07/28/2019 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – ICC operates in the darkest corners of the world, where Christianity is hated both in name and in practice. In many persecuted countries, underground pastors serve as the backbone of the Christian community, diligently serving their congregations and ministering to the unreached. At the same time, they face countless obstacles, including violence, poverty, discrimination and harassment, forcing them to operate in secrecy.
Through ICC’s Underground Pastors Fund, we help these brave men and women share the Gospel by supporting them after attacks, meeting their practical, day-to-day needs, and reinforcing their ministry by providing legal training and other services.
The life of an underground pastor is far from easy. In India, a believer’s efforts to share the Gospel with his Hindu neighbor are often met with fierce aggression. Here, rural Christian pastors are often targeted by Hindu radicals. These pastors are vulnerable to persecution simply because they are unaware of their rights or basic legal procedure. Therefore, ICC developed a persecution preparedness training to teach pastors how to respond to persecution when it arises from a legal perspective.
This training has already proved effective for pastors who were arrested and released early—only to watch the police arrest their persecutors! ICC recently hosted two trainings in India, which reached 96 pastors combined. Within one week, a trainee was able to utilize the skills he gained as he responded to the persecution incident, and as a result, the victim was released within 24 hours.
One pastor who attended the training shared, “The time we spent here in the training is invaluable. The clear guideline of how to file [a first information report], and where to report the persecution, etc. are very helpful to me. The whole area of being sensitive when preaching the Gospel has created a sense of readiness.”
ICC’s Underground Pastors Fund also provides vital financial support to ministry leaders who must operate discreetly. Full-time ministry comes with a significant financial burden, as these pastors receive very little, if any, compensation for their work.
In Turkey, young adult ministry is highly restricted. However, one faithful couple is continuing to share the Good News through their college ministry. Although their ministry is thriving across nine campuses, their finances have taken a hit. To alleviate this weight on their shoulders, ICC stepped in to provide financial support so that the pair can continue to focus their attention on outreach.
The couple shared, “We are excited for 2019 and we are hoping to see the Lord do wonderful things this year as we continue to serve Him with all of our hearts. We have great expectation in what the Lord is going to do.”
If you would like to donate to support persecuted pastors or learn more about ICC’s Underground Pastors Fund, please give us a call at 1-800-ICC-5441.