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Praying for Persecuted Christians in the Middle East

Air Date 11/03/2017

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Tom Doyle and his wife, JoAnn, tell inspiring stories of bold Christians in the Middle East who have been courageously sharing their faith despite the constant risk of persecution and death. Our guests remind listeners of the need to pray for persecuted Christians in the Middle East and around the world.

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Episode Transcript

Opening:

Excerpt:

Tom Doyle:Terrorism is real. There is no question. You can look at that trail of blood every night on the news and it seems to almost always go back to the religion of Islam, so it is hard. But yet, we have to offset that with Jesus has called us to go to all nations and make disciples; not just the safe ones… Not just the easy ones. And here’s what we’re finding: Muslims, when they turn to faith in Christ, are on fire.

End of Excerpt

John Fuller: Hm. And that is a comment from Tom Doyle. He has been a missionary to the Middle East for many, many years. And he and his wife JoAnn are with us today to talk about that on Focus on the Family. Your host is Focus president and author Jim Daly. And I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: John, terrorism is a harsh reality in our world today and New York City is the latest example of violent and senseless attacks that we in the West are beginning to experience. But for Christians living in the Middle East, this is an everyday occurrence and, to be honest, it’s really hard for us to comprehend that—to have that kind of danger around us all the time. It seems like evil has been unleashed around the world and that’s why we want to address this topic today and encourage all of us as believers to pray about these issues and pray specifically for fellow Christians like the Doyles who are in very dangerous areas engaging people and leading them to Christ. That’s the great news! That people, even in this dangerous environment, are finding the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior.

John: Yeah, and yet, for many of our listeners, words like terrorism and persecution frighten us. We don’t understand why things happen as they do. We care about believers who are struggling with this but we’re also fearful and we don’t know what to do. What can we do to really impact any of this?

Jim: Hey, John, here’s a great idea. And I know - folks, I understand that it’s way over there, and I’ve got 13 things to do right now. I’d encourage you to just sit back for a minute, grab a cup of tea, or coffee, or whatever and listen to this because this is life-changing stuff that’s going on.And I think it’s important for you not only to hear it but to share it with your friends. Let people know what, uh, we’re about to share - the stories of salvation. Yes, Muslims coming to Christ. It’s happening in unprecedented numbers right now.

And so again, in the midst of a dark cloud, there is a beautiful silver lining. It’s called the move of God, and we’re going to talk about it today. One for us here at Focus is a story of our own Sami Yacoub - Focus on the Family Egypt. That team is offering hope to hurting families in Egypt and that surrounding area. We’ll have a special report on our website where you could learn more details about the effort there.

And secondly, we need reminders to pray for these people. As you walk away from the program today, this is what we want to accomplish. November 5th is the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church and I think it would be great for all of us to participate in that.

Body:

Jim: I’m so glad to have Tomand JoAnn Doyle back with us. Uh, Tom, you’ve been here a number of times. JoAnn, this is your first time.

JoAnn Doyle: Yes.

Jim: So let me say welcome to you.

JoAnn: Oh, thank you.

Jim: And to you, too, Tom.

Tom: It’s great to be here. Thank you.

Jim: It’s so good to have you here. Seventeen years ago, you were pastoring a church right here in Monument...

Tom: Yeah.

Jim: ...Up the street. A number of our staff went to your church, and they were really disappointed that you resigned... (Laughter) And left that church. So how does that happen? I mean, how are you a pastor in a nice comfortable, woody mountain area called Monument, Colorado-- who wouldn’t want to live there and pastor a church - and then what? Did you have a dream and God said, go to the Middle East?

Tom: Yeah, pretty much, actually. And really, I - God had been working in our hearts. We’d been going to Israel and doing Bible tours, been in Jordan and loved it, kind of started to fall for the people there, see past the history and start to kind of understand the culture and meet the people. And in 2001, first Sunday in June, I preached a sermon at Tri-Lakes. And afterwards - and this doesn’t happen to me a lot - I saw a ticker tape go by that said, this is your last sermon at Tri-Lakes Chapel.

