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The persecuted church

October 2013 | by Liz Bickley

A meeting, aimed at highlighting the conditions and needs faced by the persecuted church, was held in July, at Ebenezer Reformed Baptist Church, Brighton.
    The speakers were Pastor Pooyan Mehrshahi from Cheltenham and Pastor Haile Emiru from London. Information was shared regarding the persecution of Christians in the Middle East, with a particular focus on Iran and north and east Africa.
    The meeting opened with the sobering fact that every 190 seconds a Christian gives up his life for Christ’s sake; that is, 19 people every single hour. Personal testimonies were given of the lengths our brothers and sisters go to in making the gospel known.
    One brother, after a long working day, delivered scripture calendars door-to-door late in the evening. He constantly changed his route to avoid capture.
    We heard of many instances of personal sacrifice, including prison sentences, killings and burning down of churches. Throughout all these things, a constant sense of the joy of the Lord and zeal for his glory shone through.
    In the afternoon, Pooyan preached a sermon on Hebrews 13:3: ‘Remembering them as bound with them’. This impressed on all present that we must have more than a passing interest in the sufferings that our brothers and sisters are going through.
    Our unity in the body is manifested by sharing their pain, having tender compassion, being ‘chained’ with them, daily remembering and praying earnestly for them.
    The meeting was a humbling experience and we pray that learning of the plight of our brethren will have a lasting impact upon each one present, to the glory of God and the benefit of his church.
Liz Bickley

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