Urgent Call to Prayer
When you are serving in a country with limited freedom, or the prospect of limited freedom, there is a tendency to focus on all of the limitations, and forget the open doors that God has given to minister to people. This can create an attitude of concentrating on what you can’t do instead of what you can do, which often limits our faith in a miracle working God. We have always tried to avoid alarmism and focus on the positive in our prayer letters. With this is mind however, it would also be foolhardy to ignore threats to the propagation of the Gospel, that God clearly wants us to pray about as if they were an urgent matter.
Trying to keep this in perspective, I would like to let you know about the experiences of a fellow Baptist missionary associated with our mission agency, Don Ossewaarde. Last month, I wrote in our prayer letter about a new law that was causing concern, and stipulated that we were still hopeful that the enforcement of the law would focus on dangerous groups that could possibly become involved in terrorism. Sadly, in many instances they are acting as if any group that calls itself Christian, but is not aligned with the Orthodox Church, are the “terrorist groups” that this law was meant to address.
Recently, Bro. Ossewaarde had three policemen visit his service. He was arrested for preaching the Gospel in a house he owns, to a small group of believers. The very same day he was brought before a court were a judge ruled that he was guilty, and required him to pay a fine of over 600 USD. He was then warned by his court appointed lawyer that he was no longer welcome in his city and should leave immediately. He and his wife were threatened with being beaten and even murdered (the phrase that was used was “disappear”). Bro. Don sent his wife back to America and has filed an appeal in court. He is bravely taking a stand to give himself and others (including myself) freedom to preach the Gospel and plant churches.
Our Current Situation
We have not yet experienced this level of persecution, but we are doing the same things of which they are accusing Bro. Ossewaarde. For the time being, our kids are still with us and we do not feel threatened. Please pray for our first service in our new building, and for freedom.