RELIGIOUS PERSECUTIONS. As the percentage of the world’s population edged upward, the rampant religious hostility gradually escalated through the years. Christians in areas with dreadful religious restrictions are compelled to pay a heavy price for their faith. Persecutions are experiences on a daily basis ranging from public humiliation to rape to torture to slavery to discrimination in employment and education and even more worst is death.
I’m not writing about them because I knew a lot. I knew little. Little things that make up the bigger ones. I knew and understand, with all my senses attesting to it, their deepest sorrows and grave suffering.
I came to Thailand bearing in mind this thought of religious persecutions; not considering the fact that at some point, somewhere and somehow, I will be able to meet people who have experienced religious hostility and have fortunately escaped from the pangs of the oppressors but remained imprisoned by the discriminations and the end-result of their sudden flee.
The Compassionate God has opened the door for me to grasp the reality of the existence of these religious persecutions. I meet some Pakistani Refugees who are currently stuck here in Thailand and patiently waiting and seeking for the approval of their asylum status requests from UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees). For most of them, application has lasted for more than a year or even so which bears great agonies, burdensome day-to-day living of no assurance of food and the frightful fleet from the eyes of the national police. Once caught, they will be imprisoned with a bail or deported back to their home country where persecutions are evident and rampant.
I was deeply moved by their situation knowing that the only hope they have is the assurance of God’s presence in this darkest moment of their lives. I was not sure of my calling of being a missionary but God has allowed me to feel the compassion He has for these people. One Sunday as I led the Praise and Worship, their great sorrow just fell onto me that it burdened me to pen this for the sole purpose of creating or opening even the smallest window of charity for them.
In their very present situation, families lack food and other basic needs. They adjusted themselves to eat “roti” or “chapati” (a flatbread made from stoneground wholemeal flour) three to more times a day. The children have no sustainable access and resources for education. They get to learn from the visiting missionaries which classes are in an irregular occurrence which are usually conducted in a room that is not even conducive for learning. The mothers who are in-charge of the whole house culturally have experienced the intensified burdens of the day-to-day demand for security of their husband and children and the stress being brought by the patrolling policemen. The fathers grow helpless due to unemployment and the lack of means to provide for their family. They are capable of doing things but the opportunity is little to none due to the issues of their documents or visas. Old people lack medical attention. They are not given adequate and proper care. For all of them, the access to medication and hospitalization dropped less to none. Only few missionaries would come to check on them, visit them when they get extra time, provide supplementary food when extra budgets are saved up or teach the kids when there is extra time on Sunday afternoon. Very few devote time or reach out to them when they needed it badly or maybe only few understand the real picture of their daily cross.
I heard one Pakistani mom’s cry of hopelessness during the Praise and worship and it bothered me. I cried out to the Lord for clearer message of why am I discerning their afflictions and He spoke to me. He wanted them to know that He promised to never leave them nor forsake them especially in this most difficult struggle in which they are in. He wanted them to understand that He is true to His Words and promises. That as they suffer in the pursuit of their faith, the glory of the Lord will be more revealed to the nations.
In this present time, I praise the Lord for people and organisations, the individual churches, who tried their very best and stretch out their resources to give them a little to enough. I praise God for opening the eyes of the world for this kind of Christian battle, that at times like this, we can only find the genuine hope in surrender. There is freedom in surrender when we let God take lead of the battle.
Let’s continue to pray for these refugees and reach out to them in our simplest ways.
And if we are children, then we are heirs: heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ–if indeed we suffer with Him, so that we may also be glorified with Him.