Fourth sunday of lent

Lent With Our Persecuted Brothers and Sisters
Uyghur Christian church leader Alimujiang Yimiti, sentenced to prison for 15 years. His wife and sons miss him very much. (Photo credit: China Aid, Church in Chains, Stefanus Alliance)

A LITTLE FOR SO MANY

One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to Him, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?” John 6: 8-9

Today I want to offer three things that you can do for our suffering brothers and sisters.

We feel helpless when we are confronted with the enormity and severity of persecution of brothers and sisters around world. We think, “there’s nothing that I can do to help.” Even if we are presented with actions that we might be able to take as advocates, we are tempted to feel like Jesus’ disciples Philip and Andrew in the Gospel reading in the lectionary for the Fourth Sunday of Lent.

Jesus asks Philip where they can buy bread to feed the huge crowd that has come to hear Him. Philip replies that even two hundred denari worth of bread — if they even had two hundred denari, seeing as they had hung up their fishing nets and were currently without income — would not feed that many people!

Andrew, though, has found a young lad with food. Can’t you tell that this boy had a loving, typical Jewish momma!? Was he the only one there who packed a lunch? Or was he just the only one who was generous enough to tell one of Yeshua’s disciples that he had some food to share?

Either way, precious Andrew, who would someday be among the ranks of the first persecuted, martyred Christians, brings the boy to Jesus. He informs Jesus that this little guy has five barley loaves and two fishes. . . “but what are they for so many?” he adds, almost as if he is hoping Jesus will tell him what this little can mean for so many!

We may have similar feelings about the smallness of our advocacy for persecuted Christians, or even the efficacy of our intercessory prayer for them. But just as Jesus multiplied the loaves and fishes, He can multiply the impact of our advocacy and bring amazing answers to our prayers. The Lord who arranged for an Israelite parent to pack a lunch for her son can also arrange for members of Congress to sponsor resolutions and for advocates for the persecuted to have “chance” encounters with them or with influential journalists, for example. Trust the Lord that He will honor your efforts and that He cares about persecuted Christians more than we ever could.

In light of the above, here is something you can do this week to help save persecuted Christians and others, especially Falun Gong practitioners and Uyghur ethnic minority groups, from the Chinese Communist Party regime. This week (March 10) a bi-partisan bill on organ harvesting was introduced in both the House and the Senate. Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and Chris Coons (D-Delaware) and Representatives Chis Smith (R-New Jersey), Tom Suozzi (D-New York), and Vicky Hartzler (R-Missouri) are the introductory sponsors to combat the evil, criminal practice of the live harvesting of organs from the victimized groups mentioned above. Watch this video and read the details of the Stop Forced Organ Harvesting Bill of 2021 to understand how very important this effort is, House bill and Senate bill, and then you can:

  • Sign this petition
  • Share the petition with your networks and encourage your friends to share it with their
  • Urge your members of Congress to become co-sponsors of the bill

And here are things for which you can pray this week (and beyond!):

  • For the successful passing of this bill, in spite of those in our government and Wall Street with connections to the Chinese government.
  • Pray for Christians all over China. A particular target of the CCP is the Early Rain Covenant Church (ERCC) in Chengdu, Sichuan Province. Pray for ERCC leader, Pastor Wang Yi, in prison with a 9 year sentence for his outspoken faith and defense of religious freedom. And pray for other ERCC leaders and other members, particularly church elder, Li Yingquiang and his family, who are under constant surveillance by the police. Also please pray for Alimujiang Yimiti, a Uyghur Christian convert from Islam. Yimiti and his wife led a house church in Kashgar, Xinjiang Province. He has been in prison for his faith since January 2008, sentenced to 15 years. Please pray protection for him and his family, and for justice to be done. (Source: Release International)

One more thing I would ask you to prayerfully consider: making a donation to our Easter Appeal to support Herzwerk, the Austrian ministry to victims of trafficking and slavery. You can read more about this in our Easter Appeal and in this article about seeing trafficking survivors in a new way.

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