by Graydon Colville
There are many places in the world where it is very difficult to be a committed follower of Christ - possibly because of Government policy, the presence of militant anti-Christian religious social pressure or some other reason. To be a full-time Christian worker in such places can be very difficult and not without risk.
Having been an expatriate Christian worker in a 'sensitive' country, I understand very well the need for careful communications with the 'outside world' so that one's own ministry or the ministry of others is not jeopardized. Care is also needed to avoid creating unnecessary problems for local believers or for 'converts'. It is necessary to learn what can be done and what can't be done and what level of risk is appropriate. Some risk is essential, other- wise you may be permitted to spend a long time in the country but not actually achieve anything!
There are places where the risk of kidnapping or physical violence is real, but for the most part, the worst an expatriate worker is likely to face is expulsion from their chosen place of work.
However, for most GRN workers, they are working in their OWN country. There is nowhere else for them to go and it is far from easy. Frequently they face pressures on many fronts - economic, social, religious and political. Yet they remain faithful to their calling.
May I encourage you to regularly remember our colleagues and other local Christian workers in the 'hard places' of our world. Pray that they will have wisdom from above and that right blend of boldness, carefulness and patient endurance. Pray that their needs will be met, their families protected, their faith strengthened, their walk with God close and above all that the name of Christ be lifted up in and through their lives.
They are doing work that mostly we cannot do. Let us do what we can to support and help them.