We can’t show their pictures. We can’t share their names. We can’t tell you what country they’re from. We can say they reside somewhere in Southeast Asia and sharing the Gospel landed them in a dark underground prison.
The two men are pastors. And prison is too benevolent of a word. They’re being held in cold, damp holes in the ground where there is just enough room for them to turn around, but not stand upright. Each receives a cup of of rice, a pinch of salt, and a little water every day. They live in complete darkness and isolation for several months at a time.
Before their recent arrest, the pastors traveled on bikes or by foot to villages evangelizing, discipling, and planting churches. They count the cost for their faith – on several occasions they have both served time in suffocating prisons.
One pastor was hung by his thumbs from a tree – until a local government official walked by and stopped the torture. Eighteen people came to know the Lord from this man’s witness. An entire village followed the other pastor as he was taken away; they waited and prayed until he was released three days later. Thousands have come to Christ because of the faith of these men. One pastor said:
Our persecution is a sign we belong to the Lord. Without persecution we would not grow in faith.
The hardship draws villages together in a secretive, but thriving community. Churches have a Sunday service where they share a meal. They also have services on Sunday and Wednesday nights and a prayer gathering on Thursday nights. Many tribesmen and women walk miles to attend – to soak in the life-giving fellowship and teaching.
Our staff had the privilege of spending time with these pastors before they were arrested. “They were filled with joy and their faith was infectious,” said one member of our staff. Global Mission at David C Cook is working to get The Story of Jesus in the hands of those that continue outreach in their absence.
The Story of Jesus is a 16 page graphically illustrated evangelistic piece that enables believers to more effectively reach children, their families, and those who are functionally illiterate. Since 2011 Global Mission has distributed 27,450,000 copies to churches, organizations and to tribes such as the one these two pastors hail from.
Please lift up these men before the Lord. Pray God would give them the faith and physical stamina to sustain this latest prison sentence. Also pray that countless individuals would continue to come to know Jesus through their witness.
And most importantly, pray that God’s beloved sons would be encouraged. May this passage of scripture come to their hearts.
Is there anyplace I can go to avoid your Spirit? To be out of your sight?
If I climb to the sky, you’re there! If I go underground, you’re there!
If I flew on morning’s wings to the far western horizon,
You’d find me in a minute—you’re already there waiting!
Then I said to myself, “Oh, he even sees me in the dark! At night I’m immersed in the light!”
It’s a fact: darkness isn’t dark to you; night and day, darkness and light, they’re all the same to you. Psalm 139:7-12 (The Message)
We’ll keep you updated on this situation. Please also intercede on behalf of David C Cook’s Story of Jesus project. Our goal is to reach every child, in every nation of the world. We want them to personally know a God that walks closely with them, even in the darkest, most horrific places on earth.