Around the world, Christians are losing out because of their choice to follow Jesus. Some may lose home, family, possessions, freedom or their sense of security and well-being. But despite the risks, many keep choosing to follow Jesus no matter what.
Soy* is just 16, yet she already knows what it’s like to have her freedom taken because of her faith. She’s from Laos in South East Asia. After choosing to follow Jesus and leaving behind the traditional beliefs of her village, persecution, threats and exclusion have followed.
Two years ago, she was arrested with 14 others at a small church service. When the police arrived they took everyone and kept them in prison without charge for nearly a week. They tried to pressure Soy and the others:
“They said, ‘Christianity is not a good religion so stop practising it. We do not want this religion to spread in our area! If you sign this document and agree to renounce your faith, we will let you go home today.’”
Soy and the others refused. Amazingly, they were set free later that day. Two years on, Soy still faces bad looks and words from others in her village. But she’s now enrolled in a school supported by Open Doors partners in a nearby city. The school is full of other young Christians like Soy who have gone through rough times: “There are many young people who also come to stay in the church to study like me. I don’t feel alone here.”
Like Soy, Paul, who wrote Philippians, spent time in prison because of his faith in Jesus. Both he and Soy stood firm in their faith even when their freedom was taken away – they show us that Jesus is truly precious and that knowing Him makes everything else seem insignificant – even trials and pain.
Even when faced with a choice to give up on Jesus or stay in prison, Soy chose Jesus. How do you think you’d respond if you faced that choice? Does everything you are, have done or own, pale in comparison to knowing Jesus? Could you, like Paul and Soy, press on towards the goal that God is calling you to?
Father God, thank You for the brave faith of Christians like Soy. Be with all those who have lost their freedom and are in prison because of their love of You. Give them strength and courage. Meet their needs and let them know they are not alone. Help me use the freedom I have to bring Your love to the world. Amen.
and get sponsored to give up something you love for a short time to raise money and prayer for those like Soy who have lost much because of their faith in Jesus. Sign up to get a free pack.Find out more about the challenge...