Happy New Year, Reader Friends! David here. May Christ be made manifest through each of us in new and profound ways this coming year.
Because I write many of my stories and novels to bring attention to the persecuted around the world, we are dedicating this first post of the New Year to the Persecuted Church. The following are two fictional letters written by fictional servants of God, representative of real believers suffering for their faith. Let us dedicate ourselves to more prayer for the Persecuted Church this New Year. –David Telbat
Letter to COIL from the Persecuted Church in Azerbaijan
To the COIL Agents,
Your contact information was on the internet. I cannot tell you my name.
As an official in Azerbaijan, I am responsible for enforcing Religious Law and processing religious registrations. For many years, I arrested Christians who refused our religious registration laws. I jailed and harassed them and took their property.
Only now do I come forward in secret as an official to admit that I am now a Christian. I kept a confiscated Bible and read it in hiding. Jesus has shown me so much and I love Him now.
You must teach the Christians to be more careful, but I will help those that are arrested in my district. Punishment will be more severe in the future for converting from Islam. I have enclosed copies of religious permits for you to deliver to Azerbaijanis in hiding.
Please pray for me. I am alone.
Letter to COIL from the Persecuted Church in Turkmenistan
Dear COIL Ambassadors,
Today, I was released from Seydi Labour Camp in Turkmenistan. I cannot find my family. The government confiscated my home nine years ago when I was arrested for selling a car to a man and sharing a Bible verse with him. The man was an undercover police officer.
While in the labor camp, I refused to abandon my faith. Every Sunday I was beaten, because Sunday was the day that I prayed aloud for the other prisoners and even the guards.
Some days I was starved. Some days I was force-fed garbage. And some days I was held down and made to swallow psychotropic drugs. But some of the prisoners now hope in Jesus.
Now, I may not search for my family because I have already been threatened with arrest if I am caught preaching Jesus. I have just retrieved a Bible I had hidden in a water drain, so I will surely be arrested soon. So I will have fresh material for the next labor camp, I will memorize many new verses. Please pray that my family stays safe because I am certain I will not see them again.
Please pray for me.
Click this link to read other fictional letters written to COIL.
To learn more about ministries serving the true Persecuted Church, see the websites of Voice of the Martyrs, Open Doors, Gospel for Asia, and Vision Beyond Borders. They offer many practical ways for us to help the persecuted around the world.
COMING UP: Next WEDNESDAY, David has an Author Reflection for us with “Need Rescue this New Year?“