Jim: Are you serious?

Tom: This is your last sermon.

Jim: OK, that’s pretty divine intervention.

Tom: It is. And so I think God was trying to get my attention. (Laughter) I was stubborn. I grabbed JoAnn afterwards and said, OK, I had this weird experience. And I relayed it to her. What do you think that is? And she said, where do you think God would be calling us? And I said, I think Israel and the Middle East. She said, doing what? I think missionary. And she said, God’s been speaking to me for the last few months about that. And I knew if it was really from him, we both would get it together...

Jim: Together.

JoAnn: Right.

Tom: Further proof, guys, that our wives are always ahead of us spiritually, right? (LAUGHTER)

Jim: Shh, we’re not supposed to admit that!

Tom: We’re trying to catch up. (Laughter) But we went the next day and talked to the elders about we feel like God’s calling us away.

Jim: Wow.

Tom: And we did. So…you know, I talked to 10 pastors. Five said do it. Five said, you’re nuts. And - but we knew God was calling us. Couple months later, 9/11 happened.

Jim: Yeah. I mean, and again, what an amazing story that is in and of itself.The overall theme of your bookStanding In The Fire, is about courage, as I read it and we prepped for the discussion today. You share a lot of stories about the boldness of Christians living in the Middle East. And I’ve heard those, as well, through the office there in Egypt - the Focus office.So many good things are happening. Isn’t it just like the Lord, when we’re full of fear and things seem out of control, and we don’t know where God is, he’s, like, yelling from the rooftop, here I am!

Tom: That’s right.

Jim: Look what’s happening! Give us a quick 40,000-foot overview of what you see the Spirit of God doing in the Middle East. And then we can drill into some of the specific stories that you have in the book.

Tom: You bet. I mean, right now, the Middle East, even though it’s on fire with the Islamic State still kicking and causing problems - Christian persecution at an all-time high - it is the fastest growing region for the gospel right now. More people are coming...

Jim: People have to say, what?!

Tom: Yeah.

Jim: Say that again.

JoAnn: I know, right?

John: Yeah.

Tom: You would think this is the worst place in the world to become a believer. But actually, in the places where they’re persecuted, it’s actually the best place.

Jim: What’s the lesson we need to learn from that, Tom?

Tom: And I think people go deeper when there’s more persecution. Whenever there is a harvest, we’re always going to see persecution. They’re like identical twins. They just grow together.

And so more Muslims are coming to faith in Jesus today than ever before. The Southern Baptist did surveys and said the Middle East - fastest growing church per capita in the world - most persecuted church per capita in the world, but fastest growing.

Jim: It’s an amazing insight. And that, right there, is a reason to pray just for the Spirit of God. We talk about what’s happening in the spiritual realm and try to understand...

Tom: Yeah.

Jim: ...That domain. It’s hard. But when you see it playing out by dreams - people are coming to the Lord through dreams. And, you know, go to this corner, go to this building, someone will meet you with the Bible. Those kind of testimonies are all happening, aren’t they?

Tom: Yes, yes. I mean, our sons have joined us - Tommy and Josh. And on their first mission trip together, they were in the Bedouin Desert in Israel reaching out to Bedouins, and a woman came up - Muslim woman - and through a translator said, why are you here? And they said, well, we’re here to meet the Bedouins. We had this set up. She goes, no, why are you here? Both of you were in my dream last night. (Laughter) And you told me you had good news…for me.

Jim: Oh, my goodness.

Tom: What is that good news? So I mean, they’re missionaries, Jim…

Jim: This is...

Tom: If they blow this, they should be fired.

Jim: Right! That’s a softball, isn’t it?

Tom: That doesn’t get any easier.

Jim: But isn’t it wonderful to see our faith moving like that? And it’s hard for us in the West to even comprehend that. I know some of you right now are thinking these people are crazy...

Tom: Yeah.

Jim: ...Tom and JoAnn.

Tom: Yeah.

Jim: I mean, that you even share that story. It can’t be real, Tom.

Tom: It’s just so hard to believe. But you know what? Here’s the difference between the West and the Middle East. In the West, we look for reason.

