“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” — Matthew 5:10 (ESV)
During His ministry on Earth, Jesus never shied away from the subject of persecution. Instead, He warned His followers that it was inevitable for everyone who chose to follow Him. But His warning also came with a promise — those who are persecuted in His name would see the kingdom of heaven.
Jesus’s promise rings especially true today — an estimated 360 million Christians face persecution worldwide. Those who refuse to deny Jesus suffer discrimination, abuse, violence, ex-communication, imprisonment, and even death.
In many parts of the world, being a Christian has become extremely dangerous. Still, Christians in these six countries continue to follow Christ, despite immense risks.
Watch the short videos below to learn more.
Though Christianity is a prominent religion in Ethiopia, Christ-followers still face the risk of intense persecution if they convert from Islam or the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. They often endure ex-communication from their families and discrimination from their communities.
Women who convert to Christianity are especially at risk. Some are forced into marriage in an attempt to bring them back to Islam. Others who are already married face the threat of divorce and separation from their children.
Christians in Nigeria, especially in the north, are currently experiencing violent attacks from militant groups intent on spreading radical Islam. Many Nigerian Christians have been driven from their homes and must live as refugees.
Christians who converted from Islam are particularly at risk of discrimination, exclusion from their families, and hostility from their communities. They are constantly pressured to deny Christ and convert back to Islam.
Many of Nepal’s Christians converted from Hinduism. As a result, they endure almost constant pressure from their families and communities to forsake Christianity. They also live in danger of violence from radical groups. Churches are not safe, either — they risk being destroyed or shut down just for gathering to worship God.
Christians in China face intense pressure from both their communities and the authorities. Churches endure harsh restrictions, and many of them experience violent raids. Pastors and other church leaders are also under constant surveillance. Some are even abducted.
Despite worsening persecution, the underground church in China is growing, and more people are learning about the Gospel of Christ. Still, Christians face danger every single day for their faith and must worship and read the Bible in secret.
India is the most populous nation in the world, with 1.4 million people. Its society is almost totally centered around the Hindu religion. This leaves little room for Christianity. In fact, Christians aren’t even considered legitimate citizens in many areas of India.
Christians who convert from Hinduism also face intense pressure from their families. Exclusion, work discrimination, violent attacks, and even death are daily realities for Christ-followers in India.
North Korea has been named one of the most dangerous places to be a Christian for over 20 years. Almost all forms of religion are banned — except Juche, a political ideology that includes total reverence for the nation’s leader.
If Christians are discovered practicing their faith or even in possession of a Bible, they and their families are arrested and sent to brutal labor camps. In these camps, they’re forced to endure hard labor and endure torture because of their faith. Most people don’t survive long enough to be released.
Christians all over the world put their lives at risk every single day to follow Christ. Despite the dangers, the global church is growing! And there are two ways you can help right now:
First, pray for Christians living in at-risk countries.
Pray for their safety and well-being amid dangerous circumstances. Pray that the light of Christ would shine through their lives. And pray that they wouldn’t be discouraged in the face of persecution but would use every situation to grow closer to Jesus.
Second, you can give a financial gift.
Christians in these nations and others don’t just face persecution. Many also face hunger, homelessness, and unemployment. But when you give just $24, you’ll provide TWO persecuted Christians or other people in need with essentials like food, clean water, medical care, God’s Word, and more.
Christians around the world are suffering because of their faith, and they desperately need your help to survive. Will you be the hands and feet of Jesus to them today?