution
November 1, 2002 - More than 200 million Christians worldwide suffer persecution ranging from discrimination to torture. But in all my travels, I've seen none that suffer more than the Christians of Sudan. For them, persecution is not only a fact of life but is often the cause of death.
by Franklin Graham
In late September, jet bombers from the Islamic government of Sudan blew up a cattle camp adjacent to the Samaritan's Purse hospital in southern Sudan. Thirteen unarmed Dinka nomads were killed, including a child and a pregnant mother. The only reason for the bombing was to cause terror at one of the few bastions of Christian hope in Sudan.
The toll could have been much worse if the bombs had hit the hospital or the market. But God has miraculously spared the hospital through repeated bombing attacks. He has been glorified by the courageous service of international Christian medical personnel who serve there.
What is happening in Sudan gives a glimpse of persecution to those of us who have never experienced it. We have a responsibility to pray and serve those who are suffering for the Name of Christ. On the second Sunday in November, thousands of churches will be joining in the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. Pray for their perseverance. And pray that their faith will shine so that even their enemies will see.
Jesus repeatedly taught His followers to expect persecution, and promised that they would experience the presence of God in the midst of it. "Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit." (Mark 13:11, NIV). Paul spoke as one who had suffered persecution when he wrote, "For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain." (Philippians 1:21, NIV)
Around the world, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan's Purse are working to strengthen and encourage persecuted believers, and to reach out to those who don't know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. We know that in the hour of persecution, God pours out His Spirit.
Learn more about the work of Samaritan's Purse in Sudan.