“Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die” Revelation 3:2
Open Doors NI came to Dervock Presbyterian from Wednesday 30th September – Sunday 4th October.
Open Doors commenced their Dervock tour by joining the members of the new Wednesday Fellowship. This group meets on the first Wednesday of every month. At that meeting, we focused particularly on the number one country of the World Watch List, which is North Korea. The World Watch List is compiled every year by Open Doors and records the 50 most persecuted countries in the World. We, in Dervock Presbyterian have been praying our way through this list since the first week of January. In North Korea, it is illegal to be a Christian. We watched a DVD that included information on the labour camps Christians are sent to if they are caught practicing their faith and also of the leader of the country, Kim Jong Un, who seeks worship from his citizens like a god.
At the Midweek meeting and Prayer time, we focused on Bible smuggling. Volunteers from Open Doors smuggle many different types of bibles and Gospel literature into persecuted countries every year. Some bibles are just like the copies you have in your own homes, some are sock bibles that can fit down the inside of your shoe and some are on MP3 players. Obviously, the smaller the bible, the more that can be smuggled at once. These bibles are often taken into dangerously persecuted countries and at specific rendezvous points, the bibles are deployed. Often, the volunteers do not interact with the bible’s recipients for fear of being caught.
Underground, the youth movement of Open Doors, visited our Youth Club/Senior C.E. group on the Friday night. Focusing on the theme of family, Open Doors conveyed to our young people, that these people are our brothers and sisters in the Lord Jesus Christ. In the same way we show concern for our blood relations, we should show equal concern for those who are our spiritual siblings. Through ice cream, DVD clips and interactive prayer ideas, we had a good night.
On Saturday morning, the men in our congregation gathered to have a bacon or sausage butty as we heard some more about the prison and labour camp life in North Korea. The men heard startling statistics of how people are treated for their faith in Christ, and in particular, how many thwart certain death, if caught, by fleeing the country into nearby China or South Korea. We are indebted to Dorothy, Ethel and Rosemary for cooking our breakfast that morning.
On Saturday afternoon, 40 children from the village arrived on the mini bus as Open Doors facilitated an exciting program for them. They brought a replica Beetle similar to the one used by Brother Andrew when he was smuggling bibles over the Iron Curtain 60 years ago. The children, when asked, where would you usually hide things in a car, ran around the back to inspect the boot, only to realise, that the beetle’s engine was where the boot normally is . Boys and girls got to dress up like communist guards, write cards and letters of encouragement to children in Eritrea, do some Arabic writing and search for a hidden ‘sock bible’ in the car park. Much fun was had by all.
Open Doors also took both of our services on the Lord’s Day. At morning worship, we focused on the countries of Syria and Iraq. Our evening service was slightly different than usual. We had our very own secret church; the lights were dimmed, we had no music for our ‘secret’ singing in hushed voices. There were secret spies watching as people entered church with their bibles, and secret readings from small portions of God’s Word that reflects what some persecuted Christians have. This was just a snippet of what life can be like for our persecuted brothers and sisters across the world. Some of us took a photograph of just our shoes following church, after all, this is the only way many secret Christians can capture themselves at church. We took our picture, too, to show that we stand with those who are being persecuted. Thank you to everyone who supported our Mission weeklet- we hope to make this an annual event with different mission organisations. Thank you also for your generosity. Rev. Moore was able to present Open Doors with £520 from the congregation from the retiring offerings.