03 Nov From Shamed to Strength
Global Worker Feature
Ministry Location: Asia
When I hear the word persecution, I immediately think of physical violence, but living in a country where believers are shamed and shunned, I’ve come to see that these forms of passive persecution, are powerful.
My friend Alice attended an underground church in the city where she worked. She and other believers were constantly cautious, in hopes their meeting wouldn’t be discovered by the police. They lived with the nagging awareness that a neighbour or family member could report them for a reward, but this wasn’t her only concern. Alice went home to her village to visit her family on the anniversary of her grandmother’s passing. Everyone in the family was required to be there, and not because they wanted to recall happy memories. They were going to worship their ancestor who had passed into the afterlife. Her family firmly believes if they don’t offer gifts to the dead, their ancestor will work against them and they will be cursed. Every family member must participate.
When Alice declared she believed in God and couldn’t worship at her grandmother’s grave, her family was first shocked, then terrified. Alice’s refusal could bring a curse to the whole family, they believed. They started mocking and belittling her, in hopes she would comply. She stood, alone, being ridiculed by her entire family. As family members pressed close, and shouted in her face, she knelt before the grave of her grandmother. I won’t pray, she promised, but with head hung, Alice questioned how she could possibly follow God in the face of such opposition.
Discouraged and afraid, Alice returned to the city. But she wasn’t as alone as she thought – the majority of those in her underground church had experienced the same shaming from their families. As Alice shared her experience she was encouraged. By being with others who stood firm, her own faith was strengthened. Despite her family’s opposition, she continued to follow God.
Millions of believers, who already face opposition from the government, are pressured by their families to participate in ancestor worship. This creates a huge rift between believers and their family members. Please pray that believers will not pull away from their families, but will have courage to share their faith, and when they face pressure they will receive supernatural strength to stand.