You make the difference
Behind every statistic about the persecuted church, there is a story: a widow's future transformed, a child's life saved, a homeless family given new hope and strength. And none of this would happen without your generosity, your prayers, your letters, your concern.
Thank you for being part of this vital work.
Here are just a few stories of how the persecuted church is able to stand strong through the storm thanks to the generosity of Christians in the UK and Ireland:
Traumatised children loved back to life in Mexico
"We have many who love us, and we did not know it!" - Cristina, aged 5, Mexico
Ever since five-year-old Cristina's parents and brother were killed in front of her as they walked to church in Huixtan, a team from Open Doors has been visiting her and her siblings every Saturday morning. "We started to focus on the importance of the protection God gives us and that he never abandons us," said the Open Doors worker.
Open Doors has also been able to offer practical support to Cristina and her family, supplying them with clothing, as well as legal counsel as the murders are investigated. "Cristina once again has a sparkle in her eyes and a beautiful smile," said the Open Doors worker.
"We can only be grateful to know how much our God loves us," said her brothers on a recent visit. "We think it's wonderful to have a great family that prays for us!"
North Korean refugees receive Bible teaching
Sister Kim* fled from North Korea to China, leaving her daughter behind because she hoped she would be able to support her from across the border.
"When she arrived at our safe house, we could see she was a troubled young woman," says an Open Doors worker. "Sister Kim was hostile towards our Bible studies. But we prayed for her and slowly she became more interested in the gospel - especially when she realised that, for her whole life, nobody had taken care of her, except for Jesus."
Sister Kim could have tried to emigrate to South Korea from China. Instead, after a few months in an Open Doors safe house, she chose to go back. She hadn't seen her daughter in three years, and she returned with a Bible, which is strictly banned in North Korea.
"I have not heard from her since then. I am very worried," the Open Doors worker admits. "But I know she is in God's hands."
An answer to prayer in Ethiopia
When her husband - a pastor - was arrested and imprisoned for his faith, Hadas was left alone to provide for her three girls. She worried about whether she could afford to send them to school. She prayed to God for help. Out of the blue, she had a visit from an Open Doors worker.
"He told me Open Doors would provide my children's school fees. I was so surprised, it was like an angel had come to my home, just like that!"
Spreading the gospel in the Arab World
Dani is an evangelist and church planter supported by Open Doors. "The Lord told me to move to a specific city and bad neighbourhood and start sharing the gospel there. Now this bad neighbourhood has over 25 believers and nine house groups. I still work full time in ministry but I need to make some living as well. With the help of Open Doors I was able to buy an old car and make some living as a taxi driver."
Ahmed*, another secret church worker funded by Open Doors, says, "After all the persecution I have been through, I still evangelise. I plant house churches and travel around to visit them. Despite the pressure I will continue."
Looking after widows and orphans in Nigeria
Extreme persecution can leave families struggling to survive when the breadwinner of the family is martyred. Your giving enables us to provide vocational training and business loans to widows, and to educate orphans so they can have hope for the future.
"I thank Open Doors for making life easier for me through this loan programme. Before this loan, it was not easy with me to have three meals with my children, but now we are feeding very well," says Arewa.
"Your help really put a smile on my face and my children's faces," says Grace. "We are very grateful for your kindness and for supporting us with so many things both food, clothing, toiletries and now school fees for our children. May the good Lord bless you and all your families!"
Restoring traumatised children in Colombia
Your giving enables us to support traumatised children who have witnessed the persecution of their families. You enable support workers to stand alongside them, providing healing and hope for the future.
In Colombia, nine-year-old Daniel saw his father shot dead in front of him because he refused to stop preaching the gospel. The family were forced to flee. But Daniel has kept some of his father's clothes because when he's old enough he wants to be a preacher like his Daddy. And Open Doors is committed to doing everything possible to see him realise his dream.
"We're in it for the long haul," says an Open Doors field worker in Colombia. "We'll walk with him right up to the point where, if he still wants to, he puts on his father's clothes and starts telling people what it really means to love your enemies."
Advocating for justice
There are many cases of Christians facing injustice simply because they are Christians. Your giving has paid for lawyers to represent falsely accused Christians in court to help them get a fair trial.
"I don't know what exactly what to say, you have changed my perception on the love of Christ," says Ewonna, whose Muslim father and Islamic community are trying to force her into Islam and marriage to a Muslim man. "I cannot believe when I saw you seated in the court to hear our story. The assistance you gave us to pay our lawyer has really proven to me that there is love in Jesus Christ. We are extremely grateful. We believe your donations and prayers will certainly free us from this case."
"We cannot thank God enough for this advocacy training. It is an eye-opener for Christians in Sharia state where our rights are trampled upon. We have succumbed due to our ignorance of our rights. Now we are informed and enlightened. We are going to take it up from here. The good Lord will crown all your efforts with success. You have delivered us from the darkness. Every pastor is going to take this awareness to his church. It is really amazing," says Rev Chima in Nigeria.
For more detailed information on how Open Doors uses your money please see our Financial Review.