Open Doors Youth Tue, 13 Feb 2024 12:45:56 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 Saint Valentine: When love costs Tue, 13 Feb 2024 12:40:12 +0000 Planning on sending a card this Valentine’s Day? Hoping to get one back? Valentine’s Day has become a big commercial celebration of love and relationships, but the stories surrounding the original Saint Valentine, who has the honour of having February 14th named after him, are pretty far from love-hearts, chocolates and soppy messages. 

What we know about Saint Valentine, who lived in the third century, is pretty limited, but February 14th commemorates his martyrdom. He was, apparently, beheaded. Some say he was killed because he was healing the sick in the name of Jesus. His ministry would have been controversial in a Roman world of multiple gods that hadn’t yet embraced Christianity. According to the story, he even prayed for the healing of the daughter of the guard who was keeping him in his cell – she was healed!

Others say he was arrested and killed for trying to convert the Emperor, whilst other stories say he was imprisoned for ignoring a ban on Christian marriage – instead he secretly performed weddings for Christian couples.

The stories all point to one thing. Valentine was a victim of persecution. He believed in Jesus, and it seems in living out his faith he became a target for those with different religious views. The ruling Roman theology included multiple gods and goddesses and the idea that there is just one God (and that He became a man, lived, died and came back to life) would not just be shocking or blasphemous, but dangerous too.

Religion was, and is, big business. Back then, as today, religious ideas can be used to give people power, influence, income and more. Preaching something different to the status quo is a dangerous act – especially when Jesus is the focus. His teaching is revolutionary, even today. And when taken seriously, his words and presence with us can change the world.

Like then, today many Christians and Christian leaders are facing intimidation, arrest, violence, torture and death because of their love of Jesus. They are the real, modern day Saint Valentines, living out a message of undying, true love with their lives. They really do know that love costs. So, today, remember them (as well as the person you have a crush on). Try praying for those in our church family that…

1. Are in prison, facing long or unknown sentences because of their faith. Dozens of Christians were arrested in Iran last year, many were church leaders.

2. Are facing exclusion and violence from their loved ones because of their choice to follow Jesus. Many are excluded, kicked out and threatened by family because of the shame of changing religion.

WORLD WATCH LIST 2024: TAKE ON THE QUIZ! Wed, 17 Jan 2024 12:16:23 +0000 WORLD WATCH LIST 2024 TRENDS: PersecutiON IS GROWING, BUT SO IS THE CHURCH… Tue, 16 Jan 2024 15:58:36 +0000 One in seven Christians worldwide face high levels of persecution and discrimination for their faith – that’s 365 million of our brothers and sisters. 

Five years ago, the figure was one in nine. In the past year alone, the number of persecuted believers has risen by about five million.  

Put simply, the persecution of Christians is worsening.  

One of the reasons that it’s getting worse is because the church is growing. In the most hostile of environments, it continues to thrive. More than anything, it’s a testament to the power of the gospel and the eternal truth that “God’s word is not chained” (2 Timothy 2:9). But it’s also because the global church is standing with its most vulnerable members. It’s what family does.  

Here are some key trends from the Open Doors World Watch List 2024: 

1. Extremists exploit instability in Africa 

A key trend is growing violence in sub-Saharan Africa. The region accounts for some 90 per cent of the estimated 5,000 believers killed for their faith worldwide, with the highest number of Christians killed being in Nigeria (4,118). The main driver of this is Islamic extremists capitalising on regional instability. Because of their faith, Christians are affected disproportionately.  

2. Foreign influence bolsters autocratic regimes 

African governments are spending £800 million per year on surveillance technology, mostly to strengthen the capabilities of autocratic governments. The main exporter is China, a country whose use of sophisticated surveillance technology is synonymous with repression of religious freedom (and one of the main reasons it’s number 19 on the World Watch List). 

Meanwhile, the Wagner Group – a private military contractor with reported connections to the Russian government – is fighting for governments across the region. Known for its ruthless activities in countering Islamic extremism, it has been increasingly active in countries including Burkina Faso and Mali, where speaking out against their activities is near impossible and even life-threatening.

3. Unprecedented attacks on churches 

Two-thirds of all attacks and closures of churches and public Christians properties were in China, where tightening religious laws and intrusive surveillance have forced many churches to splinter into a myriad of small, less visible groups.

