By Open Doors 10 April 2024 4 MIN

New Zealand… you are changing lives! 

The impact you have had on persecuted Christians this year is staggering, and we are grateful for the way you have come alongside the most persecuted Christians worldwide.

In this blog, meet some of the Christians whose lives have been changed by your support.

You gave 2,192 Bibles to persecuted believers

Your support means people like Issam have a Bible of their own and the support to keep following Jesus boldly in the face of oppression and violence. For many Christians worldwide, Easter is a time of celebration. Lent ends, and believers gather for a time of prayer and communion. For the persecuted church, however, pressures rise, targeted attacks increase, and for some, it is illegal to even celebrate. 

Issam is a Christian living in Northern Africa, who converted from Islam in his 40s after reading the Bible.

“While reading the Bible, searching for proof, I discovered the strong connection between God the Father and Jesus the Son… I discovered that Jesus, indeed, is much more than human.”

When Issam met Jesus through reading the Bible, his world changed. He experienced a deep peace that he had longed for all his life but had never found in Islam.

“I feel secure with Jesus. Maybe that is the biggest difference. In Islam, you’re never sure of getting into heaven. Believe in Me, and you will be in heaven with me; that is what Jesus simply says in the Bible. That really touched me. I know I am going to heaven, and that gives my faith stability.”

The gift of a Bible helps believers to know God’s love more deeply and courageously share that love with others.

You ran youth camps for 250 persecuted youth.

Your support for persecuted youth helps them to know they are not alone.

Reva, a young Indonesian girl who comes from a mixed-faith home with a Muslim father and a Christian mother, is a Christian. But she very nearly converted to Islam.  

“When my cousin converted to Islam, I considered doing the same,” Reva says. “I believed being a Muslim would make my life simpler. My friends would no longer make fun of me.”

It wasn’t until Reva, along with 90 other junior high school students, participated in one of the Open Doors youth camps hosted by Open Doors local partners that she became aware that the bullying she faces daily is, in reality, persecution.

At the camp, students also learned how to respond to bullying by telling the truth lovingly and without fear.

For Reva, what she learned from the camp was life-changing: “Here, I discovered that God really exists and is present in my life.”

Youth camps like these help young people all over the world to stay strong and hold on to Jesus amid the persecution they face.

You provided ongoing trauma counselling for 110 persecuted Christians in the Middle East.

You’ve helped vulnerable Christians rebuild their lives after devastating persecution. 

In Iraq, harsh persecution by the Islamic State (IS) has left many Christians severely traumatised. Trauma care is not widely available, and mental health often carries stigma with it.

For the last seven years, traumatised Christians have received healing and support at programmes run through Open Doors partnerships with local churches, called Centres of Hope. One of these programmes is a two-year counselling training course, which Vian, a social worker from Alqosh, enrolled in.

“I have been a participant at the Trauma School for six months now. The school helps us gain more experience to better understand people and their needs, ” said Vian.

The need is great in Iraq, but with your support, Christians like Vian are dedicated to using the skills he has developed to strengthen the church in Iraq.

“After graduation from the Trauma School, I hope to help people realise that others are thinking about them, that people are for them.”

Your ongoing support for Centres of Hope means that Christians like Vian can offer trauma counselling to vulnerable Christians, empowering them to continue following Jesus.