Will You Join Hands With Persecuted Believers Today? - Release International


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Will You Join Hands With Persecuted Believers Today?


‘We must join hands with members of the underground church and give them the financial means to travel about with the Gospel,’ wrote Richard Wurmbrand in Tortured for Christ.

Today we continue to fund pastors to strengthen their communities, enabling them to preach and to travel to spread the Gospel.


When Richard Wurmbrand inspired the founding of Release in 1968, one of his eight urgent pleas was to give support and encouragement to hard-pressed pastors, and to help persecuted churches share the gospel. Fifty years later, thanks to your support, Release continues this much-needed ministry around the world.

When Richard Wurmbrand inspired the founding of Release in 1968, one of his eight urgent pleas was to give support and encouragement to hard-pressed pastors, and to help persecuted churches share the gospel. Fifty years later, thanks to your support, Release continues this much-needed ministry around the world.


In recent years Hindu militants and others have targeted Christians through intimidation, physical violence and by attacking their places of worship. A recent report recorded more than 350 acts of violence against Christians in India in 2017. The actual number could be far higher.

In May 2018, for example, 46-year-old Abraham Topno, pastor of the Pentecostal Church of God in Ranchi District, Jharkhand state, was kidnapped and murdered by unidentified gunmen.

Even though the constitution protects religious freedom, seven Indian states have introduced anti-conversion laws that hinder the proclamation of the gospel.

In response, inspiring conferences are held to strengthen the faith of pastors and to prepare them for the pressures they may face. Release funds a number of these conferences every year, each one bringing much-needed encouragement to some 250 pastors and leaders. Bibles in local languages are provided at each conference. In addition Release helps to provide essential legal assistance to pastors and Christian workers facing persecution.


Despite state and legal opposition to the Christian faith, a team of more than 20 church planters continues to share the gospel effectively in many nations in the region.

Your prayers and gifts are helping to bring Bible teaching for church members and new disciples – including many young people who have a deep spiritual hunger.

Our partner ‘Pavel’ also trains pastors and evangelists, and encourages them to engage in mission in different countries in the region.

‘Despite the very hard spiritual ground and the extraordinary danger of such missionary activity, this ministry is already bearing good fruit,’ reports our partner.

‘In the past 20 years there has been tremendous growth in the Christian church. But there remains a great need for new, young pastors, for Bible training and for Bibles and Christian literature.

‘I would like personally to thank all the churches and wonderful people of God in the UK and Ireland who have made our ministry possible by providing significant prayer, and financial and practical help.’


In Iran the authorities are continuing to intimidate and arrest church leaders in an effort to crush the Christian church.

Recently our partner told us how God had enabled Pastor ‘Joseph’ to stand strong in his faith – despite repeated attacks against his ministry:

‘ Joseph came to faith at the age of 17 in his home town in the north of the country.

From the beginning of his conversion, he took the Christian life very seriously. He decided to commit himself to study God’s Word and the principles of Christian living.

By the age of 21 he was leading a church in his town, supported by elders, before later being officially ordained as a pastor. Then a security official told him that while he could meet on Sundays, he had to stop the meetings for prayer and Bible study.

Joseph refused, and was summoned to the capital Tehran for further questioning.

He again refused to stop any meetings, simply stating: ‘We, like the apostles of Christ, say: “We must obey God more than man.” Furthermore, what you say is illegal, for Christians according to the law can meet for worship whenever they want to.’

As a result he was ordered to leave his home town, with his wife, within 15 days.

Again, he refused, and God gave him a dream relating to the sick mother of one of the officials. Joseph told this man about the dream.

Suddenly the eyes of this hard official were filled with tears. He asked Joseph to pray for his mother who was very seriously ill. After this, the man’s behaviour changed, and he did nothing against him for a long time.

Eventually, however, another officer was appointed, who put pressure on Joseph’s own denomination to dismiss him.

However, Joseph continued secretly to pastor his congregation, and to support believers from a Muslim background.

It is a privilege to know faithful and brave people like Joseph and his wife who are ready to stand for Christ. Right now, after further threats, they are living in a neighbouring country and we pray with them that they will know the will of the Lord for their future and ministry. ’


Our partner in Sri Lanka has developed a wonderful ministry to build up families who have experienced persecution because of their faith in Jesus.

In rural areas particularly, many pastors and their families have come under attack from Buddhist militants who feel threatened by the growth of the church.

Christian children have been harassed at school, church buildings have been damaged or destroyed, and church leaders put under pressure to close their meetings.

With your support, our partner regularly holds ‘Shalom’ camps to give some of these families a welcome break, and an opportunity to worship together, study God’s Word, and receive pastoral care and practical advice – all in a safe environment.

In addition, church leaders are given teaching focusing on persecution. These sessions include topics such as ‘Why is there persecution?’, ‘What is persecution?’ and ‘Biblical aspects of persecution’. These bring immense encouragement to people who live amidst many challenges and harassments every day.

Another project provides tailored support to the children of rural pastors, mainly helping them with their education. This includes an opportunity for the children to attend a Kids Camp. Recently 180 young Sri Lankan believers were thrilled to be joined by a team of Release volunteers.

‘The time at this camp was truly a blessing for us,’ said one participant. ‘We were greatly encouraged by this. We were discouraged and down. But this camp brought us a great revival and strengthened us to move forward.’

A church leader said: ‘At home we are scared to go out, we are scared to sleep at night. Over the past two days, my family and I had a restful time of healing and respite.

‘I also met other pastors who have gone through similar situations. We shared each other’s pains and sorrows. I realised there are others who also suffer for standing strong in their faith. It encouraged me to know that I was not alone. God is with us all; He is our deliverer.’


With your support, Somali Christians in Kenya are reaching out with the love of Jesus to their communities, including refugees from Somalia.

As the gospel is spread, our partner helps believers from a Muslim background to set up their own small businesses – so they can earn an income for themselves and their families. Here are just three examples:

• ‘Yusuf’ was given a small grant to start a business using PlayStation games consoles. On a good day he makes £7-£10, and is able to support his elderly mother and to pay for food and rent. His income also helps him to take a bus to a prayer meeting in another part of the city.

• ‘Asad’ has opened a kiosk selling cooking gas, electrical gadgets, mobile phone accessories, drinks and snacks. He greatly appreciates the support.

• ‘Yasmin’ was helped to start a women’s clothing business, to meet the needs of her mother and herself, as well as others in her household. This has also enabled her to support needy individuals in the church.

‘The Lord has been faithful in their lives,’ says our partner. ‘They’ll be great examples in the cell groups they are part of.’

(Names have been changed.)


Your generosity enables Christians in the underground church to share the good news of Jesus with others and to disciple new believers.

By making a gift today you can enable these vital ministries to continue in 2018 and beyond.

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