Story and photos by Josh Larson
To avoid added persecution or death, the faces of those Christians ministering in hostile countries has been hidden, masked, or distorted beyond recognition.
In an unassuming retreat center in the countryside of a Muslim-dominated country, a team from Far Reaching Ministries (FRM) joined hands with believers from five different nationalities as prayers and worship songs were lifted to the Lord. While those gathered by FRM came from nations of unique cultures and languages, their home countries share one thing in common: hostility toward faith in Jesus.
“Our plan was to get some of our underground brothers and sisters in some of the most dangerous countries in the world out and into a neutral country somewhere in the Middle East to just love on them and encourage them,” said Edward Amaya, director of FRM’s Ghost Operations.
Working in 9 out of the 10 most dangerous countries in the world, FRM supports a vast network of believers in hostile regions. Ghost Operations is the branch of the ministry that sends out and supports ministry workers in these regions. This gathering was the first opportunity in many years for the team to fellowship in-person with them. Edward recalled, “We hadn’t seen some of these people for over 15 years.”
During the gathering, each person was given an opportunity to share about the ministry they’re conducting in their country, as well as to communicate the harsh realities of persecution and conditions that Christians face there.
Edward recounted one woman’s traumatizing testimony of being jailed for her faith: “She was imprisoned for her faith, she was threatened with her life, she was threatened every day with rape. They threatened to execute her son, all because of her faith.”
One of the goals of FRM’s time with these believers was to capture their stories and bring them back to the Church in the West. Through interviews and stories, FRM and CC Magazine are working to bring these accounts back home for the Calvary Chapel family to be aware of the harsh realities faced by these believers every day.
When asked about the importance of getting these stories out into the rest of the world, Edward responded: “It inspires me. …This is not an opportunity for us to back up, to live in our bubble, to complain about politics, to complain about the world. It’s our time as Christians to go out with everything we have and show the love of God to people.”
Most importantly, Edward stated, the joy of the Lord is evident in these Christians’ lives. “They won’t talk about their suffering; they’re talking about the opportunity that God has given them in the midst of these trials.”
To learn more, go to frmusa.org