Ministry in persecution: God’s not done
By Tohru Inoue | Kenya in East Africa
Workers in Northern Kenya. Picture by Tohru Inoue.
A man on a discussion panel recounted how a colleague of his in gospel ministry had been gunned down. He asked God,
The panel was part of a week-long seminar organised by SIM’s Life Challenge Africa ministry. Some 70 participants came to discuss the Christian response to persecution from violent extremism. Participants all work in Muslim communities. They work in environments that seemed a world away from the peaceful retreat centre where we were, on the outskirts of Nairobi.
Given the heaviness of the topic, it was little surprise that people kept things at arm’s length to start with. Though they shared stories, they didn’t open up about how they had been impacted personally or how their faith had been affected. In those first few days, people spoke of persecution as a topic, not a personal reality.
But the panel discussion on the third day changed things.
He asked God, “Why!?”
After collecting his thoughts, the man recalled how God answered,
“It’s not over for me.”
The matter was not closed for God. It’s not over and done with for Jesus. It’s still on his desk. It renewed courage in this man to carry on.
Another man in the group stood up with tears in his eyes, saying,
“I felt like I was going to give up…
I wondered, ‘Do you care? Are there others with us? Lord is there any hope?’”
Many a mission worker has asked that same question. And many a frontline mission worker has felt alone, out there by themselves. Maybe they have felt deserted by God: out there on their own.
This open and vulnerable moment prompted several others to wipe away tears and speak. Something broke on that third day, and all that we had been talking about from a distance, suddenly grabbed us in a tight embrace and wouldn’t let go. We tried to fight it off, putting on a brave face, but it broke through.
Some of the workers on the retreat had arrived battered and bruised, both emotionally and physically. Their families and communities had been targeted for their faith: their children had been pushed into barbed wire; stones had been thrown on corrugated tin roofs during prayer meetings as ominous threats; and there had even been an attack on a church, leaving a host of dead in the sanctuary. God’s bullet-riddled house of prayer was described by that pastor as a slaughterhouse. They are beaten down…
But God’s not done. He’s still on it. And I think we got a sense of that in the room.
He’s not done.
• For those serving among Muslims on the African continent.
Find out more:
• To find out more, visit Life Challenge’s site: https://www.life-challenge.org.