Date: May 27, 2016
Martin Roth, BosNewsLife Senior Columnist
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA (BosNewsLife Columns)-- Many Christians share my sense of frustration at feeling so helpless in the face of waves of Christian persecution around the world.But what can I, a lone individual living in faraway Australia do - practically speaking - to make a difference in the lives of hundreds of thousands of Christians being persecuted around the world?
I pray for them and I donate money to Christian groups that are active in the field. I try to alert my church to the issues. But I am not sure what more I can do.
I am full of admiration when I read in the book “Defying ISIS” by Johnnie Moore that in December 2014 the Cradle Fund group provided direct assistance that enabled tens of thousands of Iraqi refugees to survive the winter.
More recently, U.S.-based charity Mercury One – founded by media personality Glenn Beck - chartered an aeroplane and flew 149 Christian refugees from Iraq to sanctuary in Slovakia. When I search the internet for ways to help the persecuted I am advised to write letter to government leaders.
I am not optimistic about that. I have in the past occasionally written to local politicians about issues that concerned me, only to receive the blandest of responses and no evident change in government policy.
My government has pledged to take thousands of refugees from the fighting in the Mideast, and that is starting to happen. Some of these refugees are Christians. Perhaps I should write and ask that Australia take more.
I could help refugees who have arrived in Australia. In fact, I am doing this to a modest extent, as we have several refugees in our church.
I could also help educate people. The more that Christians know about the plight of refugees the more inclined they will be to help. And I do this too, in a limited way, through my writing activities. So I am doing a little.
I am encouraged to learn of a conference to be held in the US in July, called “The Bridge,” and specifically aimed at helping the church to care about, and be involved with, fighting persecution.
Over three days, attendees at the conference will meet the organizations, churches and mission agencies that are working on the ground, and learn how to connect and work with the persecuted.
But the gathering has one more goal as well, and this is important: It urges Christians to seek inspiration in the persecuted church. Speakers will use the example of the persecuted church as a call for revival.
The book “Defying ISIS” touched on this issue after encountering some of the persecuted in the Mideast: “Through their excruciating pain, through the weight of their trauma, and their thousand kinds of brokenness, they don’t resent the call to suffer that God has put upon their shoulders, but they welcome it. They celebrate it, and they feel honoured by it. They inspire us by it.”
I shall continue to look for ways to help the persecuted.
But, at the same time, I shall strive to understand that, in their suffering, the Christians of the Middle East might also be helping me and others in our walk with the Lord.