I’ll never forget sitting in a church in Ohio at a Voice of the Martyrs conference hearing stories of things I couldn’t hardly imagine. Those stories and the people I met that day changed things for me. There were stories of physical suffering, but also stories like this:
They sat on the floor in a dimly lit cement room. Dark curtains were pulled over the windows. It was stuffy, dim, and crowded, but they didn’t seem to notice as they hunched over notebooks, writing furiously… wanting to take it all in. Another man slipped in the room and quickly sat where he could find the room. They had to stagger the time people arrived so it didn’t look suspicious.
The speaker had notes, but mostly preached from a single treasured book. That way if they were caught, there would be less for someone to find. And that night… they walked through hours of Bible teaching. Because they were hungry for it. Because they didn’t get the opportunity often. And because they didn’t know when it would happen again.
This is the image that has stuck with me the most. It’s what I think of when approaching Secret Church. It’s powerful, that image of a hungry group of rag-tag believers, soaking in the messages, committing them to memory and heart.
April 18 (Good Friday) is the next Secret Church, a 6-hour intensive bible study and time of prayer for the persecuted church. You can simulcast with thousands of others (including a small group of friends and myself) from anywhere in the world. And together… we can catch a glimpse of their hunger for the Word, and how that plays out in our everyday lives.
Oh, and if you’re interested in understanding the persecuted church more, I’d recommend reading Tortured for Christ by Richard Wumbrant (you can get a free copy here) and Safely Home by Randy Alcorn to start.