It is an emotional experience to minister in a nation where Christians have to either meet secretly or be very careful when they come together to worship. On this trip I went through three nations that I will need to leave unnamed for the sake of local believers. It was great to connect with my good friend and brother in the Lord (unnamed for protection).
In the first nation we were in, it is against the law for Christians to meet in groups of more than five. This is ignored, but often to avoid suspicion, they will change locations frequently. There are only approximately 300 known believers in the country. We were able to join a small group of Christians for a meeting in a home.
After arriving in this nation, I found out that where we were staying was just a mile from the hotel that was bombed last May. I am so thankful for the Lord’s protection.
In the second nation we were in, there are only about 200 known believers in the whole nation. This is an increase from five years ago when there were only about 40 known believers. Recent, focused prayer for this nation has really made a difference. The Lord connected us with a brother who is working on translating the Scripture into one of the local dialects.
The third nation we were in was an absolutely amazing experience! We had the incredible privilege of ministering at a conference for the persecuted church. There were over two hundred people in each of the meetings (twice a day for three days). We met in a very visible place, a venue that is normally used for weddings and celebrations. It was right next to a restaurant on a busy street. The security police came out to see what was going on and stayed for a prolonged amount of time asking questions. But we were allowed to continue meeting.
There was such intensity and passion in the worship and such a hunger for the Word. Christians were encouraged to bring their unsaved friends. The Lord moved in powerful, supernatural ways. Many were healed and some were set free from demonic control. Over the course of three days, there were eighty people who made public confessions for Christ. Praise God!! To our knowledge, this is a nation whose population is only 0.29 percent Christian. It is significant what God is doing in that nation. I just wept as we worshipped and ministered to these precious people.
On the way home, I flew through France and preached at Communauté Chrétienne Béthesda, located in Paris. We had a powerful time in the Lord!