Jim: That’s Greek.

Tom: In the Middle East, they look for revelation.

JoAnn: Exactly, that’s Greek.

Tom: They’re looking for revelation.

Jim: Yeah.

Tom: They’re wanting to connect with God. They’re on the wrong path, but they’re trying to connect with God.

Jim: That’s interesting. So it’s just turning them in a - in the right direction.

Tom: It really is.

Jim: Let me ask you - an analogy used in the book that I thought was great was this idea of lions and fear.

Tom: Yeah.

Jim: I don’t think many people - I didn’t know this. But describe the lion and the fear concept.

Tom: Yeah, it is interesting. So if a zebra kind of wanders off from the flock, and then all of a sudden, hears lions roaring, the typical response is to run away from the roar. But that’s exactly the opposite of what you should do. Because the male lions are the ones that emit that ear-splitting roar, but they’re not the ones that do the work. It’s the women. So...

Jim: Meaning the hunting.

Tom: The hunting. So the lionesses are the ones waiting. So they hear - he hears that, and he turns and runs and runs right into the pack of lionesses. They’re the ones that kill him.And he should have run actually into the roar, instead of away from it...

Jim: Wow.

Tom: ...And would have survived. Same way in the Christian faith. Our tendency is to run away. But God’s calling us - these are dangerous times - to run into the roar. That’s where he’s working.That’s removing power from...

Jim: You know, the other thing I like about that, at a human level, is, so often, we react out of our flesh. It’s human to do that - even believers. You know, and you can fill in the example or what it was that stressed you out or caused you to react out of your flesh.

But I love that idea. It’s almost instinctive for us to respond out of our flesh...

Tom: That’s right.

Jim: ...Because we’re in this world.

Tom: Yeah.

Jim: But what God is saying is no, be rooted in me, in my fruit, in my spirit, and you’ll respond differently, which is what you’re saying - run toward the enemy...

Tom: Exactly.

Jim: ...Run into the enemy. Don’t run away from the enemy, and I’ll be with you.

Tom: That’s right. And over 200 times in the Bible, it tells us, do not fear. Don’t be afraid.

Jim: Why do we fear so much though...

Tom: Yeah.

Jim: ...In this culture, Tom and JoAnn? I’m going to get you in here JoAnn. Because we fear a lot in...

Tom: Yeah.

Jim: ...Our culture. We’re very fearful of...

Tom: Yeah.

Jim: ...Everything. And the irony is it sends such a defeating message...

Tom: It is.

Jim: ...To those looking at us.

Tom: Yes.

Jim: I’ve even had people that oppose what we believe, whether it’s gay activists or abortion people, say, why are you guys so fearful? And I’m saying, I don’t feel fearful...

Tom: Yeah.

Jim: ...You know. But they say, just generally, why are you so fearful? It’s a fair criticism, I think.

Tom: Yup. Yeah.

Jim: You know, we should be bolder. And we should have greater confidence in what God is doing.

Tom: Absolutely. We need to shift, as believers. We need to stop taking our worldview from the news.

Jim: Yes.

Tom: We need to take it from the Bible. We need to get connected to good ministries, like Sami. You mentioned Sami. Who doesn’t know Sami in Egypt?

Jim: Yeah.

Tom: He’s all over the place.

Jim: And you’ve met him.

Tom: Absolutely - good friend.And we know this - the physical war on the ground is just a reflection of the spiritual war raging in the heavenlies. That’s where the real battlefield is. That’s what’s happening in the Middle East. Satan does not like that Muslims, and Jews for that matter, are coming to faith in Christ in record numbers. He wants to stop it. But the persecution doesn’t stop the church. It actually accelerates the growth.

Jim: Yeah. JoAnn, let me ask you that - that persecution that Tom’s referring to against Christians in the Middle East, what does that teach us about Godly courage in the face of these fears? I mean...?

JoAnn: One of the things - the first verse I think of is that perfect love casts out all fear, right? And who is...

Jim: That’s right.

