Though 2020 was a year that nobody saw coming, many have weathered the storm with exceptional faithfulness and wisdom. As we take stock of the year that was and look towards the 2021, we remember the radical lessons we learnt from the persecuted church in 2020.
For 23 years, Wang Ming-Dao was imprisoned in China for refusing to renounce his faith. During his sentence, he shared Jesus with his inmates through the sewer pipes that linked their cells. 96 people came to Christ.
“When I was in the cell the only thing I focused on was getting to know Jesus, it was only me and Him in that cell,” he said.
“You need to build yourself a cell where it’s only you and Jesus.”
Muktar* disciples secret believers in one of the most dangerous places to follow Jesus.
“Discipleship training has been conducted for more than two years now,” he said. “Because of that, believers have become deeply rooted in Jesus.
“They are able to share the gospel with other people. One of our disciples recently had the opportunity to share the gospel with five fellow students at school. One of them came to Jesus, and we believe the other four are on their way.
“I believe in the future they will take the gospel forward.”
During the pandemic, change and upheaval have been at the forefront of everyone’s minds, and people are seeking answers and meaning more than ever before.
House church leader, Suri,* said, “People are searching for answers everywhere. They seek God, as only with Him do they feel the peace they’ve been searching for.”
In an age where truth isn’t always considered absolute, Jesus remains the answer and the peace that people are seeking.
Sop* lived in a small village in Laos. His fellow villagers beat him and cast him out when they discovered his Christian faith.
In his new village, Sop experienced more threats. But he refused to stop sharing the gospel.
“I am always reminded that if people try to kill me for my faith, the Bible says not to be afraid,” he said.
“They can kill my body but not my soul. If they want to kill me, I have no problem with it for I know where I’m going after.”
In Yemen, COVID-19 compounded the hardship in a country already suffering from years of conflict and famine.
One believer said, “Even in light of the difficult conditions we’re facing, we feel that the Lord Jesus is with us.”
“We feel His mercy and closeness to us. A lot of people complain about emptiness and boredom because of the need to stay home more, but I’ve found it to be a valuable opportunity to pray, draw closer to God and feel the affection of His hand outstretched to His children.”
*Names changed for security purposes