Pressured to Deny

Not too long ago, I received the following letter (paraphrased) from "Pastor C" in Liberia. His message helps us to better understand the added challenges being experienced by today's persecuted believers due to the present global health situation:

God bless you all, our good family in the Lord.

I am writing to give you an update on how the coronavirus has impacted our people. Though we only have three confirmed cases of people infected by the virus, our government has decided to implement some strict measures to fight the virus but without proper planning. They have closed schools, churches, markets, stores and businesses without financial aid or providing food for their people.

Before the coronavirus, 80 percent of our Liberian population lived on less than a dollar a day, and they made their daily living by selling their products on the streets or in markets. With no means to sell their items, many will not survive. Transportation, essential commodities and food prices have also increased.

I have new converts to Christianity knocking on my door every day, telling me that their Muslim families are offering to help them by providing food and money, but they must return to Islam. This is a difficult time for my church, as even regular members are finding it challenging to survive.

God bless you and I pray to hear from you.

While VOMC and other humanitarian organizations cannot alone respond to all of the global needs resulting from this pandemic, open communication and coordination with our international partners will enable us to effectively respond to specific cases. Please pray that the Lord will give VOMC's International Ministry team wisdom in knowing how to respond to this problematic and growing crisis which is severely impacting Christians in many countries that are hostile or restrictive to the Gospel.

Gasoline vendor
This vendor in Liberia sold gasoline in used containers as a means of supporting his family. Due to the shutdown, Liberian families are now struggling to survive.

Thanks to your continued financial support, VOMC was able to respond to "Pastor C" and help his church assist converts who have been pressured to deny Jesus for a piece of bread. These persecuted brothers and sisters realize that their persecutors are using COVID-19 as a pretext to inflict further persecution upon them. Please join us in praying for "Pastor C" and his congregation, asking the Lord to be their source of supply and enable them to be a blessing to their community.

Indeed, the situation can be overwhelming for us, and if we did not know that we serve a Sovereign God, it would lead us to despair. I take much comfort in knowing that our Lord foreknew these days of uncertainty long before they reached us. His decrees cannot be thwarted by a virus that has shut down much of the world; and understanding these truths, gives me strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow.

Be assured, 'the mission of VOMC is still the mission.' Our present situation will not change what we have been called to do. Let us, therefore, be found faithful during this pandemic to love God and love our neighbours. After all, this still is our Father's world.

"This is my Father's world:
O let me ne'er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong,
God is the Ruler yet.
This is my Father's world:
Why should my heart be sad?
The Lord is King: let the heavens ring!
God reigns; let earth be glad!"

Lyrics by Maltbie Davenport Babcock

In closing, the following Scriptural declaration from Numbers 6:24-26 is my prayer for you:

"[May] the Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace" (ESV).

Floyd A. Brobbel
Chief Executive Officer
The Voice of the Martyrs Canada

A group of Christians