An Appeal for Prayer
Oppression of believers is experienced in many areas around the world and so we appeal to our Heavenly Father on their behalf and for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with a Day of Prayer on Sunday, April 11, 2021
From time-to-time representatives of the three CBMs; Asia-Pacific CBM, CBM of the Americas and CBM (UK) meet to discuss topics of mutual interest. At a recent “Zoom” conference two issues of concern arose which we would like to share with the brotherhood more widely.
Oppression of New and Young-in-the-Faith Converts
We are concerned that in some parts of the world it is difficult for those young in the faith to follow the Lord Jesus in the way he asked. This occurs particularly in parts of Europe, and in the Far East, where refugee brothers and sisters may be in fear of their lives, lest they be sent back to their homeland and what may happen as a consequence.
This is a very real threat for large numbers. Their income is cut off, they have their activities monitored by secret police, they are fearful about attending Breaking of Bread meetings either in person or on line in case they are being watched. Deportation could well mean that they will be dealt with very harshly on their return home. Some could lose their lives because of their new-found faith.
This threat is not confined to refugees. In some parts of the world, it is dangerous to convert to Christianity in any form. Oppression by the state is a real and constant threat. Again, simply being at a Breaking of Bread meeting may endanger lives.
The three CBMs are very aware of many of the dangers and are doing all they can to send welfare through safe channels.
Whilst we have a natural feeling that we should help by getting brothers and sisters out of such countries, this is not easy, and dealing with the necessary paperwork can put lives in danger. If a few were able to leave the lives of those who remain could be in more danger than before. Even sending money can bring our brothers and sisters to the notice of hostile authorities, if they are thought to have connections with unfriendly states.
The three CBMs are very aware of many of the dangers and are doing all they can to send welfare, where this is appropriate, through safe channels. Ultimately such situations can only be resolved by the coming of the Lord.
It is however incumbent on us all to bring such issues before our Heavenly Father in prayer, and the CBMs have decided that they will join together in prayer on Sunday, April 11th, 2021, to remember our persecuted brothers and sisters and to pray for the coming of our Lord.
We invite brothers and sisters around the world to join us in this. Further details may be had from the secretaries of any of the CBM organizations. While we are aware that brothers and sisters are extremely generous, we would ask that you do not send money directly to any mission areas. However, if you feel moved to do so, please forward it through one of the CBM organizations.
Social Media Appeals
During the recent pandemic many of us have benefitted from the use of internet technology for meeting together, but it has also brought an increase in the incidence of bogus appeals for help in mission areas. All the CBMs have robust and sensitive welfare systems in place, working usually through a local committee and the linkman. They try to provide a careful oversight of what is going on.
While it is always possible that such systems make mistakes, we are confident that they are rare, and when brought to the attention of the linkman are remedied speedily. Some less scrupulous brothers and sisters have been using Social Media to seek help which is totally unjustified. They may have asked their local welfare committee for help and been turned down, or perhaps the linkman has felt a claim inappropriate, so they appeal to individuals.
Many of these appeals can only be described as fraud, and to support them actually uses funds which would be much better spent on real cases of illness and hardship. It is often those who are already in a better situation than the average for the country who have the means to make such appeals.
All the CBMs have robust and sensitive welfare systems in place, working usually through a local committee and the linkman.
To respond is to encourage the recipients in action which is unhelpful to their eternal salvation, and puts temptation in the way of those who are not able to handle it. If you should receive a request from a brother, sister or contact in a CBM territory, please consult the linkman before responding, other than the briefest of acknowledgments.
The linkman will either know the person concerned or be able to find out quickly from local brethren exactly what the situation is, and how best to respond if action is needed. Please do not, under any circumstances, send money. To do so encourages fraud by the recipient and also by those who see the results of dishonest actions.
Day of Prayer on Sunday, April 11, 2021
Your brethren of the CBM’s have left open to your choice practical aspects of participation in this appeal. You may choose private, personal prayer. Arranging brothers may include participation within a scheduled meeting of the ecclesia, such as the Memorial Meeting, dedicating time for prayer and reflection.
Oppression of believers is experienced in many areas around the world; however, you may choose to focus on one or two areas where conditions are especially harsh and uncertain. Enquiries of the CBM’s on this aspect are welcomed.
Common to all our prayers: Our appeal to our Heavenly Father on their behalf and for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.