Members of the Parish of Caerphilly attended Standing Strong, the Open Doors annual conference last weekend. Open Doors is an international ministry serving persecuted Christians and churches worldwide. Here, Amanda Thomas, Open Doors representative within the parish, tells more about the conference and how your parish can stand together with persecuted Christians across the world.
The Open Doors Standing Strong event at Birmingham was a tremendous celebration of all that God is doing in and through His church around the world. It was a wonderful opportunity to hear from our sisters and brothers from Nigeria, North Korea and Syria.
We heard how Christians in those countries are courageously following Jesus – despite the dangers – and how they are experiencing the joys that being faithful to Jesus brings.
Tirham, a volunteer at an Open Doors trauma centre in Nigeria, explained how they are helping women who have suffered violent persecution and how the lives of these women are being slowly restored as they realise they are precious children of God.
Kim Sang-Hwa, daughter of a North Korean church leader, grew up in North Korea and had no idea that her parents were Christians until she was 12, when she accidently came across a Bible hidden in a cupboard. She became a Christian and eventually fled North Korea with her husband, a pastor.
Her love for her country was still strong and she carried a map on which she marked with hearts the areas she constantly prayed for. We all held up the small wooden crosses we had been given and prayed with her for people there to know God’s love, power and strength.
We also heard from Elias who grew up in Aleppo, Syria and he told us just some of the stories of how God is at work there.
The Riding Lights Theatre Company performed a short play and we saw video clips, sang worship songs and heard more from Henrietta Blyth, the CEO of Open Doors in UK & Ireland.
It was a truly inspiring and uplifting day.
How can your parish get involved?
There are so many ways that parishes can get involved and Open Doors. How about….
- Holding a Signs of Hope’ carol service for Syria.
- Becoming a partner church.
- Receiving bi-monthly magazines and prayer diaries.
- Setting up a prayer group, holding prayer days, including in your weekly intercessions.
- Speaking out in advocacy and encouraging your MPs to attend the World Watch List launch in Parliament in January.
- Encouraging your young people to take part in Blackout – a sponsored challenge to go screen free for up to 48 hours.
- Running a Secret Church session or event and experiencing some of the reality of the underground church.
- Holding a coffee morning and using the Bake with them fundraising pack.
- Challenging yourself in South Korea…..Run, Walk or Cycle across South Korea in next year’s Muskathlon challenge!!
Open Doors have some great resources on their website https://www.opendoorsuk.org/
Open Doors 2020 conference
Open Doors team are really stepping out in faith and have booked the NEC as the venue for 2020. The date is 3rd October and tickets are already on sale. Early-bird adult tickets £12.