Taking Up the Cross of Christ

October 28, 2009

Christians in rural Vietnam meet in secret under a bamboo bush.

EXAMINING the lives of believers in Vietnam, Laos, and Burma, we can begin to understand the nature and cause of persecution many Christians experience. All three countries have military dictatorships at the helm of government. Both human rights and religious rights are often trampled. In Burma persecution by Buddhist monks adds to the burden of government harassment. These corrupt governments are trying to maintain control and power by inhumane treatment of Christians and other minority groups.

Christian Aid Mission helps to provide for the needs of many ministries whose workers encounter danger and suffering, but who serve the Lord faithfully knowing that their lives count for the kingdom. As Tertullian said, "The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church."

Christianity is seen as a foreign, and particularly western, religion. Fear of cultural change can generate persecution, as some think the new believer will try to alter the lives of others. Sadly, sometimes the harshest persecution comes from the family of the new believer.

How many of us have more than one Bible available to read, attend Bible studies at will, and feel safe in our churches and at home? Our children can attend schools, and we are free to work without fear of government intervention. These are things many of our brothers and sisters in poorer lands do not share and will never take for granted. Pray that one day every believer will be able to worship the Lord freely and without fear of persecution.