Elsewhere, in Algeria, only four of the 46 churches affiliated with the country’s Protestant umbrella organisation remained open in 2023 – and it’s unlikely it will stay that way for long.  

4. Christians squeezed out of the Middle East and North Africa 

The situation in Syria has worsened, enough to now make it a country where believers face extreme persecution. Ongoing conflict, pressure from the Islamic majority, the influence of extremist groups and a collapsed economy contribute to the vulnerability of Christians.

In Iraq, waning political influence and an increase in incidents of incitement of hatred against believers has increased pressure on the country’s embattled Christian minority.  

Meanwhile, Libya has climbed to third on the World Watch List, due to an increase in violence against Christians. In Tunisia, pressure on Christians continues to grow as President Kais Saied’s rule drifts into authoritarianism.  

What’s the good news? 

  • In Mali (#14), changes to the country’s constitution – which includes recognition of the country’s Christian minority – were approved in a referendum. It’s seen as a step towards elections in 2024 and a return to civilian rule and stronger governance.  
  • In Karnataka State, India (#11), the Hindu nationalist BJP were dislodged by the Congress Party, who have promised to revise or withdraw the ‘anti-conversion laws’ that are often used to target Christians. 
  • Despite an increase in hostility in Sri Lanka (#58), Open Doors partners say that church closures have been prevented because of teaching given to pastors on how to stand up for their rights. 
  • In North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, the online sphere is increasingly a place for people to encounter Jesus and access fellowship and discipleship.  
  • In Mexico (#37), the translation of religious law into Tzotzil – a widely spoken indigenous language – was published, with support from Open Doors. It will enable believers to better understand their rights amid persecution. 
Dare to declare  

The statistics and stories that highlight rising persecution are sobering, but they point to a greater reality: the church is growing.  

A big riser in this year’s list is Laos, jumping ten places to 21st, due to a spike in violence against Christians. “In all my years working as a researcher, I never saw a clearer connection of a growing church with growing opposition, resulting in higher scores,” said a researcher. “I find it comforting that the biblical verses predicting this connection are still true.” 

It’s a similar story worldwide – one that began around 2,000 years ago, when persecution scattered the early church because of the impact of the gospel. Wherever believers settled, the church continued to grow. 

“Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel,” Paul wrote in Philippians 1:12, before adding his courage has enabled others ‘dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear’ (1:14). 

As we remember and support our persecuted family, may Paul’s words be true of us, too. 

COUNTING THE COST IN YEMEN: SALEH’S BRAVE FAITH Mon, 08 Jan 2024 11:17:08 +0000 Saleh* was used to the risk of death for his faith. Because of his Christian ministry, Saleh’s name is on the ‘wanted’ list of extremists in Yemen. The authorities would actually grant a reward to anyone who is able to hand him in. Being hunted was nothing new.

“The authorities have my photo and my name,” he explains. “I usually do not move around much and I do not roam the streets freely at night. I try to be as wise as possible when travelling for ministry.”

But this time, the threats were different. Saleh knew he was in real danger, and he’d been in hiding for two months. His family was urging him to leave the country. The authorities had his friends in custody– and their phones, with Saleh’s contact information.

What was he going to do? Watch the video to find out more…


Saleh currently serves about 70 families in Yemen. With the help of Open Doors partners, he is able to provide meeting spaces for Christians, provide medical help and transportation, give out food packages, conduct baptisms, train leaders and help set up essential trainings, including trauma counselling, persecution preparedness and discipleship.

“We are grateful for your support,” he says to Open Doors supporters. “Without these resources we won’t be able to grow and to serve the church in Yemen. Your prayers are important and uplifting to us, giving us strength and encouragement to keep going.”

Open Doors partners help Christians in Yemen through prayer campaigns, food and medical aid, rental assistance for house churches, discipleship and leadership training and more. Your gift today can help Christians like Saleh continue his work to strengthen and grow the church in Yemen and other countries where Christians face extreme persecution for their faith – you can be part of this bold, risk-taking ministry alongside those who truly count the cost of loving Jesus.

