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In the twenty-first century world of foreign missions, danger is the norm, not the exception. The twentieth century claimed more martyrs than all nineteen previous centuries. Those who willingly choose to follow Christ into closed countries knowing it may cost them their lives are few; such an extreme sacrifice is definitely not for the faint of heart or soft in faith. No call to the foreign mission field is to be taken lightly—no decision can honestly be reached without fully counting the costs. Even with careful risk mitigation, hatred, physical abuse—even torture—are very real probabilities. Faithful endurance without denying the One you came to proclaim only happens when a personal deep abandonment to the Lord is undergirded with the Holy Spirit. Only the warrior prepared by the Lord can overcome all that our enemy dishes out.
The enemy cares nothing about you and your family. He seeks to destroy, if not kill! The Bible teaches that he was a murderer from the beginning and he is the father of lies, which should give us clear insight as to his intentions toward us.
He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. – John 8:44
A country is closed to Christ by evil design; it’s never by accident. Satan is a very formidable foe. He is at war with God’s church and he takes this war seriously with no designs for taking prisoners—he slaughters without mercy. Therefore, the first step you take into his domain is considered a full declaration of war and you must be equipped for the fight of your life. In return, the Scriptures promise a special reward for all who make the ultimate sacrifice of martyrdom.
It is our responsibility to exercise extreme caution when sharing information with our donors when a missionary comes to me with a calling to a closed country. We know that if we do not take serious steps, they will suffer and pay a high cost. In ministry, there will be times that lives will be lost. God can even use such losses to advance the message of the Cross; yet, we must be vigilant in taking every precaution to protect our staff and their families against such losses. In addition to the many chaplains that their lives in South Sudan’s civil war against the aggressions of the Islamic government of Sudan, as well as a result of the atrocities that we have faced at the hands of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), led by the international fugitive Joseph Kony, we are sure that it has only been the covering of the Lord and prayer that has protected us from the loss of life in other closed countries that we serve.
The Lord has taught us firsthand of such dangers. The first lesson occurred in an Islamic Middle Eastern nation. Our missionary was posting on Facebook to update the Body of Christ in America about the fruit being born in a very dark area of the world. Fortunately, a young Christian woman living nearby realized that several local terrorists were following his posts and were plotting to find and stop the ministry. She bravely made contact and warned them of the imminent danger. The Facebook page was immediately shut down and all subsequent communication will be encrypted and sent to the home office where it can analyzed before releasing it to supporters. Had they found this missionary before she did, I am sure it would have resulted in a very gruesome and unnecessary death.
The second incident happened in a nation where believers are terribly persecuted. We had asked a missionary from another ministry to carry our support to an underground pastor. Instead of hand delivering the money, this missionary decided to wire the money instead—why someone could make such a critical error like this is beyond my comprehension. This careless act alerted the authorities to investigate the man sending the wire and the pastor receiving the funds. Thankfully, the Lord gave the underground church wisdom on how to answer the questions and, for now, they are safe. We are sure that they will be watched. We will never again let an untrained person be a part of this type of operation; all future deliveries will be carried only by trusted operatives. For this reason, we have created a new department within Far Reaching Ministries called International Ghost Operations. This will be the invisible arm of the ministry to reach closed nations.
The reason we are sharing this with you is so that when you receive our updates, you will understand that we are being vague for the security of our missionaries and the ministries they are carrying out. Every precaution will be taken because a top priority is making sure the Word is able to continuously go forth.
As the Lord opens new doors into these closed countries, we will endeavor to encourage you with the stories of the souls being won; but you will need to read between the lines. We will be prayerful and listen to the Lord’s instructions. Paul was warned by the Holy Spirit when not to enter certain cities, and when the Holy Spirit warns us not to go, we too, must listen and obey.
The Lord has placed us in a unique part of the world where we are able to train up African missionaries to go into closed countries. Many are former Muslims that have converted to Christ. The blessing is they understand Islam very well, know multiple languages, can withstand harsh living conditions, and are thus better equipped than most Western missionaries to blend in. These indigenous missionaries are able to live off less support, too. As we train our staff, we eat, sleep, live and pray with them. That way, they see us living by the same standard that we are calling them to—and hopefully that will inspire them.
As we go forward, if you would like to receive special updates pertaining to our International Ghost Operations, please contact our American headquarters office and we will add you to our weekly prayer list sent out via email. We will send out emails as we need prayer; however, we will not be able to give much information other than a difficulty level of the operation.
The Bible says that we are to be wise as serpents and gentle as doves. As our missionaries travel through hostile borders and armed checkpoints, we will seek to move as though invisible to all except those that God has prepared to hear the truth. If, at some point, the Lord allows us to be exposed and suffer so that others might know Him, then we will give thanks that we were counted worthy to suffer for His name.
We cannot help but think of one of our chaplains, Mubarak, who boldly asks, “Pray that God would give us men that would go into Darfur even though we will die going.” It takes a man consumed with Christ’s love, and an experiential understanding of eternity, to live out this type of faith with no malice or fear.
God, give us men and women whose one Holy passion is to win souls, and we will preach the Good News to every creature under heaven as we wait for Your return!
Fear nothing but God!