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Challenges for Growing Church in Enemy Stronghold

After Eddy* became a believer, he wanted to go wherever the greatest need was. “It doesn’t matter where,” he said. That’s how he ended up in Asia where he met his wife, Sarah.*

And this region of Asia really does have one of the biggest needs. Their culture is so heavily steeped in Islam, that new converts often face heavy persecution from their deeply-Muslim society. New Christians often become so ostracized that they have to move to neighboring countries just to find employment. Eddy said, “In this country, you get your jobs from your family connections—not your skills.” And that makes it really hard for believers to stay in the country. 

Because of this dynamic, the Christian church has been shrinking in this country. Eddy says, “Seventy percent of the church has left in the past few years, and new leaders aren’t being raised up.” How is the Good News supposed to spread when the local church is shrinking? The region is clearly in the midst of a spiritual crisis.

But, Eddy and Sarah have been following God’s lead and making progress. They said “Over the years, we’ve been asking how the name of Christ is gonna be famous in this land and making our decisions based on that.” As a result, God led them to help local believers start their own businesses so they don’t have to flee—and it’s been working! Eddy said, “We launched 11 stores last year and are working towards launching another 11 in the coming year.” They’ve helped their fellow believers start all kinds of businesses, including a coffee shop, a gym, a dental imaging lab, an english center, a donut shop, a delivery business, a woodworking shop, a laser printing service, and even a computer programming business.

Although it’s exhausting work, Eddy and Sarah said, “It’s been an absolute privilege to be here. The gospel continues to go out, people are coming to faith, and our church has been growing. One Sunday we had 55 people join us in our two-bedroom apartment.”

It’s clear that the enemy has captured a serious stronghold in this region, but God hasn’t given up on the people there—He loves them too fiercely. Though Satan has been trying to extinguish every flicker of light from the country, God has been fighting back through Eddy and Sarah. As the Apostle Paul said, “Our struggle isn’t against flesh and blood, but against the powers of this dark world and the forces of evil in the spiritual realm.” 

Would you stand by Eddy and Sarah as this spiritual battle rages on? In what seems to be the enemy’s latest counterattack, the country’s prime minister has launched a direct competitor to one of Eddy and Sarah’s most foundational businesses. They need us to intercede on their behalf and call in reinforcements in the heat of this spiritual battle!

*Names changed for security