*Name changed for security reasons

COUNTING THE COST IN NORTH KOREA: JI-HO’S BRAVE FAITH Mon, 08 Jan 2024 10:55:47 +0000 Ji Ho* vividly remembers the moment she saw her father for the last time. North Korean security agents had ransacked their house. They didn’t find what they were looking for in the house – but they did discover something by digging deep in the garden.

“They found the book, wrapped in plastic,” she remembers. “One of the policemen came inside, holding the book. He kicked over our small table as we cowered in the corner, flinging dishes everywhere, and threw the book down at my father’s feet.”

That book was a Bible – one of the most dangerous possessions to be found with inside North Korea. Because of that book, Ji-Ho’s father was arrested and taken away, and she hasn’t seen him since. But, even though she had no idea what was in the Bible, or what being a Christian was, Ji-Ho’s father had been telling her stories from the Bible as she grew up. And when she came to hear about Jesus on a radio broadcast, she realised she knew his words already!

Watch her story of brave faith below…

How Open Doors helps…

Through our networks in another country, Open Doors distributes food and medicine, especially in wintertime. Through these underground networks, Open Doors secret workers are currently sustaining 100,000 North Korean believers alive with vital food and aid, shelter and discipleship training. That’s only possible with the help and prayers of people like you.

“I’ll continue to learn more about Jesus and how I can follow Him more closely – and I’ll continue to be salt to the people around me,” says Ji Ho. She has so little, but is determined to do what she can to show Jesus’s love to the desperate people around her.

Please pray for and support courageous believers like Ji-Ho. Start by praying the points below and pre-ordering our latest free World Watch List map!

*Name changed. Ji Ho’s story is based on several true accounts of life in North Korea, to protect any specific person from being identified.

A GENEROUS CHRISTMAS: SIX TIPS FROM THE PERSECUTED CHURCH IN CENTRAL ASIA Mon, 04 Dec 2023 10:33:31 +0000 We all want to be generous at Christmas AND give the best gifts WE CAN to our families, our spouses, and our friends. But many of us are also looking for ethical and meaningful ways to be generous at Christmas time.

Whether you want to challenge yourself to be more generous, or just give back a little, here are six ways secret believers in Central Asia* are trying to share the love of Jesus this season! 

These courageous Christians choose to remain in their country, despite pressure, by living as light and salt in their communities. This is what their ministry looks like at Christmas. See if any of their actions could inspire your generosity this Christmas!


“Today, the youth of our church made a Christmas performance in a hospital for children with cancer. There were representatives of a television company and a newspaper. They interviewed them, asking, “Why are you doing all that?” It was a very bright moment when we were able to say openly in a public place that we are believers, and we do it out of love to people and the country. It was a good testimony for the authorities and the heads of the organisations.” 


Local believers and Open Doors partners ran activities and games to include and show love to the deaf, who in Central Asia can often get overlooked and face rejection. “We held a sport event with the children of the Society of the Deaf. After the events, we gathered the children in groups of 25 and told them the parable about a seed. It made the kids think about their hearts.” 


“We hosted an event for children from poor families. The children were hungry and many of them did not have one of the parents in the family. After the event, a representative of the city mayor thanked us for the help.” 


“The ministry in the Rehab Centre for drug addicts and alcoholics continues. We help the people as much as we can to find freedom in Jesus (Jn. 8:36). In December we provided them with a Christmas service and a good meal.” 


“We visited a family in a village. The parents had not received their salary for December, and they had no money to buy food. The only things they had were some soup and a simple cake. The parents were very upset about that because everybody wants to have something special on the table for such an occasion. It was a great surprise for them to see us with many delicious things for the table. They cried like children when they saw all the gifts. For us it was a good chance to share God’s love with them and to tell them about the greatest gift – the Saviour.” 


“Among the children who received the gifts were some disabled children and their parents. When one of the parents, whose daughter has Down’s Syndrome, was given a gift for his daughter he started weeping, which is very unusual for men here; they never show their emotions! He said, “This is the first time in our life when we feel that someone cares about us.” 

They brought gifts to a local school as well, where many families have suffered economically. Having received the gifts, some children came back and said: “You gave a gift to me and also to my sister in the other classroom, are you sure it is not a mistake? Won’t you take back one of the gifts?” 

Many of the teachers could not help but cry and the children were so much attracted by the story about Christmas that we all realised how much the people need fellowship and love.” 


