How North Korean Christians Pray…and How You Can Pray for Them
Through secret letters, North Korean Christians convey how much they appreciate our prayers and practical support. One church leader wrote, "Without you we would not be able to function as Christians." In the letters, they provided us with a list of specific ways we can pray for them. One such request is that we not pray for a collapse or change of the regime; but rather pray that Kim Jong-Un will bring positive changes, and that, ultimately, he will turn to God for wisdom. The complete list is available to download; please share it with others.
Advocate on Behalf of Makhset Djabbarbergenov: We continue to adovcate on behalf of former Uzbek house church pastor, Makhset Djabbarbergenov. He is currently in a Kazakhstan jail, awaiting a ruling on whether he will be returned to his native country. Uzbekistan wants him back to face charges that he practiced religion outside state regulation. Over 3,700 Open Doors' supporters have advocated on behalf of the pastor. If you have not yet taken action, please do so today at Advocate for Makhset
God’s Solutions Help the Algerian Church Grow
The number of Christians in Algeria, especially amongst the Kabyle, a Berber ethnic group more than five million strong, is steadily growing. Although they speak their own Kabyle language, the gospel is now spreading in this region through satellite television.
“My wife goes to a neighbor’s tube well to fetch the water at midnight, so that people will not see her,” said 69-year-old Ali Siddiki, a retired village police officer. “If they catch her, she will be accused stealing water! It’s a shameful thing for my wife to do, but we have no other way for us to get drinking water.”
Tube wells are a common source of potable water in Bangladesh’s rural villages. Some private individuals own wells, while others can go to a public one. Bengali former Muslims who choose to follow Christ are effectively prevented from getting water from any tube well.
“In our area, most public tube wells have arsenic, so the government sealed them,” explained Ali. “Tube wells that are free of arsenic are always crowded. But I am not allowed to get water, because I am a Christian.”
Ali Siddiki started following Christ in 1991. Though he grew up in a Muslim home, Ali was not faithful and he described his life before Christ as “ugly,” without any good reputation to show as a Muslim. At one point, Ali felt that he needed to change and sought forgiveness. “But in Islam, if you miss just one prayer (out of the five) in a day, you’re guilty of spending many years in hell. And I have missed it a thousand times!” said Ali.
It seemed that the more Ali sought peace for his soul through Islam, the deeper he sank into hopelessness. His despair led him to explore other faiths, to know what hope other religions could offer people like him – sinners. “A Christian showed me in the Bible that Isa (Jesus) came to save sinners,” Ali recounted. “He read to me Mark 2:17: ‘It is not the healthy who needs a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.’ In that verse, I found hope. I made up my mind to follow Jesus.”
After his conversion, Ali faced an uphill battle to build good relationships with the people in his village. As a Muslim, people had not really liked him; as a Christian, they hated him. Preventing families from accessing the tube well is only the beginning of the many pressures that Muslims often use against believers to force them to return to Islam.
“I did not worry about them (Muslims),” said Ali. “But we (my wife and I) could not continue sneaking into our neighbor’s property to get water. Not only is it shameful, but it can land us in jail! So, we prayed for our own tube well.”
This year, Open Doors provided resources for Ali to have his own tube well. He was excited about the opportunities this new well affords him. "I don't have enough words to express my gratitude to God and to Open Doors," Ali said. "The tube well you provided me helps not only my family, but also the people in my village. Many of our tube wells have arsenic, so people are crowding around public and private wells. I'm sharing mine to my neighbors; I hope it will help me restore good relations with them."
Bengali Christians make up less than one percent of the Bangladesh's population of 16 million.