The psychological and physical torture that persecuted Christians endure, often by the hands of their own family, is unfathomable to most of us in the Western world. What they face every day is meant to break them down by asserting mental and physical pain so great that they will deny Christ and return to Islam.
Following Christ in the Face of Persecution
Yet, even if a persecuted Christian were to deny Christ, their family and neighbors would still treat them with contempt, harassing them and humiliating them as a reminder of their disloyalty. Knowing this—that they will be persecuted if they accept Christ and persecuted if they return to Islam—their decision to follow Jesus is not one they make lightly. Because of the compelling love, peace, and joy that Jesus reveals to His children, those who convert to Christianity are confident and hopeful in their decision, despite the knowledge of the persecution that will surely follow. For many who choose Christ, they count it as gain in the Kingdom of God to suffer for His name.
This is what some would call “next-level” faith: To know for sure that they will suffer for Christ when their faith is revealed to their family and neighbors in the Muslim world, yet, they follow Jesus with full hearts and open hands.
Families in Danger Need Safe Places to Stay
When families and neighbors turn violent against the new Christian believer, our persecuted brothers and sisters are often unable to remain in their homes—for fear of their own lives. When they run, they need a secure, secret place they can go. They need a place where they can rest, regroup and begin to work toward an independent life for themselves. That’s where Help The Persecuted Safe Houses come in.
Over the past few years God has mightily moved, allowing us to grow from seven Safe Houses to 19! What a blessing to know there are 19 (with more to come) secret, secure locations across the Middle East and North Africa where our persecuted brothers and sisters can rest, learn more about Jesus Christ, and begin planning for their new lives.
A Safe House Saved Leanna
Our sister, Leanna, was in a progressively violent situation with her family. When she fled for her safety, she needed a place to go. This is her story:
Leanna grew up in a strict, religious home where she felt trapped. She often wondered what life would be like if Allah did not exist.
Her aunt was a Christian and showed great love and care for Leanna. So, Leanna began to wonder about her life and watch Christian TV programming when she was alone. Her brother became suspicious and put a lock on the television. She was able to unlock the television and continue watching. Yet, Leanna began to feel shame for watching these shows. So, she prayed to Allah for forgiveness. That night, Leanna had a dream where a man in white appeared to her. She felt a wave of peace and joy like never before. She realized later that the figure in her dream was Jesus.
Leanna then purchased a phone and created a Facebook account where she began to contact seekers like her. When her family discovered her Facebook activities, they took her phone, beat her, held her at knifepoint and threatened her, then locked her in her bedroom.
When Leanna’s family loosened their surveillance of her activities, Leanna met with a Christian friend who was posing as an English tutor. Leanna’s friend shared the Gospel and led Leanna to accept Jesus.
Leanna’s family eventually grew suspicious of Leanna’s “English lessons,” and she began to fear for her life. She eventually knew that she must leave her home country in order to save her life. She is now on the run from her family, in one of our Safe Houses in a neighboring country. When she recently attempted to renew her citizenship documents, she found out that her name had been given to authorities and she is now wanted as an infidel.
With Your Help, Leanna is Rebuilding Her Life
Leanna left her family with very little and was struggling to remain hidden while trying to plan her next steps. In our Safe House, her living expenses are paid and she’s able to focus on growing in her faith and finding work. The time she spends in our Safe House is preparation for living independently and growing in community with fellow believers.
In our Safe Houses, discipleship materials are provided, and frequent discipleship meetings are held with Help The Persecuted Field Ministry Team members. Depending on the needs of the persecuted believer, skill training or business support may be provided for those starting businesses or wishing to become a skilled tradesperson.
Those who take shelter in Help The Persecuted’s Safe Houses are, in reality, running for their lives. They are seeking to disappear in order to preserve their lives. For us, a Safe House is more than a building to hide in. For Help The Persecuted, Safe Houses are harbors where persecuted Christians are Rescued, Restored, and can Rebuild their lives, allowing them to heal and grow deeper in their faith.
As more Muslims convert to Christianity, the need for safe harbors increases. We are grateful to have impacted thousands of lives that were in immediate, extreme danger. This year, with your support, we can do even more. Help us sustain our Safe House network and open more locations as the Lord leads.