If all had gone according to John Allen Chau’s plan, we would never have known his name. He intended to remain invisible to the world whether he lived or died, caring only to be seen by the one who told His followers to “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.” But instead, in November 2018, news outlets around the world were running the story of a 26-year-old American man who had been killed trying to make contact with a remote tribe on North Sentinel Island, a tiny speck in the Bay of Bengal between India and Southeast Asia. Many news reports and opinion pieces implied that John had been foolish to contact a people group known to be violent toward outsiders. What they didn’t know was that John had prepared for years to reach the Sentinelese with the Good News of Jesus Christ. John chau’s Life of Preparation John spent almost a decade preparing to take the gospel to the Sentinelese, one of the last uncontacted people groups. His journey began in 2008, the year he turned 17, when he became what he described as “an apprentice to Jesus.” After taking his first missions

Read More
Categories: Stories from the Field

Smuggling the Digital Word   Al-Shabab militants came for Christian schoolteachers Philip Okumu and Daniel Wekesa in the middle of the night. They surrounded the men’s house in their small Kenyan village near the Somali border and then tossed a grenade through a window. As flames spread through the concrete-block structure, Philip and Daniel ran for the door and were shot to death as they exited the building. According to a group of Somali Christian leaders, the men were killed for sharing the gospel with their students. Although based in Somalia, al-Shabab terrorists move freely across the country’s borders with Kenya and Ethiopia in a region known as Greater Somalia, enforcing their harsh religious standards with brutal injustice. Sharing the gospel in this region is extremely dangerous. Neither the Somali nor Kenyan government has been able to control the Islamist group in this lawless border region, prompting the Kenyan government to urge non-Muslim government workers like Philip and Daniel to leave the area. The two Christian men chose to stay, however, because they knew the ethnically Somali children they taught would have no other way of hearing the gospel. Their love for the children and faithfulness to Christ cost them

Read More
Categories: Stories from the Field

Sharing God’s Word in the Depths of “Hell” As Pastor Houmayoun led a prayer meeting at his home in Shiraz, Iran, in 2012, secret police stormed in and arrested the pastor, his wife, their 17-year-old son and four other church leaders. The seven Christians were blindfolded, shoved into vehicles and taken to an intelligence prison for questioning. After days of interrogation, they were moved to a public prison and ordered to keep quiet about why they had been arrested; the guards rightly feared the spread of Christianity among the prison’s 6,000 prisoners. But Houmayoun and the other believers felt compelled to obey a higher authority. “It would have been comfortable just to be quiet and not talk about Jesus,” Houmayoun said. “Things would have gone better for us in prison.” As they shared their testimonies and the gospel with their Muslim inmates, one thing became very clear: They were going to need Bibles. Collecting Verses Instead of despairing over their imprisonment, the Christians saw an opportunity to spread the gospel among their fellow inmates. As they shared their testimony quietly with one inmate after another, they received a variety of responses. A few threatened to kill them, while many others

Read More
Categories: Stories from the Field

When Mustafa learned that his younger brother, Omar, had become a Christian after hearing the gospel from a visiting evangelist in their Moroccan city, he felt he had no choice but to act. On that day in 2005, he grabbed his brother’s Bible, a book he considered counterfeit and unclean, and burned it along with the rest of Omar’s Christian literature. As the oldest son, he then kicked Omar out of their family’s home; his hatred of Christians barred him from sharing a house with an apostate. In Morocco, Islam is entwined with every aspect of life, and the country is ruled by a monarch believed to be a direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad. Mustafa stayed in contact with Omar, hoping to draw him back to Islam. He eventually visited his brother and asked him for a Bible; he thought that if he could show Omar the Bible’s errors, he would return to Islam. Omar gladly gave his older brother a Bible and pen, suggesting that he mark each verse that he found problematic. The brothers then discussed the verses that Mustafa highlighted, and Mustafa felt increasingly torn between Islam and Christianity. When he read Matthew 7:7, “Ask, and

Read More
Categories: Stories from the Field

Mourning the loss of her martyred father in Iran, Rashin promised the Lord she would follow in his footsteps. On Dec. 3, 1990, 13-year-old Rashin Soodmand’s life changed forever. That day, she learned that the Iranian government had executed her beloved father for leaving Islam, a decision he had made at age 17. Rashin had grown accustomed to her father’s repeated confrontations with Iran’s Islamic authorities. While still a toddler, she moved with her parents to the city of Mashad, Iran, where her father had been raised as a Muslim. In 1980, during the early days of Iran’s Islamic Revolution, her parents started a church in their basement, and after learning of the gatherings, the religious police repeatedly arrested her father, Hossein Soodmand, and other believers. Despite suffering physical and psychological torture during his brief stints in jail, nothing prevented Hossein from sharing Jesus Christ. While Hossein’s bold faith inevitably led to persecution, it also helped protect and eventually inspire Rashin’s faith. She and her siblings were the only Christians at their school, so her father taught and quizzed them on fundamentals of the faith in order to counter their mandatory Islamic studies. “That was a challenge for me,” Rashin

Read More
Categories: Stories from the Field