On Sunday, January 8, 1956 five young Christian men, part of an American missionary team that had flown into the rainforest of Ecuador to minister to the Auca/Huaorai Indians, were martyred with spears and machetes. News of the martyrdom swept across both Ecuador and the United States... and the large Christian world. Life magazine, famous for its photojournalism, ran a major story that was distributed among other media outlets. Books were written, organizations founded and libraries, and classrooms were named in honor of these five men. Jim Elliot’s diary entry became the meme for this horrific event: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.” On October 6, 2014 world news outlets reported that the Islamic terrorist organization, Bokko Haram, had burned down over 185 Christian churches in northern Nigerian towns. According to a news report 1631 Christians were martyred in the first 6 months of 2014 alone and hundreds more have died since. ISIS continues its objective to annihilate Christianity; they murder Christians and destroy churches and artifacts that relate to Jesus. And yet the world response to the martyrdom of these believers was met with a collective shrug.
May we, as part of the worldwide church, fulfill our obligationtorespond by practicing what Scriptures mandate: “Remember the prisoners as if chained with them - those who are mistreated - since you yourselves are in the body also.” (Hebrews 13:3). May we ask ourselves the question: What will be my response to persecution for my faith? And how will I pray for those who have suffered loss?