Jerry Dykstra is the Director of Media Relations for Open Doors USA. Open Doors works in the world’s most oppressive countries, strengthening Christians to stand strong in the face of persecution and equipping them to shine Christ’s light in these dark places.
Jim opened this edition of Crosstalk by quoting Hebrews 13:3 which says, “Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.”
Jim went on to describe an annual day of recognition that seeks to encourage people to lovingly obey that verse. It’s called The International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church which will be celebrated once again this Sunday, November 11th. Beginning in 1996, the recognition of this day spread to the point where today it’s one of the largest prayer events in the world with over 120 nations participating.
The persecuted church is not limited to a certain geographic area. Open Doors works in about 45-50 countries although there are others that persecute Christians. Jerry estimates that the worldwide number of Christians facing persecution and discrimination at about 100 million but he admitted that other agencies put the number at 200 million.
Jerry noted persecution hot-spots like Nigeria, Egypt, Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Syria, Laos and North Korea, while giving details surrounding specific instances of persecution such as the blasphemy case of 14 year old Rimsha Masih in Pakistan.
To intercede on behalf of Rimsha Masih of Pakistan you can contact Sherry Rehman, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States, at www.advocacy.opendoorsusa.org.