The life, death and resurrection of Christ, who’s birth we’re about to celebrate, changed everything. However, what shouldn’t be forgotten is that Christ was born in the Middle East. Also, the shepherds, who received the good news of great joy concerning the birth of Christ, were Middle East shepherds.
Why is that important? It’s because even today, news of Christ is being spread throughout the Middle East by people who are willing to risk their freedom and even their lives to do so.
Todd Nettleton is Chief of Media Relations and Message Integration for Voice of the Martyrs. He’s just returned from the Middle East and joined Jim once again to bring Crosstalk listeners an update on the persecuted church, particularly in the Middle East. He’s host of The Voice of the Martyrs Radio and author of, When Faith is Forbidden: 40 Days on the Frontlines with Persecuted Christians.
Todd began by describing one of the sobering parts of his trip. It involved meeting with Iraqi Christian refugee families who have fled to nations around Iraq. These individuals fled during the rise of ISIS 5 to 7 years ago. They’ve registered with the U.N. as refugees, have applied for acceptance in a free nation, but are in limbo as they wait for that process to proceed.
One man has been in this situation of waiting for 8 years which is difficult because where they are now, they have no legal recognition so they can’t get employment and their children aren’t able to attend public schools. Such individuals wonder how they’re going to do things that we take for granted like feeding the family.
This was a sobering reminder for Todd because this shows how the persecution of such individuals is ongoing. The result is that they’re going “under the radar” of the church world and sadly, they number in the tens of thousands.
This is just one part of a multi-faceted program that looks at various aspects of the persecution problem, not just in the Middle East, but around the globe.
As this edition of Crosstalk moved along, Todd also looked at the following:
- Persecution at the hands of loved ones.
- Governments launching persecution against believers.
- Celebrating a major life change with a new believer.
- Why do some converts openly identify with Christ? Wouldn’t it be safer to just stay silent?
- The situation in Afghanistan for believers in light of the Taliban takeover.
- Is there access to Bibles in areas of persecution?
- How can you stay informed concerning matters involving the persecuted church?