JoAnn: ...Love? Is - God is love. And so we are followers of Christ, we need to be grounded and rooted in Him, not in the circumstances around us. And that is one of the things we really do see with people in the Middle East - is they take God’s word literally. We try to do that here in the West. But, boy, they are so much better about that in the Middle East. And so they really do take God at His word and don’t live in fear, but they trust Him - not looking at their circumstances but looking at getting the gospel out to those who need to hear it.

Jim: And it’s so exciting. OK, let me just warn everybody. Strap your seat belt on because you’re going to be - your minds are going to be blowing with some of the testimonies... (Laughter)

Tom: Yeah.

Jim: ...Around the corner here. Tom, let’s start with Osama - someone that you’ve encountered. Describe that story. You talk about it inStanding In The Fire.

Tom: Yeah.

Jim: Which really you’re using as the metaphor of the Old Testament, right?

Tom: Yes.

Jim: Meshach.

Tom: Yes.

John: Yeah, this reads like a novel, by the way. You read - you start reading this book, and it’s like I got to keep paging - turning the pages.

Jim: So give me the theme. Why - why...

Tom: Yeah.

Jim: ...Standing in the...

Tom: Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego standing in the fire, bold, willing to go in if God’s going to save us, but he may not. And they go in. And then, of course, Nebuchadnezzar looks in. “Wait a minute, I thought there was three. There’s four.” And they realized, if they were going to survive, there’s no earthly way they could explain it other than God. There’s no way.

And then King James says the Son of God in there - we believe probably it was Jesus in there with them. And that’s what believers in the Middle East that maybe come out of a Muslim background talk about. We’re in the fire, but we feel Jesus close to us. We feel him very close. And another thing, on top of that, Jim, talking to one of our Syrian leaders recently, I said, you know, Farid, I never see you watch the news. Wherever we’re together - Syria, Lebanon, wherever - you’re never watching the news. You don’t - and there’s a lot happening in your country. And he said, there’s a reason for that. And I said, why’s that? And he goes, because it makes us go crazy.(Laughter) And then we’re paralyzed...

Jim: OK, Tom...

Tom: ...And you don’t want to do anything.

Jim: ...Let’s stop... (Laughter) Let’s stop there now! This analogy is not meant for us in America.

Tom: Yes.

Jim: But let’s go through some of the stories. We’re going to get to Pastor Farid in a moment.

Tom: Yeah...

Jim: But let’s start with...

Tom: Osama.

Jim: ...Osama, as I mentioned a moment ago. What’s the story there? What did God do in this person’s life?

Tom: So Osama Al-Jihadi (ph) is a major leader in Jabhat al-Nusra, which would be considered the number two terrorist group in Iraq. They’re probably going to supplant, uh, ISIS now that they’re - seem to be waning and going down. But he’s a major leader. His cousin Jamal (ph) is also in Jabhat al-Nusra but comes to faith in Christ. Well, you think the first thing you would do - get out of the terrorist group. But he loves his cousin so much, he stays. He wants to reach this major leader in this terrorist group. Well...

Jim: That’s boldness.

Tom: ...It really takes a twist in that, one night, his house gets - Osama’s house gets hit by a rocket. And he goes into a coma. They rush him to the hospital. They think most certainly he’s dead. He’s in a coma. And Jamal never got to the point where he told him about Jesus. He hinted. He tried to go in the side door, the back door. He never boldly proclaimed it.

And so while he’s in there, Jamal is in there reading the Bible to his cousin in the coma. He would look around and make sure no Muslim doctors or nurses - he’d read the Bible. He’d just read the Bible. Day after day, he would do that. Well, weeks later, Osama comes out of the coma. And the family’s there. And he’s looking around and saying hello to everybody. And then he says to Jamal, those are the most beautiful words I’ve ever heard. What was that that you were reading? He didn’t know that somehow...

Jim: He was listening.

Tom: ...He was cognizant.

Jim: Yeah.

Tom: It ends up - Osama starts reading the Bible privately. And he comes to faith in Christ.

