Wednesday, November 7, 2007

helping the 1 in 10

We've just received our copy of BarnabasAid, the bi-monthly magazine of Barnabas Fund, an organisation which supports persecuted Christians. The issue is called "Iraq's Martyrs", and the cover shows 16 grainy black and white photos of Christians killed for their faith in Iraq in recent years.

Barnabas Fund's mission is "to support Christians where they are in a minority and suffer discrimination, oppression and persecution as a consequence of their faith. Our goal is to strengthen Christian individuals, churches and their communities by providing material and spiritual support in response to needs identified by local Christian leaders."

Or, in other words, to help The Other Nine Christians to support the 1 in 10 of their brothers and sisters in Christ who are daily discriminated against and treated as second class citizens because of their faith.

Barnabas Fund fights to protect and educate women in countries like Pakistan, where Christian women are commonly kidnapped, raped, and forced to convert to Islam and marry their abductor; supports television and radio programs used to reach people in closed countries; provides employment, accommodation and church buildings for Christians suffering discrimination in places as diverse as Korea and East Africa; and opposes anti-conversion laws in countries like India.

There are lots of people willing to give to big organisations such as World Vision and Tear Fund, and even more supporting popular causes like the Red Cross or Royal Children's Hospital, which is wonderful. But there are relatively few people interested in supporting persecuted Christians. In fact, Christians are often deliberately overlooked in relief efforts, such as after the recent catastrophic floods in Bangladesh.

Perhaps you could consider giving regularly to an organisation like Barnabas Fund, partly because your fellow Christians are so neglected, and also because God calls you to care for your brothers and sisters who are in need:

Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. Galatians 6:10

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