When Randy wrote Safely Home, no one knew how readers would respond—especially considering the topics of persecution and martyrdom that the novel deals with are anything but light and superficial. Randy’s goal, he explains, was to tell a compelling story which fueled the reader’s imagination, and also served the purpose of Proverbs 31:8-9, speaking up for those who cannot speak for themselves.
But since the book’s publication, our ministry has been blessed by the many positive responses from readers sharing how the story has impacted their lives. Here’s just one:
I must tell you that your book Safely Home is one of my all-time favorites. It is one of those books that seems to knock your world off kilter, then you come to the realization that it was just knocked straight. Understanding what persecution really means to the persecuted—and what kind of lives we should be living—this is huge! —W.D.L.
We believe the novel plays an important role in educating believers and Christian leaders about the reality of the persecuted church—which is often no easy task, says Tami Yeager, EPM’s bookkeeper and also an area coordinator for Voice of The Martyrs (VOM).
“I’ve noticed from my work with VOM that often people would rather hear about anything other than persecution,” Tami observed. “This is true in many churches as well. Barna Research group has some interesting information on this. Their statistics show the following—52 percent of American pastors don’t want to talk about persecution and have no plans to do so, while 74 percent of churchgoers do want to hear about the persecuted church.”
Writing in response to the new statistics, Dr. Carl Moeller, president of Open Doors USA, says, “The Barna poll found that while pastors know about Christians around the world who suffer because of their faith, a number of them believe the message of the persecuted church is not one their congregation wants to hear.”
He continues, “In my stops for Open Doors throughout the United States, however, I've found the opposite to be true. Audiences' response to the message of the persecuted church has been very positive. Christians want to know what's going on with their brothers and sisters around the world. They're hungry for more information. Far from depressing, the narratives of the persecuted hold amazing courage, boldness, strength and perseverance amid difficult, often impossible circumstances.”
Reading and hearing about persecuted believers can challenge our lukewarm faith (which is perhaps why we’re often tempted to avoid hearing them). They remind us that following Christ isn’t about what feels good and is comfortable and easy, but about being sold out to Christ no matter the cost.
Let’s seek to obey what Scripture tells us in Hebrews 13:3: “Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body.”
Eternal Perspective Ministries
If you’re interested in praying for and helping the persecuted church, EPM highly recommends Open Doors U.S.
Photo credit: Open Doors USA
Stephanie Anderson is the communications and graphics specialist at Eternal Perspective Ministries.