I am surprised at how many views my blog has! To all my new readers, a big HELLO. To all my haters, a big GOD BLESS YOU! And to those who have stumbled upon my blog, WELCOME.
I began this blog to talk about my experience in the Middle East. But since I'm not there anymore, I am keeping this blog and adding to it, with news regarding the persecuted body of Christ. Because they still need their voices to be heard.
BUT if you're still reading, then here is my story:
In Kuwait I was working as a civilian defense contractor on a military base. I lived in Kuwait City and commuted 2 hours from the Persian Gulf Coast city of Salmiyah, to the border of Kuwait & Iraq to get to work. It was one of the most valuable experiences in my life. Not necessarily working on a military base, but because I got to live among a unique culture. Really it was a mix of culture- Arabs, Indians, Philippinos, etc. I saw how badly most (not all) Arabs treat people from India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, the Philippines, etc. I saw a unique class system. I witnessed maids being stuffed in the trunk area of an SUV while the rest of the seats were empty.
|The rest of the seats were empty yet look where the maid is sitting. I was shocked!|
I saw how much money they made from our purchase of oil and how they would lavishly spend it on expensive sports cars, the latest technology, high fashion, and lots of food.
But I was also able to travel to surrounding countries: Lebanon, Jordan, Bahrain, Israel, Dubai (went twice), Abu Dhabi, even England. I learned a LOT about Islam and the culture differences between East & West.
Living in that region also exposed me to Christian persecution. It's not that there was a lot of persecution in Kuwait, but daily there were reports in the newspaper & on the news stations about churches being bombed in Egypt & Iraq. Christians being burned alive, butchered, hunted, beheaded, raped, imprisoned, enslaved- in North Africa. Christians being accused of blasphemy against the prophet Mohammed and being thrown in jail pending the death penalty. I was so overwhelmed with the horrible reality of what our brothers and sisters were facing that my faith was shaken. I knew that God warned us about persecution.....but somehow what I was witnessing and what I had been taught in church all the way in the U.S. just was not jiving....in the American churches, the pastor does mention trials & suffering but ultimately, it's such a positive, hopeful message that leads us to believe that everything will be ok, God will protect you especially when you're in His will, nothing can touch you. While some things may be true in its original context, part of God's will IS to suffer, some He wills to be martyred. But I was struggling with what I've been hearing and from what I was seeing.
What separates me from the Nigerian Christians who weekly attend church services KNOWING their church is most likely going to be bombed b/c every Sunday a different church gets bombed? Nothing makes me different than they except geography. Why would God want to spare my life should something dreadful befall me, if he doesn't even spare poor, starving Africans who worship Him? They get hacked to death with machetes by Islamists. I really began to be very afraid. Even on flights travelling to other countries, I would pray that the Lord keeps the plane safe and then I would begin to freak out b/c I felt like praying was useless- God WILL allow evil to befall me if it is his will. I struggled to pick up my Bible & struggled to pray. On top of that, I started to fear death. I never was really afraid to die b/c I just never thought about it. But living amongst the people in Kuwait- the Middle East, did give me anxiety at night. I was assigned an apartment with a roommate. Every night as I lay in bed I thought, "I wonder if my apartment will be bombed since there are many American contractors in here." Or when I would walk past parked cars to get to my apartment I was always afraid that there may be a car bomb going off. Nothing did happen in Kuwait since they are great at foiling terror plots. One plot was stopped but they got close to one of our bases with explosives. I would read in the local English newspaper of Iranian spy rings, terror rings, etc. And when it was my day off and I went to the mall, as I sat enjoying some food- I too feared an explosion.
So my trust in God went out the window. How I could feel 'safe' in his arms? What really shook my faith the most was the real story of 2 missionary couples. These couples lived on a boat and traveled to many small parts of the world giving away Bibles to unreached people. Well their boat was hijacked by pirates and they were held hostage. I immediately prayed for their safety and release. I was pleading with God and in a way, telling him, "Lord if you miraculously let them go, I'll be able to trust you again! Lord I need to see a miracle b/c my faith is fading!" I couldn't even sleep, I kept thinking about the four, their safety, and praying. Surely God would let them go to continue their work in leading people to Christ right? About 3 days later the U.S. intervenes. They take the boat back away from the pirates. But all 4 were dead. http://www.cbsnews.com/
That broke my heart. I literally sobbed like a baby. I was mad at God. Of course I still loved him and I had to remind myself that Jesus warned us, "in this world you WILL have tribulation, but be of good cheer for I have overcome the world." It was an inner struggle between my logic, between the ugly realities, and my weak faith holding onto the very words about persecution, suffering, and God's will. But I still couldn't read the Bible. I still didn't pray as much. But I still kept paying attention to the news regarding Christian persecution b/c it still kept happening. I was mad at the American Christians. I was disgusted that SO many of our brothers and sisters are suffering in such cruel, inhumane ways and the American church does nothing! They pray and that's it. I found organizations that go to those places and help rebuild villages, provide Bibles, provide training for local pastors, provide for widows of pastors, provide for orphans whose parents have been killed for being Christian. I learned that there is more the American church can do than just pray. They can give. And more than that, I realized that American's didn't know what was going on b/c they weren't exposed to it nor is it ever on the news. So another way to help the persecuted body is to let their voices be heard. So I started posting articles, gruesome pictures, and links on Facebook about Christian persecution. It was the ugly reality that needed to be seen. People were telling me how much negativity I posted on FB- but that was just a LITTLE bit of the reality I was seeing. Then what pissed me off was that some people were complaining to me about the images and negativity that showed up on their feed rather than accepting the truth. Now, at the time I was a bit zealous and mad at Christians and felt unsure about God (though I didn't blame him since we have been warned), so I know I can't push my convictions on others. But we in the West have a lot of unused power to make a difference and yet we don't. Few, however, do.
Now, I kept seeking miracles through horror stories. I wanted God to restore my hope. One story I read was finally enough to get me back on track with God. This is the story: https://www.facebook.
com/notes/jessica-vasquez- cone/captured-woman-freed/ 10150104412253364
Well anyway, sorry I wrote a book ahaha! But I now have a huge burden for the persecuted body of Christ and that is just one of the reasons why my time in Kuwait has changed my life.
"Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness"