Suzanne in BristolAfter taking part in several short-term overseas mission trips to East and North Africa, I am now living in a cross-cultural community, studying at All Nations. This is to further my personal development and faith journey, and seek God for my future, whether overseas or here in the UK. 

My college ministry placement is with Release International which serves to give a voice to persecuted Christians and strengthen them through persecution. The placement has included a recent visit to my home church in Bristol - www.kenbaptist.org - to deliver a talk on persecuted Christians around the world. We had four weeks to prepare for the event, and God was faithful! At least 40 women came and I was encouraged to see everyone pulling together to make sure everything was ready when we arrived. Everything went smoothly and people were challenged in their faith and hopefully motivated to pray.

I showed a video clip of Helen Berhane’s powerful testimony of how God stayed with her and sustained her through harrowing years of imprisonment in Eritrea. You can hear her testimony at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oa10HqTxIJ8

Yasmin, a sister in Christ and mother of three from a Muslim background, also gave her testimony about how Jesus has been her Prince of Peace through turbulent times since she began to follow Him. She especially touched the heart of a woman at the event who had a similar story, so the two of them could really connect - which is what 'Release Women' is all about!

I gave a Biblical perspective on persecution and suffering, highlighting Scripture from the book of Acts. The women attending were encouraged to pray for their persecuted sisters and had the opportunity to take away material to help them do so. Feedback was positive and the women said they found the choice of Scripture, presentation style and testimonies challenging and memorable!    

The event left me wanting to serve Christ further in the area of advocacy, to give a voice to the voiceless and help the church put into practice the words of the apostle Paul - that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other; if one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honoured, every part rejoices with it (1 Corinthians 12:25-26). God is building His Kingdom in some of the darkest places on earth - a wake-up call to the church in the West not to take our freedom for granted and to remember those who have been abandoned, rejected, imprisoned or even martyred for their faith in Jesus.

If you would like to know more about the work of Release International, or sign up to pray or give, go to www.releaseinternational.org

 

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