Stories Stories Ministry in tough places “What you say in your programmes [is] true but I cannot accept [Jesus] due to our social reason. If I accept [Jesus] then people in my family will reject me.” The cost of following Jesus in some parts of the world is very high. In places where access to Christian literature, including the Bible, and the opportunity to meet another Christian is rare, radio programmes, audio content on the internet and anonymous conversations via social media are the open doors for people to learn more. Our partners are using all these to reach people living in tough places, with one saying: “People feel alone and pressured by risk, so we use media outlets to provide encouragement and to reassure people that they are not alone…” In some places religious restrictions are enforced by the authorities, sometimes involving heavy-handed shows of strength, taking people from the street or searching their homes and places of work. Whilst our partners take measures to protect their identities and ways of working, the highest risk to security is the human factor. Great wisdom is needed in knowing when and how much to reveal about themselves to listeners. “It is really hard to know who to trust,” they say. Great wisdom is needed in knowing when and how much to reveal about themselves to listeners. “It is really hard to know who to trust,” they say. For new believers, the desire to meet the voice on the radio or the person at the other end of a message is a strong one. The person who has led them to their new found faith, possibly the only other Christian they know of, is the one they look to for guidance in how to pray, grow and live as a Christian. For our partners, the risk is this: meeting up may help establish a new believer in their faith but, if they are not genuine, meeting up is an exposure with potentially serious consequences for them and the ministry. One of our partners describes an initial meeting: “In the beginning of the meeting he was very nervous. He had a shopping bag which looked suspicious and I became nervous too. When he hugged me, I thought he will pull something from that shopping bag but it was only his extra clothes. After talking for a couple of minutes, nervousness disappeared and we could talk openly.” Despite the risks, our partners are so happy to meet new believers – the fruit of all that has gone before. “For me, meeting them in person was the most special time of my ministry. I remember when I met the first one. I called [their] name, we looked at each other for a few seconds and I saw [their] eyes become watery, and we give each other a long hug.” For me, meeting them in person was the most special time of my ministry. One time a meeting with a new believer was so significant and his commitment to the Lord was so evident, unusual steps were taken, as our partner explains: “I can say that he was on fire for the Lord. While talking, I felt strongly to baptise him. He was open for it and I bought the biggest bottle of water available from the shop and I baptised him inside the park.” New believers are often both fearful and enthusiastic about their new-found faith. In their enthusiasm they can be unguarded in talking about their spiritual change. The follow up workers are able to help them understand the risks and find wise ways of sharing their faith. Ministry in tough places brings risk but our partners also view it as a privilege - and they greatly value your prayers. Please pray: For listeners who are counting the cost of following Jesus. Pray that they would know an abundance of grace, courage and wisdom in their circumstances. That our partners would know who to trust, and what and how much to say to new people in their lives. For our partners’ protection and that of their ministries. Pray that those who seek to frustrate and harm would be ‘blind’ to them and their activities.