Two tales of tears shed: a story of persecution from a frontline worker 2020


“Truly I tell you, Jesus replied, no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for Me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecution—and in the age to come eternal life.”

— Mark 10:29-30

Some years ago, a GCM disciple maker in a restricted-access nation was in a meeting with local believers where she would usually stay with the children. However, this meeting was special. All the people stayed together to pray and say goodbye to one of their friends, “Sari”, who had made a difficult decision. Because of Sari’s faith in Jesus, her family was persecuting her. Her choices were 1) stay and return to Islam, 2) stay but do not return to Islam and be killed or 3) flee to safety in a different nation. Deciding to stand firm in her faith in Jesus, Sari made the challenging decision to leave. In her mind, fleeing was her only option, but leaving behind her family and the only life she knew broke her heart.

When the meeting started, the disciple maker received text messages from a friend who was watching the World Cup match. The friend, without knowing what the disciple maker was doing at that moment, sent multiple text messages throughout the match, sharing the heartbreak and anxiety that was happening in the game. Only after the meeting was over did the disciple maker check her phone and see all the missed messages. After reading them, she realized the significance of the two contrasting scenes that had unfolded at the same time.

During the going away gathering, everyone was crying. Through tears, Sari spoke about her children—her deep love and concern for them. Yet even in this most desperate hour, she did not regret having met Jesus and giving her life to Him. Through more tears, she shared about the sweet relationship she had found in Him and how much she loved Him. All together, they sang a song, part of which declared, “Glory to You, O Father, to You, O Holy Spirit.”

At the same time the believers in the gathering were crying and worshiping the Lord, the text messages from the disciple maker’s friend were telling a different story—one about another group of people who were also crying, but over a soccer match. With their team losing badly, they were all in utter despair. They even started praying for their team to play better—even atheists were praying.

Yet in a restricted-access nation, a woman—persecuted (persecution) by her family for following Jesus—was on her knees with her hands lifted up to God singing “Glory to You, O Father, to You, O Holy Spirit.” As those watching the game were crying about their team losing and being out of the tournament, this woman was also crying, realizing she needed to quickly leave her family and nation. As the meeting progressed, all in attendance began praying for her and blessing her, making a commitment to pray even after she fled.

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: For Your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered. No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”

— Romans 8:35-37

At the end of the gathering, our disciple maker said goodbye to Sari, both confident that one day they would see each other again. They knew that they were winners—more than conquerors. They had decided to run the race and play in the game with the prize in their hands, knowing that persecution cannot stop the gospel going forth or separate them from the love of God. They believed this—even when they cried, even when they did not feel it. And they still believe this.

Two groups of people crying for vastly different reasons— (persecution) one over a lost sporting event and one for a fellow believer needing to flee from a dangerous situation. As the disciple maker pondered the dramatic difference, she thanked God for bringing her to this restricted-access nation and for having the privilege of crying while sharing in His suffering.

“But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed.”

— 1 Peter 4:13

There is still time to fuel the frontlines in the Middle East. please visit our Giving page and choose ‘Fuel the Frontlines’ from the fund options.

To read more about living in the tension of persecution, please visit our pray page.


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We believe the Scriptures, both the Old and New Testaments, are inspired by God and are the revelation of God to man, the infallible, authoritative rule of faith and conduct. (2 Timothy 3:15-17, 1 Peter 1:21)

We believe that there is one God, eternally existent who has revealed Himself as embodying the principles of relationship and association as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. (Deuteronomy 6:4, Luke 3:22)

We believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father where He intercedes for us, in His present rule as Head of the Church, and in His personal return in power and glory. (Matthew 1:23, Luke 1:31)

We believe in the creation of mankind in God’s image, and the fall of man, resulting in universal guilt and total depravity; and the necessity, therefore, of redemption and restoration; that all men and women are lost spiritually and face the judgment of God, that Jesus Christ is the only way of salvation, and that repentance of sin and faith in Jesus Christ is necessary for regeneration by the Holy Spirit. (Genesis 1:26-27, Genesis 2:17)

We believe salvation is received through repentance toward God and faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ. By the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, being justified by grace through faith, man becomes an heir of God, according to the hope of eternal life. (Luke 24:47, John 3:3)

We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost; the saved unto the resurrection of eternal life in the presence of our Lord, and the lost unto the resurrection of damnation and eternal punishment. (Matthew 25:46, Mark 9:43-48)

We believe in the spiritual unity of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ and that all true believers are members of His body, the Church, which has the duty to preach the Gospel to every person. (Ephesians 1:22-23, Ephesians 2:22)

We believe that we must dedicate ourselves to prayer, to the service of our Lord, to His authority over our lives, and to the ministry of teaching, preaching, the prophetic, the apostolic, and evangelism. (Ephesians 4:11-13)

We believe in upholding the ordinances of the church of water baptism and holy communion.

The ordinance of baptism by immersion is commanded by the Scriptures. All who repent and believe in Christ as Savior and Lord are to be baptized. Thus, they declare to the world that they have died with Christ and that they also have been raised with Him to walk in newness of life. (Matthew 28:19, Mark 16:16, Acts 10:47,48, Romans 6:4)

The Lord’s Supper, consisting of the elements—bread and the fruit of the vine—, is the symbol expressing our sharing the divine nature of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:4), a memorial of His suffering and death (1 Corinthians 11:26), and a prophecy of His second coming (1 Corinthians 11:26), and is enjoined on all believers “till He comes!”