How a young woman overcame the pain of losing her father and forgave his murderers On the evening before Easter Sunday 2012, Comfort Jessy sat in the enclosed courtyard of her home in Nigeria chatting with her parents, older siblings and some neighbors. Around 11 p.m., they heard bombing in the distance, and less than 60 minutes later, Boko Haram militants were burning the church next door and pounding on the gate in front of their home. Comfort’s mother, Juliana, helped her husband hide in one of the back bedrooms, covering him with clothes. “God, we are in Your hands,” she prayed. Several militants entered to search the house while others dragged Juliana into the courtyard, striking her with their guns and taunting her about her faith. “You Christians say God has a son,” they said. “Call on that son! Today is your last day; your own life is over.” They then forced Julianna to kneel. “They said that if they don’t get their man, they will kill her,” Comfort said. “My mother said, ‘Even though I see your gun, I will not fear you.’” One of the men gave a shout from inside the house — he had found

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Categories: Stories from the Field

Aisha Granger is not your typical seminary student. She’s 43, a divorced mother of two children, and she’s Fulani, a member of the predominantly Muslim nomadic tribe spread across West Africa. Her journey started with a desire to learn. “I really wanted to go to school,” Aisha said, “but growing up in a Muslim environment as a Muslim girl, your orientation is toward growing up and being a good Muslim, a good mother.” Aisha followed cultural norms by marrying at age 18 and giving birth to her first child a year later. As a young woman, she studied at the College of Islamic Studies in Bauchi state and became a state representative for the Federation of Muslim Women. She even converted her living room into a mosque where women could pray, since Islam does not allow women to mix with men for prayer at the community mosque. “I used to be a very fanatical Muslim,” she said. “We were taught that Christians are infidels and we should not befriend them; we should not listen to them because they are not worshipers of Allah. We were always encouraged to stay away from Christians because they will make us turn away from

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Categories: Stories from the Field

As villagers watched Ritesh exchange the emptiness of worshiping idols for a relationship with the one true God, they accused him of converting his family to Christianity. For 35 years, Ritesh regularly performed puja at a temple in southern India. Like millions of other Hindus who practice the ritualistic prayer, he lit sticks of incense, displayed colorful flowers, listened to meditative music and worshiped various Hindu idols. He often spent more than an hour in the temple meditating on Hindu texts. But as much as he longed for spiritual growth through these rituals, he and his family never felt a connection with their gods or found the peace for which they were yearning. Then, one day in 2016, a local shopkeeper named Pascal gave him a Bible after a lengthy discussion about how to know God. Ritesh read the book daily … and soon learned that finding peace with the true God would mean losing peace with his neighborhood. finally meeting god On an invitation from Pascal, Ritesh attended his first church service a few months after receiving the Bible. He was deeply moved by the Scripture readings, the sermon and the way the Christians worshiped. “It was like something

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Categories: Stories from the Field

The Day of the Bombings More than a year after suicide bombers killed 15 people at three Indonesian churches, the survivors continue to heal from their injuries and question why they were attacked — even as they hold fast to their faith in Jesus Christ. Before sunrise on May 13, 2018, Wenny Hudojo hurried to get herself, her two sons and her niece dressed and ready for the second service at Saint Mary Immaculate Catholic Church in Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia. She and the children then made their way through the busy streets of the second largest city in Indonesia to gather for worship, as they did every Sunday. “It was a typical morning,” Wenny recalled. “We went to church every Sunday, but my husband wasn’t able to come with us this time because he was sick.” As they walked through the church gate, her sons, 8-year-old Nathan and 11-year-old Evan, talked excitedly with their 11-year-old cousin, Evelyn, about the games they would play after church. After passing the church security guard on their left, Wenny heard a motorcycle zip past them on the right. She turned to see two young men on the bike heading straight for the church

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Categories: Stories from the Field

After spending five years building relationships with 40 North Koreans in China, a faithful Chinese Christian eventually led one man — a North Korean government official — to Jesus. Lee Joon-ki scanned the Chinese coffee shop carefully for the right place to sit. The shop’s owner, a fellow Christian, had told him about a middle-aged laborer from North Korea who was in the shop, and Joon-ki wanted to sit in just the right spot to start a conversation with him. After sitting down at a table near the man, Joon-ki began a casual conversation with him, even managing to draw the coffee-shop owner into the discussion. These conversations, which can quickly turn dangerous for everyone involved, are what he lives for; Joon-ki is a front-line worker who shares the gospel with North Koreans inside China, near the border with North Korea. “Encountering these North Korean people, building relationships and leading them to Christ, is God’s work; it’s full of God’s grace,” he said. “Just meeting with him for an hour is so precious. It is not something we can do normally. Each time could be last time.” Joon-ki, an ordained pastor, has served as a front-line worker for over six

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Categories: Stories from the Field