Stories Open Mic Five hands (not pillars) Feba CEO, Bob Chambers, shares a reflection on his recent visit to a team broadcasting life-giving media to persecuted Christians. So what is so special about these five hands, and what is it that they're gathered around? I had the privilege recently of meeting some of the production team behind Feba's work in Yemen and Saudi Arabia. The five people I met are all refugees and each has a remarkable story to tell. For security reasons I cannot share their real names, but let's refer to them as J, N, P, R and S. As a father myself, I cannot imagine being so angry with my son for asking a question about faith that I would ever threaten or harm him physically - even less so if he were only six years old. As a father myself, I cannot imagine being so angry with my son for asking a question about faith that I would ever threaten or harm him physically - even less so if he were only six years old. As a son, I cannot imagine being on the receiving end of death threats, disowned, and living with the knowledge that my family would want to see me killed. As a citizen, I cannot properly comprehend the fear of authority so acute that even my own embassy could be seen as a threat to my personal safety rather than a place of sanctuary and a source of comfort. The persecution endured by Christian believers today in certain contexts is very real and takes various forms. [see more: Feba Focus Area Persecuted Church]. It is fairly well documented and we can read about it in general terms (for example, the work of the organisation Open Doors), but to meet and discuss with people like J, N, P, R and S was a first for me. Something I came to understand in a new way was the fact that the persecution can stem from failure to observe strict adherence to other cultural or religious practices - in this case Islam - even before someone professes a faith in Jesus Christ. For J, her questions started as a ten year old at a Quranic school and very quickly led to trouble with her parents. I can assure you that her subsequent life journey has not been straightforward, yet with hindsight God's hand can be clearly seen at work each step of the way. Laying in bed one night, he decided to visit the nearby store in the morning, buy some rat poison, and take his own life. That night, however, S had a vivid encounter in which he saw and heard from Jesus. The practical, emotional and spiritual impact of deciding to leave one's family and community should never be underestimated - and it's certainly not a decision any of the people I met had taken lightly. But alongside the deeply disturbing accounts of the circumstances that prompted them to leave their respective homes, it was exciting - and a tremendous encouragement - to hear something of what has happened since. Having found a place of safety in Europe, S was nonetheless feeling isolated and despondent. He did not feel he 'belonged' or had purpose. Laying in bed one night, he decided to visit the nearby store in the morning, buy some rat poison, and take his own life. That night, however, S had a vivid encounter in which he saw and heard from Jesus. "He was dressed in white - bright white - and seated on a big throne. He had the most beautiful voice. There was an overwhelming sense of power and of peace." In direct response, S wanted to know and understand more. In that same initial encounter, Jesus had showed S a very specific lady with discernible features and clothing that made her image very memorable. In the days that followed, S went around searching for the lady - desperate to meet her and learn more. Two weeks later he was starting to doubt and lose hope when he spotted the lady across the street! She was unmistakable, so S immediately ran to her and explained his situation. A mature Christian herself and part of the leadership team at a local church, the lady helped S to explore and understand the Christian faith; her commitment to discipling S continues to this day and she still makes contact with him weekly. So what is the box the hands are resting on? Well, some of the content broadcast on shortwave into Yemen and Saudi Arabia is prerecorded and some of it is transmitted live, and the 'box' is actually a hard drive containing a series of programmes that the team has just recorded. They meet from time to time in safe locations to produce the material together and they always conclude by praying over the storage device - that God will use it for his glory, to reach and encourage people in a difficult context that they know so well. Maybe - just maybe - members of their own families and communities will hear some of it, and who know how they might respond? Aside from the issue of Islam being the majority faith (more than 99% of the population are Muslim), the conflict in Yemen and resultant human suffering is considered by many to be grossly under-reported; the severity and scale of the situation warrant far more attention than the Yemeni people receive currently. I’d encourage you to find out more. We know that the broadcasts supported by Feba are having an impact because the follow up team has contact with listeners who want to probe and engage with what they've heard. For each member of the production team, their own personal experience spurs them on in this vital work. I can assure you that I will not forget meeting the team and hearing why this means so much to them. They have already paid a considerable price for their own faith and their heartfelt commitment is a real inspiration. Operating in the region is complex and costly, and I’m very thankful for the team and network of contacts we are working with. Could I please ask you to join with J, N, P, R and S - the 'five hands' - and all of us at Feba as we pray together for the people of Yemen and Saudi Arabia. Thank you.