Now, they know, as a major leader in this terrorist group, that he’s going to show up for meetings. He’s going to be there. He goes AWOL and stops showing up. And they catch him. And they persecute - this is after a couple of months. They persecute him for 30 days. And finally - he’s only been a believer a few months - they say, here’s your choice. Recant, give up this Christianity stuff, come back to Islam, everything will be fine.

If not, we kill you tomorrow. And he faces a firing squad the next day. He says this - I can’t deny Jesus in my heart. I can’t deny him in my mind even. I can’t deny him with my lips. One man that respected him said, just say the words. They’ll let you go. And he said, look what Jesus did on the cross for me. I can’t deny him with my lips. He faced a firing squad the next day. And I’ll give a spoiler alert here. He lives. God miraculously intervened and Osama Al-Jihadi is still in Syria, memorizing parts of the Bible, reaching out to Muslims covertly. God is using his life - a former major terrorist leader.

John: That is such a powerful story, Tom. And the book by Tom Doyle isStanding in the Fire. Get a copy of that, full of stories like Osama’s. It’s going to inspire your faith. We’ve got the book and a CD or download of our conversation at focusonthefamily.com/radio. And while you’re there, be sure to look for the special report about God’s movement through the Focus on the Family offices in Egypt.

Jim: What I love about these stories, Tom and JoAnn, is just the act of God. I mean, again, the western mindset is the watchmaker. You know…

Tom: Sure.

Jim: …He’s wound up the watch, and he’s gone now. But He’s alive and active. We...

JoAnn: So intimate.

Jim: ...Just tend not to see it. And in the Middle East, it’s going.

Tom: Yeah.

Jim: This is old and new testament stories coming around.

Tom: That’s right.

Jim: And, uh, what about Sunni - what happened with her?

Tom: Well, you know what? And I’ll set it up for JoAnn. And the amazing thing is we see Jesus moving today like he did in the New Testament.

Jim: Right.

Tom: Isn’t that interesting how he went to the marginalized? Nobody wants to go to lepers. Jesus did. You know, the people outside of the country, they’re Gentiles. Jesus goes to them. But then here’s the chapter that we calledThe Muslim Woman At The Well. And her name is Sunni. And, JoAnn, you know her well, too. Can you...

JoAnn: Yes.

Tom: ...Tell that?

JoAnn: Man, I wish Sunni could be sitting here with us. You would fall in love with her. She has got the joy of the Lord all over her face.

Jim: I see a photo.

JoAnn: Comes out of her smile.

Jim: Wow.

JoAnn: Yeah, comes out in her smile. But that is not how she started out.

Jim: Yeah.

JoAnn: You know, raised in a Muslim family, married young by her parents - married four different times. The first time she was married, that husband just wanted her to have a child for him. But she wasn’t able to have a baby. She kept having miscarriages, so he divorces her.And, you know, in Islamic culture, three times you say, I divorce you, and that’s it. You’re divorced. So then her parents marry her to a second man. And this man just beats her constantly. And he’s like 25 years older than she is.

Jim: She’s in her early 20s, right?

JoAnn: She’s in her early 20s. And so then she’s divorced a second time. Third time, she marries someone. And this one treats her as - she’s a second wife. And he treats her just as a slave. I want you to take care of me and my first wife.

Then she marries a last time, the fourth time, and this man she thinks he’s finally going to take care of her and love her, which is what she’s longing for. And, you know, what he does? He tries to sell her into prostitution.

John: Hm.

JoAnn: Finally, she divorces that fourth man, and she is fed up and she is ready to end her life. She is struggling with such depression, but that’s when Jesus enters the picture. And that’s when the first time she hears the gospel that there is a God that loves her-- not just the world, but specifically her, Sunni, a Muslim woman.

So through a series of events, she comes to faith in Christ, and she learns that as it says in scripture that we become the bride of Christ. Remember this is a woman that’s been married four times, divorced four times. And now...

Jim: It’s like the woman at the well.

JoAnn: Exactly.

Jim: Seriously.

JoAnn: That’s what she finally calls herself after she comes to faith in Christ. “I’m like the woman at the well. I’m married to the best man ever, to Jesus.” (Laughter) And so to the point, when I met her, she - oh, my goodness - she was getting baptized.

