After eight hours of interrogation at the police station, Pastor H. returned home to find twelve policemen waiting to invade his home, disturb his family, and confiscate all his Christian resources, including his Bible.
This particular trial began in a remote village in Azerbaijan, a country surrounded by the Caspian Sea and the Great Caucasus Mountains. A new believer we will call Hannah* spends her days caring for her two young sons, raising chickens and selling their eggs for additional income. Hannah attends a nearby church led by Pastor H. and is spiritually growing in a dark country where it is unlawful and shameful to leave her Islamic roots. Hannah is learning through Global Heart’s satellite women’s programs and Pastor H. supplies Christian brochures and books equipping her share her faith with her children and those she invites into her home.
One day Hannah’s oldest son took some of the brochures and put them in his backpack without his mother knowing it. While playing at school, his backpack came open and exposed the secret brochures. They wind spread them around the school yard and into the hands of many curious children. The children were alarmed by the Christian content and went to the Principal who then called the police. Hannah and her very frightened boys were arrested that day.
Bullied, questioned, and insulted by the police, Hannah answered their questions, unwavering about her newfound Christian faith. With nowhere else to turn since her husband was away, she called Pastor H. who came to the station and took full responsibility for the Christian materials and underwent interrogation.
While persevering and waiting for God to move, Pastor H. took Hannah and her family into his home and they all stayed in touch with staff members at Global Heart Ministries. Knowing that local police often plant drugs, or other paraphernalia in jacket pockets of the innocent, they assured these brothers and sisters that the Church was praying and would do everything possible to help.
When Pastor H. went back to the police department to pick up his Bible and other materials, the police unexpectedly asked him to explain the difference between Muslims and Christians. Answering with the words of Jesus, Pastor H. quoted John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” He continued to share the whole gospel and that Azerbaijani Christians love, respect, and pray for their government. He also conveyed that brothers and sisters in Christ in other countries, including America, had been praying and encouraging them during this extremely difficult time. Intrigued, the Chief of Police asked about the people who were concerned enough to help them. Pastor H. told them about the digital media available through Global Heart and how the Global Heart staff have loved and encouraged them more than they ever experienced before. Not only did the police return Pastor H.’s resources, but the Chief of Police respectfully escorted him to the door to say goodbye.
Hannah was fined $1,500, a hefty amount in Central Asia. But the local church body is helping pay Hannah’s fine and miraculously the school principal, who turned her son into the police, invited Hannah back to the school. When Hannah walked in she was greeted to cake, tea and a sincere apology. The principal told her that for many nights a Man in a white robe had appeared to him in his dreams and told him he acted unjustly towards her, had hurt Hannah very much and declared he must ask for her forgiveness. Hannah explained to him that the Man in the white robe was Jesus. He called other teachers into the room and Hannah proclaimed the Gospel to 100 people that day!
Praise God for making the seemingly impossible, possible. GHM is able to give hope to Pastors and other believers under persecution through prayer and financial partners like you. Please pray that God would raise up more Pastors like Pastor H. to reach people in one of the darkest regions of the world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
*Name changed for security
Millions of people in the Middle East and Central Asia are suffering in silence while governments and strongmen keep them from hearing the Gospel. Global Heart Ministries bypasses these barriers and goes straight to the heart with Christ-centered TV programming and digital outreach in languages native to Central Asia. Your gifts to Global Heart are directly connected to more people hearing about Jesus and being saved. Join with us today in fufilling the Great Commission to make disciples of all nations.