Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Persecuted Pastor

Over the holidays I was challenged and encouraged by an account that came from my friend, Phil Eyster, President of EPI, an international church planting mission. I have obtained his permission to post some of his correspondence with a pastor friend from a country in Southeast Asia. Phil had gotten word that this pastor had been imprisoned and sentenced to two years of hard labor. We had begun praying for “Brother Michael”, and then unexpectedly Phil received an email from “Brother Michael”! It basically said that the authorities had decided to allow him to go home each night after the work and then report back each morning. You can imagine what a blessing this was! I have pasted here some of Brother Michael’s comments because his perspective is amazing and challenging to me. May this be a reminder of the freedom we have, the courage and strength of our brothers and sisters around the world, and our need to pray for them.

"Thanks for your emails of encouragement and love. … I don't even feel myself sometime that I am still at the jail and looking at the wall hoping to go out. I feel joy at being able to have fellowship and worship together with my friends in the jail.”

“I preached over five times in the prison and have conducted communion services with the prisoners. I think this is one of the reasons they did not want me in the jail at night anymore. All of this has happened because of your prayers.”

“Life in jail is not easy. The jail workers treat the prisoners like animals. Everyone is very crowded in the cells, but I praise the Lord that I was still able to preach the gospel. As far as I know this is the first time this has happened in a ------- jail. Many of the prisoners have come to know Christ, but they have to keep it a secret or the officials will put them in chains and move them to another building with no windows. Someone dies in jail everyday, through rough treatment or lack of medical care.”

“Thank you for your concern for funds for the orphanage and bible school here. It is true that while I have been in prison the funds have been very low and we are in great need at this time.”

“------ is a holiday in --------, and traditionally they have released prisoners on this day. Please pray that I may be released for good and be able to return to -------- and the work of the ministry there.”


For more you can visit EPI’s blog. (scroll down just a bit for this story)

5 comments:

Nicholas Z. Cardot said...

Thank you for sharing that.

Mark said...

Makes you think---what would I give in order to preach the gospel? Here a pastor is literally giving his life...may we do likewise.

Ray Van Neste said...

Indeed, Mark

Jeff Lash said...

Pretty powerful words. I think sometimes I lose sight of what Christians and ministers are doing around the world to further the Gospel. Here a man sits in jail delighted to preach the Word and I complain about not liking my job or something to that nature. Definitely makes you think...

Ray Van Neste said...

Indeed, Jeff!
Great to hear from you!