Susie Locklin says she hasn’t personally experienced any persecution for being a follower of Christ or for sharing the Good News about Jesus in the place God has led her to minister.
“I don’t currently have a lot to worry about in that sense,” Susie says. “But for those who leave a different religion to come to Christ, it can be a different story.”
Take for example the young believer who had given his life to Jesus who Susie recently heard about. His family, who is committed to a major world religion, felt he had shamed them. They fixed him food with poison in it, Susie says. God gave the young man wisdom to not eat the food, so family members waited for him with knives one evening planning to cut his throat. Again, the young man sensed God’s leading and did not go home, but opted to stay at his pastor’s home instead.
Susie shares that in locations nearby, there are more stories of what standing firm in faith can cost. “I could tell you about a young girl chased from her father’s house because a Christian man asked for her hand in marriage. It took years before her father was willing to see her again and he made sure no one in the family attended the wedding.”
Susie cites the examples of a teen who took a stand for Christ being locked out of his home and others who have had their lives threatened for coming to Christ or attending church. “I was even told by an elder that if anyone in their people group converted to Christianity they had ‘ways to make them not live too long.’”
These stories of believers suffering for their faith, Susie explains, aren’t new to her. “What’s new is that these aren’t stories of martyrs in faraway lands anymore, they are my friends. And they don’t see themselves as heroes—it’s just part of life. You have the choice here whether you stand up for Jesus or not.”
Susie takes comfort in Jesus’ words from John 16:33 that a local pastor shared with her recently. “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
She knows that peace and encouragement in the face of suffering can only come from Christ. “Pray for the Church around the world,” Susie urges. “Pray that together we will stand firm for our Lord. And let’s pray also for those who haven’t yet heard and responded to the gospel, but who may likely have to endure this kind of persecution when they do.”
“After all,” she adds, “We’re all in the same family, right?”