Inspired by the love and generosity of these persecuted believers in Central Asia? Us too. 

That’s why we’re helping you to give hope to believers like these who suffer for their faith, yet courageously live out the love of Jesus in their daily lives. 

Send some light this Christmas! Put generosity first. Think of ways you could share some of Jesus’ hope and light. You could start by giving to Open Doors. Just £6 could give a month’s education to a child impacted by persecution…

*We can’t share their real names or exact whereabouts, as they live under extreme pressure for their faith. 

ADVENT: AN ACTIVE WAIT Tue, 28 Nov 2023 12:01:25 +0000 Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come,
or a plane to go or the mail to come,
or the rain to go or the phone to ring,
or the snow to snow or waiting around for a Yes or No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.

Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting for wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting.
From ‘Oh the places you’ll go’ by Dr Seuss

No one loves waiting – but it feels like life is full of it. Waiting ‘til we’re older, waiting for the weekend to come, waiting on for a phone call, waiting on results from tests… Whether we like it or not waiting is part and parcel of life, especially at this time of the year.

Waiting can be pretty tedious. In fact, it’s so tedious that we do all we can in our culture to avoid it. Instant messaging and same-day deliveries help us reduce the waiting times between developing conversations or receiving online orders. Automation, technology and the internet have led us to expect that things can – and will be – done quickly, if not instantly, and we get frustrated when we’re put on hold, or can’t get the information we want right away.

But, is there something in the wait that we’re missing out on? At this time of year, the bit before Christmas that we call Advent, we’re encouraged to embrace the wait. The word advent literally means ‘coming’. Back in the first few centuries of Christianity, advent was a time of preparation for those who were hoping to be baptised. It was a time of expectation, training and preparation for a ‘coming’ new life.

Fifteen centuries later and most of us see the four weeks before Christmas as a time to get on our Christmas jumpers, sing a few carols and look forward to the big day. But, we still have to wait, and in fact, as followers of Jesus, we should be embracing the wait the whole year, not just the few weeks before Christmas.

“Our faith is a wait, but it’s an active wait… it’s one where we know that God’s promise is already, and will be, fulfilled.”

The thing is, Christianity is all about actively waiting. This isn’t the kind-of passive waiting around to see if something might happen that Dr Seuss moans about in his poem. Active waiting is an embracing of the here and now. It recognises with faith – with immense belief – what is to come, but when we actively wait we do all we can to pull that future promise into the present.

Advent is all about the now, and the not yet. The in-between time. We know something good is coming, but it’s not quite here yet. But because we know the good stuff is coming we get excited, we celebrate and we look ahead. We embrace the reality that Christmas day is near and prepare the turkey, make the mince pies, wrap the presents and put on the Christmas tunes.

It’s an active waiting.

And following Jesus means we need to have that kind of advent faith all year. Jesus was born, lived, inspired and loved. Then he was rejected, beaten and killed. Lastly, he rose from the dead… but he also promised he will come again.

Our faith is a wait, but it’s an active wait… it’s one where we know that God’s promise is already, and will be, fulfilled.

We live in that time, the in-between time between his resurrection and his future coming – a time when justice and peace will be restored. Our faith is a wait, but it’s an active wait… it’s one where we know that God’s promise is already here, but it is also yet to be fully fulfilled.

So how do we actively wait? It’s a good question. The answer is simple. We do all we can to pull God’s promised future of love, compassion and justice into the here and now.

This is something that many persecuted Christians understand. Take the church in Syria. You’d think during a time of war, violence and terrorism, that the church could simply say ‘things are getting out of hand, let’s wait ‘til the situation improves before we start a new project in the community’.

But that isn’t the attitude at all. In fact, active waiting, or advent faith, doesn’t sit still. It doesn’t hang around while people are in pain and need help.

That’s why Open Doors partners are working on the ground in some of the most dangerous places in the world to be a Christian. They are offering vital aid and support, running literacy courses, giving out micro-loans, helping churches prepare for persecution, offering trauma counselling, distributing Bibles and much more more…

It’s not perfect, and there’s still danger. We live in the now, but not yet, the in-between time. But, just as we know December 25th will eventually come around, just as we know that after the night comes day, we also know the promise will be fulfilled.

