Like so many young people growing up in Central Asia, Ulzhan* was headed for destruction. Throughout the former Soviet countries, increasing numbers of youth are turning to alcohol and drugs. Ulzhan needed larger and larger quantities of alcohol and drugs to fill the hole in his soul. When Jesus came into his life through the church, everything changed. Life became meaningful. Today, he serves God in often very stressful circumstances in Central Asia. Open Doors recently spoke to the now underground church leader at a secret location. In this rare interview, Ulzhan reveals how God grabbed hold of his heart, how he fiercely prayed for his Muslim parents, and how God uses persecution to grow His Church.
“My name is Armin and my Christian name is Paul. I am an Iranian person and I need your help!”
This was the first line of a shocking message S4C received from an Iranian man who suffers greatly because of his Christian faith. He wrote to us through social media and after we exchanged several messages with him and the people who helped him to convert to Christianity we decided to publish his story. We have edited his messages, changed his name and altered some elements of the story so that he cannot be identified as he is in danger of being arrested, imprisoned and tortured for his Christian faith. Here is Armin Paul’s message to S4C, and the world.
The Czech aid worker who spent 14 ½ months behind bars in Sudan has said he counted his experience a “privilege” because it enabled him to share his Christian faith with Sudanese prisoners, and praised the country’s “very courageous” Christian minority. Petr Jašek also told World Watch Monitor that two Sudanese Christians who were arrested days after him have been resettled in the US, along with their families, since their release in May 2017. A third has been released and remains in Sudan.
On Sunday, Croatia’s football team will play France in the championship game of the 2018 World Cup, after running victoriously through a string of football powerhouses in the tournament. Here’s one reason Catholics might be rooting for the small Central European country: Croatia is a deeply Catholic country, and the coach of its national team, Zlatko Dalic, is a man of sincere faith.