Prisoners of faith
We should be grateful every day that we live in a nation that allows Christians to worship freely. This is not the case in many countries, where Christians are being persecuted for worshipping.
This may be difficult for many Americans to understand, but it is a truth and one that we should not ignore, thinking that it does not affect us. We are told in Hebrews 13:3: Remember those in bonds and those who are ill-treated as though you were there with them.
Some of those in bonds are Dr. Rebekka Zakaria, Eti Pangesti, and Ratna Bangun, Sunday school teachers sentenced to prison for five years in 2005 for teaching Indonesian children about Jesus.
As a wife and mother, I think of how it must be for them. I think they would have liked very much to spend Christmas with their families. That did not happen. Although I do not know the specific conditions of their internment, I know it is probably much worse than any prison in the United States. Are they getting enough food? Probably not.
Are they getting medical care? Probably not. Are they being hurt? I hope not.
Yet, despite their circumstances, I believe that they are being faithful to the Lord who has called them.
Then, there is a 64-year-old pastor, Moon Seong Jeun, an underground church leader in North Korea who was recently arrested, along with family members and church members. In North Korea, entire families including children can be arrested and sent to prison camps if one family member worships Christ.
No one worships openly in North Korea or they would be immediately arrested, so worshippers attend home churches.
It is so sad to me that in North Korea, no distinction is made regarding the elderly and the young. It is much more difficult for the frail bodies of the old and the undeveloped bodies of the young to withstand the extremely harsh conditions in prison camps. A former prisoner in North Korea said that some prisoners were starved until their joints separated. He said that when they were buried, they were very light and easy to carry.
As we reflect on our blessings and look forward to what will happen in 2006, lets keep in mind those who are enduring in prisons throughout the world, suffering for their religious beliefs.