Monday, June 14, 2010

Risking It All!

“Down on the floor, get down on the floor, now,” yelled the leader of the police unit. Surprised and scared everyone else backed up against the sides of the simple house made of bamboo and palm leaves. As the police grabbed the two training pastors dragging them into the village common area the other pastors were rounded up and made to sit and watch as the interrogation began.

Materials are burned in plain sight of the evangelists and pastors, each are kicked and beaten with pieces of bamboo. This intimidation is meant to gather as much information as possible about the two training pastors. Their ethnic look gives away the fact that they are obviously not from the local area. The pastors remain silent which only inflames more beatings and intimidation. As the torture continues they find that the men are from a neighboring country and have come in response to the new churches that are being planted and the need for training new leaders.

The police now turn their attention toward the two training pastors…

Shrieks are heard as the bamboo hits the soles of the two men’s feet. This painful torture causes the flesh to be bruised and flayed resulting in extreme pain and the inability to walk. They are kicked and punched repeatedly until police get what they want.

The men are dragged off to jail and their motorbikes are confiscated. These jails are horrid places and having to remain in jail for nearly six months the men are confined to a small cell with a ragged blanket and two small bowls of porridge (rice and water) a day. In addition to being confined they are regularly exposed to ridicule and beatings and the only comfort they get is when they turn to prayer and worship. Soon word of their arrest reaches their leaders and the church is moved to pray for their release as the leadership of this movement begins a dialogue with the government authorities to secure their release.

Fines are negotiated and paid, men are released and medically treated, and after being welcomed back they are nursed back to health. Within a matter of months they will start making regular return trips back to the same region to continue their training. This is just one story of our partnership between a North American Church and a movement which is planting churches in twenty of this nation’s fifty minority groups that populate this restricted Asian country. In the last five years this group has established more than 300 churches in their country and nearly 35 in a neighboring country. Pray for those who risk it all.

This is your investment. This is your joy.
Mark Szymanski

If you would like to join our financial support team you can send contributions to: United World Mission, PO Box 602002, Charlotte NC 28260-2002 and write ACCT# 11013 in the memo line. Further info about on-line giving and other programs see UWM.

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