Picture this... you wake up this morning, switch on BBC News and the newsreader announces that the government has been overthrown! The ruthless new regime has made Christianity illegal and rounded up known Christians in your neighbourhood to be tortured for information and made an example of.
Would you fade into the shadows or would you risk everything for the gospel?
For many around the world, this is the world they wake to everyday. Professing their faith could result in imprisonment, torture and in extreme cases, death. Here are three biographies that give us, the comfortable Christians, a snapshot of their reality.
This is the true story of Maryam Rostampour and Marziyeh Amirizadeh, who broke Islamic Law by sharing their Christian faith. In 2009 these two women were caught by the ‘Basiji’ (the Iranian Government’s militiamen), stripped of all rights and condemned to death in Evin, the world’s most notorious and brutal prison.
Yet inside this place of torture, intimidation and interrogation they started a church. This book describes the 259 days they spent in Evin Prison and how God’s light shone in the darkest place imaginable.
Why should you read Captive In Iran:
Still prominent in world news, Iran is a restless and dangerous place to live. Yet many of us are unaware of, or are desensitised by the media to, Christianity's struggle in the Middle East. Here is a firsthand account of what’s going on right now, which every Christian should read so they can join our captive brothers and sisters in spirit and prayer.
What can we learn from Captive In Iran:
• Current situation for Christians in Iran
• Harsh reality and resilient faith of two women
• The wake-up call you’ve been waiting for!
This is the true story of Corrie Ten Boom, a Dutch Christian who alongside her family hid Jews from the Nazis in World War II. Together they created a secret room (‘the hiding place’) for Jews, but in 1944 they were discovered and arrested.
Corrie and her sister, Betsie, were sent to a concentration camp. Corrie lived through the experience and was liberated in December 1944, but her sister and most her family tragically died. She went on to support post-war survivors and wrote down the whole story in ‘The Hiding Place’.
Why should you read The Hiding Place:
If you are interested in this dark period of history and how Christians stood against the Holocaust, then this is the one for you. Heart wrenching but completely inspiring, the story of the Ten Boom family is an extremely important book both historically and as a powerful testimony to sacrificial living.
What can we learn from The Hiding Place:
• Learn to appreciate your religious freedom
• Fresh perspective on daily Christian life – worship, prayer and witness
• Discover the human spirit: an uncrushable, beautiful creation
This is the true story of Brother Yun, a Chinese Christian leader who stood up for the gospel despite torture and imprisonment. When ‘The Heavenly Man’ was released in 2002 it sold over 750,000 copies and was subsequently translated into 30 languages.
His incredible biography is like a modern-day book of Acts, documenting men and women who escape prisons thanks to angels, preach the Gospel in dangerous places and relied on God daily. He has gone on to minister to thousands and still continues to do so to this day.
Why should you read The Heavenly Man:
Reading about the underground Church in China is both fascinating and awe-inspiring as you follow Bother Yun’s extreme persecution, leading to his imprisonment and torture. Though at times hard to swallow, this book is hugely challenging and describes God’s unfailing love and mercy through times of great suffering.
What can we learn from The Heavenly Man:
• Be challenged, inspired and motivated to live for Christ in a radical and open way
• Discover how God has grown the underground Church in China
• Life-changing read, you’ll pass it around your whole church!
All of these stories can be read as a painful but powerful reminder of our own fortunate freedom. But if they simply move us to tears we have wasted their example, and Christ’s too.
They are a challenge to do more for God, to step out in faith. Putting our hardships into perspective, these stories are examples of those who have followed our saviour's example. We should be moved and inspired, but more so, we should be pointed towards the transformation made possible by Jesus. Will our life story echo Corrie’s, Brother Yun’s or Maryam & Marziyeh? Will we follow God's sacrificial call?
April 5th, 2013 - Posted & Written by Anna Hockley