But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, – Galatians 5:22
Day 19: Love
Iran – When Takoosh married pastor Haik Hovsepian, she was thrilled that she would spend her life in the service of God. She knew it would not be easy in a country where 98% of the people are Muslim, are forbidden to go to church and where evangelism among them is strictly prohibited. Although Takoosh was fearful, Haik told her, “We don’t have to be afraid. We must trust in God.” Haik loved people, even his Muslim neighbors who were welcomed in the church, and was willing to go to the utmost for his faith and for the church.
But, on that fateful night in 1994 Takoosh knew that something terrible had happened when Haik did not return from an errand. Upon learning that four Iranian pastors had been found murdered because they refused to sign an official declaration that they would not evangelize among Muslims, Takoosh knew that Haik had been killed.
“I only had hatred in my heart; hatred for my enemies who had murdered my husband,” recalls Takoosh. “I prayed with my lips, ‘God, give me the strength to forgive,’ but before I prayed, in my mind I saw myself throwing mud at them.
“One day a miracle happened as God gave me the strength to pray with my heart for those who had murdered my husband. I was no longer praying only with my lips, but from the depths of my heart. God answered this prayer as I learned not only to trust but to lean on Him as I began to forgive my enemies.”
Over the month of August, Open Doors ministry has a special mission they are encouraging all to partake in. “During the month of Ramadan, from August 1-30, 2011, Open Doors is calling on Christians in the West to pray for Christians living in Islamic dominated countries… praying specifically for God to fill and strengthen them with the ‘Fruit of the Spirit.’ This ‘fruit’ embodied in each believer; molds, shapes and transforms us – expressing the image of His Son. And through this image, shining through a believer, God draws people to salvation.”
I signed up for their daily prayer emails for this mission. Each day, they send an account of a Christian who is living in Islamic-dominated countries. I pray this will help us to remember to pray for those who are ministering to hearts in foreign countries with the gospel.
“Open Doors works in the world’s most oppressive countries, strengthening Christians to stand strong in the face of persecution and equipping them to shine Christ’s light in these dark places. Open Doors empowers persecuted Christians by supplying Bibles, training Christian leaders, developing Christian communities and ensuring prayer, presence and advocacy for these suffering believers.” (www.OpenDoorsUSA.org)