Who really is blessed?
Today, MariAnne and I had the privilege of listening to the powerful stories of several people who have suffered great injustice and pain because of their Christian faith. Below is a picture of Wei Han Shi. Mr. Shi was a publisher in Beijing and printed and distributed over a million Bibles. As a result, he spent over 3 years in prison between 2007 to 2010. He spoke with much joy about how global interest in their lives sustained both him and his wife and children. His eldest daughter translated for him and their laughter together confirmed their deep thankfulness to God for rescuing them and using their suffering as a family ultimately for their good.
Without a doubt, we were looking forward to hearing Gracia Burnham. Gracia Burnham and her late husband Martin were held captive for over a year from 2001 to 2002 in the Philippines by Abu Sayef rebels who were connected with Al Qaeda.
In Thunder Bay, we prayed throughout their long ordeal following the news closely. Today, Gracia told us how well her children are doing. She shared that several of the terrorists are now in prison in the Philippines. Through the care of American Christians working in the prison, four of the terrorists have become followers of Jesus Christ. She has just been invited to do a radio program for the Philippines by which she can share her faith and love for Christ and she can communicate the forgiveness she has for her captors. Pray for her as she feels this is a big task.
At the end of the day, I still have much processing to do. Yet, one thing was unquestionably clear. Wei Han spoke that one time during interrogation, he was hung from a wall naked by handcuffs behind his back. It was January and when he didn't give the police what they wanted to hear, they doused him repeatedly with cold water. Miraculously, in the middle of that ordeal, the Word of God from 2 Corinthians came to him, "My grace is sufficient for you." He said that God used many means particularly the love of God's people to prove that true.
How humbling it was today to see these people praising God for His faithfulness and love and remaining determined to continue to share that with as many as possible no matter what the cost.