In August a group of more than a dozen of our Christian brothers and sisters was captured near the city of Aleppo in Syria. 11 of the captured were indigenous Christian workers who had converted from Islam to Christianity and were now leading the efforts to minister in their homeland. When the war zone encroached on their homes and in the area that they were ministering, their ministry director tells Charisma News that he begged them to flee for safer regions, but the workers chose to stay and provide aid and comfort, in the name of Jesus, for those who could not leave.
They decided to stay because they believed that God had placed them in their situation and that they had a duty to share His Gospel with others caught in the war zone around them.
“I asked them to leave, but I gave them the freedom to choose. As their leader, I should have insisted that they leave.
Every time we talked to them they were always saying, ‘We want to stay here—this is what God has told us to do. This is what we want to do.’ They just wanted to stay and share the gospel.”
On August 7th, ISIS marched into the village where the Christians were working and took them captive. Several weeks later the ISIS terrorists demanded that the Christians renounce their faith and return to Islam, but the workers told them that they would never renounce Christ.
The ministry team leader, who had led 9 house churches in the area, along with his 12-year old son and two other Christians (in their 20’s) were beaten and crucified as a crowd of onlookers watched. ISIS marked their crosses with signs identifying the martyred believers as “infidels.”
The other eight ministry team members were not spared their own horrors. The ISIS killers later dragged the 6 men and 2 women to an alternate location in the village before gathering another crowd and demanding the Christians recant. Again, they refused with the women imploring ISIS for mercy and saying that they were simply sharing the peace and love of Christ, that they’d done nothing wrong. In response, the ISIS thugs raped the women as the crowd watched. All the while the women and men prayed, which only served to enrage the terrorists who continued beating the group. Finally, the 8 devoted Christians were beheaded.
“Villagers said some were praying in the name of Jesus, others said some were praying the Lord’s prayer, and others said some of them lifted their heads to commend their spirits to Jesus,” the ministry director told Charisma News. “One of the women looked up and seemed to be almost smiling as she said, ‘Jesus!'”
After the missionaries had been beheaded they too were hanged on crosses for the village to see.
The team’s director asks that Christians around the world will pray fervently for our brothers and sisters in the Muslim world, particularly for himself and the surviving family members of these martyred brothers and sisters.
“They kept on praying loudly and sharing Jesus until their last breath,” he said. “They did this in front of the villagers as a testimony for others.
These things have been very hard on me. What wrong did those people do to deserve to die? What is happening is more and more people are being saved. The ministry is growing and growing—in the past we used to pray to have one person from a Muslim background come to the Lord. Now there are so many we can barely handle all the work among them.”
Fellow Christians, we have brothers and sisters facing real hardship in the Muslim world. The freedom and opportunities that we have to practice our faith in relative safety and security are not enjoyed by others. Pray for our siblings in Christ, pray for our world, pray for those being terrorized by the evil Muslim criminals who seem to take such pleasure in the pain of others.
The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by EagleRising.com