So, this advent, let’s embrace the wait, actively living out God’s future promise, sharing his love and light with new hope and passion.

ROSHAN’S SCHOOL IS A PLACE OF HEALING Tue, 21 Nov 2023 15:53:35 +0000 “I am very happy during Christmas,” says Roshan*. “At Christmas, I like to sing songs and dance to action songs!”

“I am very happy during Christmas,” says Roshan*. “At Christmas, I like to sing songs and dance to action songs!”

Roshan has a lot that he can celebrate now, but this seven-year-old boy has also faced – and continues to face – some really difficult experiences for someone of such a young age. Not long ago, the idea of a school and a Christian community seemed impossibly far away.

Rejected by her family

When Roshan’s mum, Devi, became a Christian, she was rejected by her family. She hadn’t expected it to happen and was devastated when her husband’s Hindu relatives made it clear that they wanted nothing more to do with her, because of her faith. Her family’s future had already been impacted by her husband leaving, and the rejection left them even more vulnerable.

“We are breaking all bonds with you,” her in-laws told her. “You bring shame on the family because of your faith in Christ! Do not call us even if something happens to you and your sons. We won’t help you. Let go of your faith or never come back!”

“They even wanted to take my children,” says Devi. “When I visited, they did not let me inside. In their eyes, I would make their house unholy because of my faith.”

Devi’s courageous decision to follow Jesus meant that she had lost the financial security she had and her livelihood. Her in-laws would no longer help her or Roshan or Aarush in an emergency, and she had forfeited the security she had for her little family’s future. It was hard, but Devi knew she’d made the right decision in following Jesus.

“I don’t have family anymore on this earth, only Jesus,” she says. “That is a sad reality. It’s hard to accept it, but I should. There’s no turning back. I accepted Christ not because of persecution or healing. But for my children and because of Christ’s grace, so that they will become better, strong, and good people.”

Finding other believers

Devi and her children looked for another home – though village after village refused to let them stay, because of their faith. They were continually rejected. But the right place was on the horizon. Eventually, they reached an isolated village situated amidst forest land and found out that the people living in this area were believers like them. They couldn’t contain their joy! The village has people of other faiths too, but there are many Christian families – Devi and Roshan were so happy to have found this community.

Finally, they were able to find a good place to start a new life. Though they did not have the financial resources to build a house, they built a small hut made of bamboo sticks. Devi knew that life was still hard – but it was their home. Devi managed to get a job cleaning, earning little to buy food for her children. “When we don’t get daily work, we Christians help each other,” she adds. It is a treasured community.

Roshan’s chance to go to school

God had even brighter plans for this family, though. When Open Doors local partners learned about the Christians in this village, most of them rejected by other communities, they immediately went to see how they could provide support.

“I received groceries like rice, potatoes, oil, sugar, soap, clothes for the children to wear, and blankets,” Devi says gratefully. Other persecuted believers in the community received the same vital items – but this was only the first step.

Open Doors partners saw that children from these Christian families desperately wanted to be treated just like other children. They wanted a brighter future. And so Open Doors partners started a ‘bridge school’ in this isolated, ostracised community. They are schools open to children from different faith backgrounds, aiming to ‘bridge the gap’ between persecuted Christians and other members of the community.

“Jesus loves me”

Devi says, “I am incredibly happy. Because of the bridge school, my children can learn, write and sing. I cannot afford to send them to regular school, but this school has given my boys a chance to study for free! I am happy that the bridge school not only focuses on education but also gives importance to spiritual nourishment.

“I am so grateful for our dear brothers and sisters who helped us in providing the bridge school,” she adds. “And to the teachers, who pour their hearts out to educate these little children, and let them know that Jesus Christ loves them.”

“My teacher told me that Jesus loves me, just as my mom says,” says Roshan. And what does he love most about the school? “I love to play football. Because of this school, I have friends who can play with me. I get to study in school, which I find interesting. My favourite part of being in school is I get to learn the alphabet.”

Christmas at the bridge school

There’s one time of year that is particularly special for Roshan: Christmas. “The best part about going to school is during Christmas when I get to sing and dance and celebrate Jesus’ birth with everyone,” he says.

“We teach kids the Christmas story,” his teacher adds. “All the parents were so interested, that they came to see the children’s plays, action songs and singing.”

