Floyd A. Brobbel, Voice of the Martyr’s VP of International Ministry and Operations tells of a recent experience he had when visiting some persecuted Christians in Ethiopia. Brobbel recounts in the VOM Canada magazine (Feb. 2015:14),
On a recent trip to Ethiopia, a colleague and I had to endure some fairly rough travel in order to meet with a small band of Christians who experienced a series of physical attacks because of their identity as Christ-followers. We did what we always do…. We listened to their stories and documented their suffering. We encouraged them, prayed with them, and then shared a meagre meal together. As we were preparing to leave, the leader of the group stood up, looked at us and said, ‘Thank you for enduring the suffering required to come and be with us today.’
We were perplexed. Our suffering? These were the persecuted before us, living in very hostile conditions. What did he mean by our suffering? As if reading our thoughts, this dear brother continued, ‘You have come from far away, left the comfort of your homes and families, endured many days of travel in a strange land, been subjected to strange food, and then you will take many days to return home. You did all this so you could come to us and bear our burdens and bring us comfort. For this, we thank you.’
Needless to say, we were humbled, but left Ethiopia with a greater sense of what true unity in suffering looks like and how the shared sorrow of our brothers and sisters in Christ pointed us to the reality of the hope we have in Him. …
Not everyone will have the opportunity to travel to places like Ethiopia, Iraq, Syria, or any other part of the globe where there is persecution. But right now, at this very moment, Christian brothers and sisters are hurting and grieving. We can find them in our churches, in our neighbourhoods, in our cities, all across our country and around the world. May our goal then be to truly seek to understand what it means to remember as if we are bound with them, striving together in this remembrance of our precious brothers and sisters daily. Let us also be encouraged, for it is in the house of the mourning where deeper healing and the greatest joys can be fully experienced.
Please pray for our persecuted Christian brothers and sisters. To learn more about their plight (and their faith), visit the The Voice of the Martyrs website.