Dear Pastors, Missionaries, Chaplains and friends,
Steve here…This Sunday all over Canada, churches will be recognizing the .......
International Day of the Persecuted Church (IDOP Sunday).
In 1987, I met Pastor Joseph Ton while he was visiting Canada. He had found the secret to overcoming aggression. Listen to his incredible insight. He writes:
“Years ago, I ran away from my country to study theology at Oxford. In 1972, when I was ready to go back to Romania, I discussed my plans with some fellow students. They pointed out that I might be arrested at the border. One student asked, ‘Joseph, what chances do you have of successfully implementing your plans?’
I asked God about it, and God brought to mind Matthew 10:16, “I send you as sheep in the midst of wolves”, and God seemed to say, “Tell me, what chance does a sheep surrounded by wolves have of surviving five minutes, let alone of converting the wolves? Joseph, that’s how I send you: totally defenseless and without a reasonable hope of success. If you are willing to go like that, go. If you are not willing to be in that position, don’t go.”
Ton writes: “After our return, as I preached, harassment and arrests came. One day during interrogation, an officer threatened to kill me. Then I said, ‘Sir, your supreme weapon is killing. My supreme weapon is dying. Sir, you know my sermons are all over the country on tapes now. If you kill me, I will be sprinkling them with my blood. Whoever listens to them after that will say, “I’d better listen; this man sealed it with his blood.” They will speak ten times louder than before. So, go on and kill me. I will win the supreme victory then.”
The officer sent him home. “That gave me pause. For years I was a Christian who was cautious because I wanted to survive. I had accepted all the restrictions the authorities put on me because I wanted to live. Now I wanted to die, and they wouldn’t oblige. Now I could do whatever I wanted in Romania. For years I wanted to save my life, and I was losing it. Now that I wanted to lose it, I was winning it.”
An estimated 180,000 Christians are being killed each year solely because they profess to being a follower of Christ. Pray for brothers and sisters in Christ to remain strong despite the hatred and hostility. Pray.
Many of us are currently enjoying a great time of fellowship within our Fellowship family in Richmond, BC, at our annual Fellowship National Conference. We are celebrating our 60th Anniversary as a Fellowship of churches (1953-2013) and the 50th Anniversary of our Fellowship International global ministry (1963-2013) during this Conference. I hope you are here for the party! Make sure you follow us on Twitter at: @FellowshipNatl. For tweeting about Fellowship National Conference use: #FNC2013.
Have a blessed week,
P.S. Please prayerfully consider giving to our FAIR Christmas project. CLICK HERE for more details. Maybe your church family might consider hosting a special offering for the FAIR Christmas project?
Our 2014 Fellowship theme verse is:
“Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13:35 (NLT)