Now that they live in a community of Christians, Christmas is also a joyful time when Roshan and his family can celebrate openly with others.

“It is during Christmas that we enjoy our time with other believers in the village,” says Devi happily. “All the families come together, sing carols, listen to the Word of God, cook together and have a wonderful time.”

Though resources are limited, the families celebrate Christmas in their own special way by distributing chocolates to children, singing carols and sharing the message of Christ.

Please continue to pray for and support courageous young believers like Roshan. With your help, they can have a brighter future. So many young children need the same support Roshan is getting, and more – so they can have education, community and fun today and a better start for the long-term. You can help ensure that the next generation of Christians is equipped to keep following Jesus despite the rejection and persecution they face.

*Names changed for security reasons

Ten verses to encourage you to pray… Mon, 02 Oct 2023 10:00:54 +0000 Prayer is a powerful tool that allows us to communicate with God, especially when we face overwhelming challenges. In this post, we’ll delve into 10 uplifting Bible verses about prayer, praying for the impossible, offering hope and strength in moments of doubt.

1. MATTHEW 21:22 

“And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” 


“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” 

3. 1 JOHN 5:14-15 

“And this is the confidence that we have toward Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of Him.” 

4. JAMES 5:16 

“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” 

5. MARK 11:24 

“Therefore, I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”* 

6. JEREMIAH 29:12-13 

“Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” 

7. ROMANS 8:26 

“Likewise, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” 


“Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.” 

9. PSALM 145:18 

“The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth.” 

10. 1 THESSALONIANS 5:16-18 

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 

These bible verses about prayer offer a beacon of hope for those facing situations that appear impossible to overcome. They remind us that with unwavering faith, persistent prayer, and reliance on God’s infinite power, what seems unattainable to us becomes achievable through His grace. 

When you’re confronted with challenges that test your limits, let these verses guide you in boldly presenting your requests to God and trusting that His answers will transcend what you thought was impossible.



In the 1980s, Open Doors launched a seven-year long global prayer campaign, where believers around the world committed to praying for the church in Communist Eastern Europe.

At the time, the prospect of the Soviet Union opening up to the gospel felt impossible. And yet, at the end of seven years, the Berlin Wall fell, and Eastern Europe was opened to the gospel. This incredible story gives us faith to pray big prayer for those countries that seem the most impossible to us.

A crowd of people standing in front of the Berlin Wall in 1974

On a visit to Berlin, an Open Doors member told his taxi driver that people in the West had prayed for years for the Berlin Wall to fall. The driver stopped the car and said with tears in his eyes: “On behalf of the Germans of Berlin, I want to thank you for your prayers; God answered your prayers!” He continues, “Now I am praying for North Korea. There are two Koreas, but God can make it one. I pray that He will open prison doors! He did it in Berlin and the wall came down. He can do it also in Korea!”


a black and white photo of Open Doors founder Brother Andrew sitting among a group of Christian believers in Hungary

The communist regime in Eastern Europe was based on rigid control. The church was isolated and under threat. An Open Doors worker in the region explains, “Back then, the Communists did not tolerate Christians at all. Christians felt totally forsaken. One pastor in Hungary said, ‘No one knows where I am, not even my family. Thank you for coming.’ Then he cried and cried. The police had closed his church and put him under house arrest.”


In 1982, Open Doors focused on the Soviet Union – delivering Bibles to tens of millions of believers who did not have a Bible. This was backed all by a global seven-year prayer campaign. 

And things began to change. From 1987, large numbers of religious prisoners were released from labour camps and prison cells. There in 1985 there were 340 imprisoned Christian believers. By March 1990 just 17.

In the same year, changed postal regulations allowed tens of thousands of New Testaments to be sent to believers and churches across the Soviet Union, and the gospel was spreading. 

a black and white photo of Open Doors founder Brother Andrew passing a Bible to a Christian from the Soviet Union

So, by November 1989, seven years after the prayer campaign began, it was clear that change was here. But the dismantling of the Berlin Wall, while the border guards looked on, was a dramatic sign that things would not be the same again. An Open Doors team member recalls that day: “My colleague and I got straight in the car and drove to Berlin to be part of that historic occasion. What a joy, what an answer to prayer!” 

Which region will be the next miracle story?