Mission Focus: Release International

Mission is vital part of New Horizon and this year Scott Marshall from the NH Media Team is highlighting the inspirational work of some of the agencies taking part in #NH2022.

Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are ill-treated as if you yourselves were suffering.

Hebrews 13:3

Release International is an advocacy group working for the voice of persecuted Christians. Part of the vision of Release International is to have a connection of fellowship with those who are being persecuted and oppressed so that Christians in the West can have a greater understanding of what it really means to live as a Christian in the face of opposition. One of Release’s five key purposes is to share God’s love by reaching out and writing letters or cards of encouragement to those suffering persecution, you are fulfilling this aim. Writing letters and cards is a great way to support either an individual or family. 

Visit www.releaseinternational.org for more information on the profiles of those who are being persecuted. 

‘The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!’

Mark 1:15

Whilst persecution is the conflict between light and darkness, we can have confidence that in the face of opposition the gospel will always prevail. Measuring persecution is complex as even within countries there can be regional differences in the tolerance of the gospel. But within this complexity, we can hold fast to the truth that God is the author and protector of all life. 

‘Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.’ 

1 Thessalonians 5:11

Stories of hope

Around 90% of Christians in Mariupol in Ukraine were able to escape in the face of the Russian offensive. Whilst most Ukrainian Christians have fled from the conflict, those who have stayed have been serving their communities and churches practically. For example, one church in Mariupol has been providing food, water, and accommodation for local people. 

A Christian from Kyrgyzstan, who was imprisoned in China and tortured in a Xinjiang concentration camp has found freedom in the US. Ovalbeck Turdakun was detained in 2018 by Chinese officials who claimed he stayed too long in neighbouring Kyrgyzstan. 

Around 240 churches in Egypt have been granted legal status. A few days after this decision was made by the government, nine Coptic Christians were released from prison. 

Stories of persecution and need. 

Seventeen Christians were arrested in the Eritrean capital of Asmara at the end of May 2022 after attending a prayer meeting. Since the end of 2021 around 70-80 Christians have been arrested. This brings the number of Christians in an Eritrean prison to about 250. 

On 12 May 2022 a Christian college student Deborah Emmanuel Yakuba was beaten and stoned to death in the northern Sokoto state of Nigeria. She was falsely accused of blasphemy against Islam’s prophet Mohammed. Following the arrests of two suspects for her murder, rioters started bonfires and damaged churches and Christian-owned businesses.

Many Asian authoritarian governments such as China used the pandemic as a means by which to increase surveillance on Christians gathering to meet and worship. 

Watch more from Release International here or visit their stand at New Horizon. 

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