en I named this blog it was because sometimes in life we have but a minute to make an impact in someone’s life and, Lord willing, we are able to make the most of that ‘ministry minute.’ However, as the Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church
comes upon us on November 13th I cannot but think about people like Pastor Benham Irani a 41 year old pastor from Kraj, Iran who voluntarily surrendered to authorities in May after being convicted to a 1 year sentence in January 2011 for ‘crimes against national security’ in Iran. When he reported for his sentence, according to the Voice of the Martyrs who carried this story, he was told he had to serve five years for previous crimes. He and his family have to spend more than a minute for the ministry this year and through 2016 at least. The VOM website, http://www.persecution.com also carried the story of a Belarus pastor. “Belarusian pastor Aleksei Abramovich was fined an amount equal to several weeks’ wages in September for leading unregistered religious worship…” The people of his church banded together to raise the money for the fine. They all had to work more than a minute or two to make that kind of money and in both cases I know that the Lord will bless both men and these circumstances.
In our regional meetings this week here in Kiev Ukraine where I am currently, I have heard several accounts of pastors in the Middle East and in Central Asia that are facing serious, life threatening persecution. One such, highly gifted pastor and linguist has walked away from his ministry out of the fear he and his wife have that he could be jailed or killed.
I am not discounting our responsibility to make use of our ministry minutes. I simply want us to remember, especially on Nov 13th that there are men and women truly in harm’s way because of their dedication to preaching and proclaiming the Good News that all too often, we take for granted.