She - and that’s a line in the sand for Muslims. When they’re willing to say I want to be baptized, I want to be, you know, buried in Christ and risen in Christ. That’s a huge thing. And so that day, she was baptized, she said I am changing my name. I’m a new woman, and my name now is not Sunni. But my name is Salaam, which means peace because for the first time in my life I have peace within me. Not just in my circumstances, but inside my heart.

Jim: It’s so exciting. All right. Pastor Farid.

JoAnn: Yes, Farid.

Tom: Oh.

Jim: Uh,but these are all good inputs. I appreciate it. What was Pastor Farid’s story?

Tom: Pastor Farid probably gets more death threats than we get mail. He called me once from Syria and said I have 30 death threats on my life, and I said 30, is - are you just saying that figuratively? Said well, I know there’s at least 30. I said, how do you know? And he said well, they were spray painted and numbered on the front of my house.

This is how we’re going to kill you. Number one, this is what we’re going to do to your wife. It’s what we’ll do to your family. That’s how he lives. He’s so effective, and God is using him to reach Sunni Muslims, Druze, Alawites. God has given him an amazing team. So it ends up that there’s one man that’s been threatening him for five years - his name is Rashid. He sends him texts, he sends him emails - well for Farid’s partner, Joseph, that drives with him all over Syria says, you actually have his name in your phone just so you can get his threats? Why don’t you just delete him?And he said no, it just reminds me to pray for Rashid every day. I figured nobody else will. So I’ll pray for him.

(Laughter) So in typical Arab fashion, at one point the threats and I’m gonna kill you are getting so hot and heavy, he decides to do something that we can’t understand in the West. But this is what happens in the Middle East. He goes to Rashid’s house.

Jim: That’s the lion thing, right?

JoAnn: Exactly.

Jim: That’s right into the roar!

Tom: You go - you don’t run away. He goes there, and he talks to him. And Rashid is very nice to him and all this ends. And I knew your family when you were a kid, and this is over and all of that. But Farid does something very ingenious. As he’s getting ready to leave, he says I have a gift for your family.

Which if I give a gift to your family in the Middle East, you can’t turn it down. If I give you one, you can say no thanks. This is for your family, and he reaches in his pocket and hands him a Bible.

Jim: (Laughing) Oh, man!

Tom: Well, Rashid picks it up with two fingers, like it’s radioactive material, and just, like, sets it on a shelf and just glares at him. Awkward ending to the conversation, and then they leave.

Jim: Wow.

Tom: Well, some weeks later it ends up that Rashid is right in the midst of a bombing raid in Homs, Syria, which is a city that’s 80 percent destroyed. Now it looks like Dresden, Germany or Berlin after World War 2.He’s right in the middle of it. He’s going to stay there with his family. He’s reading the Quran, and he says I’m not getting any comfort from the Quran in his mind. He looks over and sees that Bible. He walks over and picks it up. It’s 7 o’clock at night. He told Farid later the next time, I looked up it was 6 a.m. in the morning.

John: Hm.

Tom: He’d read the Bible the entire night, and he was falling in love with Jesus. God was doing something in his heart, and it ended up that Farid did lead him to faith in Christ. It was dramatic how it happened. But, you know, how God can use anything for his glory. This man took great pains to write notes of creatively how he was going to kill them. You know what his gift is? You know what he does now? He’s writing worship songs for the church in Syria.

Jim: Man…

Tom: He has a house church, and he wrote a letter to negate all the promises, all the threads to Farid and asked that he would forgive him. A dear brother in Christ that Jesus has redeemed.

Jim: It’s an amazing story.

Tom: It really is.

Jim: I just - that just puts the biggest grin on my face. (Laughter) I mean, because this is it. It does deal with life and death. These are big consequences. But there is so much more ahead of us as believers, right?

Tom: So true.

Jim: This life. This is our pre-life.

Tom: That’s true.

Jim: The real life is coming.

Tom: That’s right.

