As our team looks back on 2023, we are overwhelmed by the goodness of God. To see Him moving in the Islamic world daily, drawing people of every nation to Himself, is incredible. He opens doors we don’t even know exist, provides connections that can be described only as divine, and strengthens our team and partners like you to be constant in prayer for the persecuted.
As our team took some time to reflect on this year, we wanted to share 5 of the ways that Help The Persecuted had the privilege of ministering to the persecuted church and other vulnerable people in 2023. These are answers to prayers that lead us to praise God for His guidance and provision!
1. Yemen: Starting Official Ministry Operations
Yemen is in the throes of civil war and one of the most devastating famines in history. In addition, the Muslim population is especially fervent, with many committed to honor killings if someone converts to Christianity. For a long time, our team in Jordan helped with our cases in Yemen, but we have longed to have a constant presence to help more Yemeni believers—and in December, we hired our first two Field Ministry Team members who are based in Yemen.
2. Syria and Morocco: Earthquake Crisis Responses
In February and September this year, earthquakes devastated Syria and Morocco, respectively. Our on-the-ground teams stood ready to respond in both instances, distributing Lightning Funds and basic relief supplies to those who had lost everything and praying with each recipient. This has prompted new ministry opportunities in the region, enabling us to share the hope of Jesus Christ with many others!
3. Pakistan: Starting Official Ministry
We hired our first Field Ministry Team member in Pakistan, Rachid…not knowing that we were on the heels of a crisis in Pakistan. When an armed mob destroyed nearly 30 churches and ransacked over 100 Christian homes, Rachid was on the scene in hours. Equipped with Lightning Funds, he asked the Holy Spirit to lead him to those most in need of tangible help and spiritual support, providing hope and the first wave of healing to those who had lost everything because of their faith in Jesus Christ.
4. Lebanon: War Response
We are responding to the Israel-Hamas War in two ways:
• Seeds of Hope Farm
One of the many horrible consequences of war is famine. As the fighting began, we immediately initiated plans to double the capacity of our Seeds of Hope farm. Our team is currently adding 19 commercial-grade greenhouses to make sure thousands more will have something to eat as winter sets in across a warzone.
• Opening a Refuge Center
We refurbished a church building in central Lebanon and converted it into a Refuge Center to accommodate displaced families. We are meeting their physical needs, providing beds, food, clothing, and heating during the cold winter months. We are also nourishing their souls, offering pastoral care, discipleship, and connections to local pastors. Numerous families with nowhere to go have taken shelter and been ministered to at the center.
5. All over the Islamic world: Breaking the Cycle of Poverty Through our Enduring Livelihood Program
In 2023, our Enduring Livelihood Program broke the cycles of poverty and dependence that many persecuted converts from Islam face in countries like Iraq, Egypt, Iran, Lebanon, Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Tunisia, and Algeria. With the hands-on support and guidance from our Field Ministry Team, 64 believers and their families started their own businesses, including hair salons, taxi services, spice shops, stores selling items like clothing or phones, and more. These businesses will help them lead lives of dignity and independence, ensuring that Christian parents have the means to provide for their children.
These five things are just the beginning of all that God has done this year. And as 2024 begins, we will do what God is calling and equipping us to do: To help the persecuted church flourish.