Post by Pastor Tim – This month, I had the amazing opportunity to visit the homes of 8 North Korean defectors. As much as I wish I could do this every week, it was a special opportunity that only comes around every once in a while. That’s why this month’s Work of Mercy is called visiting and remembering. When we can’t physically visit, we can remember.
This is what the early church practiced when members were imprisoned and the church couldn’t physically be with them. Luke said,
So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him. The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries stood guard at the entrance. Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. “Quick, get up!” he said, and the chains fell off Peter’s wrists. (Acts 12:5-7)
How can we remember those persecuted and imprisoned believers when we can’t physically visit them?
- Pray – It may seem a little trite, but the early church took prayer seriously. So serious that Luke uses the word “earnestly,” and an angel responds to the believers’ prayer. For us, instead of simply praying that God would “be with” the imprisoned believers, pray for some specific ways that God would help them. This is one of the reasons we send out a bi-weekly Prayer Partner Update for the North Korean church. We want you to know how to specifically pray for the North Korean Christians.
- Encourage – Even though you can’t always go to remote parts of the earth to visit, you can often send your greetings through a note of encouragement. Seoul USA has a supporter who often sends a card with a scripture verse and one or two lines of encouragement to our Underground University Students. The students are always thrilled to learn that others care for them! Voice of the Martyrs also has a program whereby people can write letters to imprisoned Christians around the world.
- Worship – The way you worship Christ is directly tied to remembering the persecuted Christians around the world. You may not be able to physically worship with them, but you can make sure your worship is like theirs. For many persecuted Christians it is too dangerous to have the physical Bible, so they commit as many Scripture verses as possible to memory. They also do the same with hymns and church creeds. Every time we worship God by memorizing these key elements of the faith we are remembering the persecuted church. In the Western Church, we rely too heavily on catchy worship songs, PowerPoint presentations and comfortable pews. When we realize that these things aren’t the source of our growth in Christ we are remembering. At DOTW Church, we’ve committed ourselves to investing in worship that not only helps us to remember our persecuted brothers, but also to grow in Christ.
There are a few pockets of believers in Colorado, Indiana, Nebraska and Georgia that join together with the persecuted believers in Eritrea, North Korea, China, Russia and Mongolia through worship. If you would like to remember the persecuted church in this way, you can read more information on our Seoul USA web-site.