Love. The driving force behind great movements, great acts of courage, and great sacrifices. It is their love for others and their love for Christ Jesus—inseparable, and ever intertwined—that compels our Field Ministry Team members to risk their lives and families to serve persecuted Christians in the Middle East and North Africa.
Our Field Ministry Team members are on the front lines of Christian persecution, they are often the defender and the protector of broken people who are being threatened, tortured, harassed, violated and sometimes killed for following Jesus.
Each man and woman on our team knows the risks they are taking each time they come to the assistance of a persecuted Christian. In many countries, it’s illegal, or at the very least cultural suicide, to convert from Islam to Christianity. And for those who assist or support these Christian converts, the risk is just as high.
Compromised and on the run
Kareem was a joyful, dedicated member of our Field Ministry Team. He was eager to serve his brothers and sisters who are being persecuted in Syria and those who had been devastated by years of civil war.
Kareem knew that he could be imprisoned or killed for the work he was doing. This is the reality for believers in Jesus Christ in this region of the world—and for the staff of Help The Persecuted.
Kareem had delivered support to a young convert to Christianity. What he didn’t know was an acquaintance of this convert had been spying and reported to the authorities that “Christians” were helping this man with his needs. Rather than be grateful that ministries and churches are helping those in need, authorities found it unacceptable and began following Kareem to find out more.
Once Kareem learned he was being followed, he was able to get a message to his sister outside of Syria so that she could let us, his coworkers, know not to contact him and that he and his young family were “going dark” for a time.
As a faith community, our team here at Help The Persecuted was very concerned and burdened for his and his family’s safety. Not knowing exactly where he was, all we could do at the time was pray. Kareem and his family were on the run.
Days turned into weeks. Finally, we received word from Kareem that they had made it safely into a neighboring country:
“I thank God because he loves me and loves my family and gave me the opportunity to get out of Syria. Your prayers were felt and needed as we were shocked and afraid.
“For so long, I was the one helping the persecuted, but now I was being persecuted. My whole viewpoint changed and I understood their fear and desperation in a new way. I also experienced our mighty God in a fresh way—and I know our escape was miraculous.
“I encourage you, my brothers and sisters, to continue praying, serving, and giving enthusiastically. There are many persecuted people in the world, and they are in dire need of your help, especially in Syria.
“Thank you for all you do, and I would love to encourage you with this simple verse, Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
With great relief, Help The Persecuted was now able to come alongside Kareem and help him and his family rebuild as they settled into a new life with nothing but the clothes on their backs.
Threatened and afraid
The reality is, our Field Ministry Team face dangers (seen and unseen) every day as they share the Gospel and serve the persecuted in hostile regions.
Only a few months after Kareem faced extreme persecution, we received news of another team member being threatened.
Field Ministry Team member Qasem left Iran after spending years in prison following his conversion. He settled in Turkey and is ministering to Christian converts there, many of whom are Iranian refugees. Qasem has a family member in Turkey, Afshin, who recently traveled back to Iran.
At the airport in Iran, Afshin was stopped, his passport and cell phone taken, and he was interrogated for two days. The final message he was given from authorities was to tell Qasem to stop his Christian work: “They know. They will find him. They will bring him back and kill him.”
Our Field Ministry Team members need prayers for protection and wisdom every day. We must intercede with our Lord that their movements and actions go undetected by extremists and authorities who would harm them and stamp out Christianity.
Grateful and Prayerful
Saying that we’re grateful for our frontline Field Ministry Team doesn’t quite capture the depth of our feelings—we are in awe of these men and women risking their lives for the sake of the Gospel in hostile regions.
Team members like Kareem and Qasem risk their lives and livelihood to serve their persecuted brothers and sisters. We know that their work is not in vain, but serves a greater glory yet to be revealed.
Learn more about how we work with persecuted Christians in the Middle East and North Africa.