Jim: Life eternal. And Tom, you have done a wonderful job packing your bookStanding in the Firewith wonderful, wonderful examples of what God is doing and thanks for that faithful scribing, like, uh, Luke, right? Sent on a mission to write down this thing about Jesus, and you’re kind of....

Tom: Oh, God’s doing....

Jim: You’re kind of doing the same thing. And folks this is a book you should have. I’m going to have my boys read it because I think it will bolster their faith because you know what if we’re honest, in the West, we’re just not seeing the Lord move in quite this way and a lot of it’s probably due to our lack of boldness when you get right to it and the lack of persecution. We’re kind of comfy, right? Even with some of the stuff we have to deal with.

But I’m telling you for a gift of any amount, to help us, to help Sami in the Middle East with his activities, send a gift and we’ll say thank you by sending you a copy of Tom’s book,Standing in the Fire. And I hope you will say I’m willing, I’m going to stand in the fire wherever that fire might be.

John: Hm.Well, you’ll be encouraged when you donate and get a copy ofStanding in the Fireby Tom Doyle. And just call 800-A -FAMILY. 800-232-6459 or online you can donate and get the book and a CD or download of our conversation at focusonthefamily.com/radio.

Jim: John, in addition, in just a couple of days over the weekend, November 5th, is International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. It’s one of the reasons we’re airing this broadcast to alert you.

And Tom, how can we - and JoAnn- how can we pray for you and what you’re doing in the Middle East and how can we more broadly pray for the work of God in that area of the world?

Tom: Well, thank you. We really feel like God’s called us to kind of sound the alarm in the western church that more Muslims and more Jews are coming to faith in Christ than ever before. Now is our time. Let’s not blow this opportunity.

We have a great opportunity especially in America where we used to pray for the 1040 window out there, but they’re moving here. You want to see the 1040 window? Just look out your window. We used to say this at our ministry all the time, the Muslims are Coming. The Muslims are Coming. The Muslims are here, and they’re not leaving. So let’s reach out to them. So pray that the American church wakes up to that. And then secondly, during this week of prayer for the persecuted church, we have a Facebook site 8thirty8 - number 8 – thirty spelled out and then 8. We set our watches and phones at 8:38 p.m. every night.When that hits, when the bell goes off, we stop and pray for those imprisoned, persecution and danger.

Jim: That’s good.

Tom: And so we’re writing letters this year and taking them to North Korean Christians that have escaped from North Korea. They’re in South Korea. They’re learning to share their faith. We’re working with Voice of the Martyrs, and we’re doing a letter-writing campaign. So if you want something to do, write a letter to a persecuted believer. We will hand deliver it to them. In Korea, they’re getting training to share with their North Korean families and many of them are scattered in China, South Korea - many of them are back in North Korea.

Number one most persecuted country in the world for believers 14 years straight. So, reach out to a North Korean that’s become a believer that needs an arm around them from a believer in the West.

Jim: Man, I’m just amazed. You are running right into the lion’s roar. So we’ll make links to all those things. And thanks for being with us.

Tom: Thank you. It’s an honor.

JoAnn: It’s been a joy.

Closing:

John: And thank you for listening today on Focus on the Family. We’re gonna have more information about Tom and Joann’s ministry at focusonthefamily.com/radio or just call us and we’ll give you details. 800-A-FAMILY. We hope you have a great weekend with your family and that you’ll join us again on Monday for an important update about religious freedom in today’s intolerant culture.

Teaser:

Kelly Shackelford: The Ninth Circuit opinion said that a coach is not ever allowed to pray if anyone can see them.

End of Teaser

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Guest

Tom and JoAnn Doyle

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After 20 years of pastoral ministry, Tom Doyle and his wife, JoAnn, are now serving as full-time missionaries to the Middle East. They lead a new ministry called Uncharted, where they focus on helping persecuted Christians, refugees, millennials and women. Tom has authored eight books including Killing Christians and the best-seller, Dreams and Visions. The Doyles reside in Frisco, Texas, and have six children and four grandchildren. Learn more about the Doyles and their ministry by visiting their Facebook page.