Solutions June 2018 - Page 6

Persecution: Unlikely Targets By Joni Eareckson Tada The other day I read an alarming statistic that made my blood run cold. In an article from Open Doors, I learned that over 100 million Christians around the world are suffering under persecution. I had to stop and do the math. Many hundreds of thousands of my sisters and brothers in Christ are suffering deeply from abuse by their governments or other religious groups. Every statistic has a face, which made me think of one such Christian I met years ago… I was in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, speaking at a large public meeting in an event center downtown. I am generous when I say, event center -- it was more like a massive warehouse made of large, rusting panels of tin. My message centered on God’s love for people with disabilities, and the 6 • Solutions crowd received it warmly. After the event was over, a thunderstorm passed overhead, scattering the attendees. The dirt road leading to the center was filled with muddy ruts and large mud puddles. People dispersed to their homes, holding newspapers to shield them from the rain. All except for a thin, short disabled woman on crutches. She lagged behind, struggling to make her way through the mud. She was walking in front of our small, tightly packed van, and so my husband Ken jumped out to hold an umbrella for her, as well as for the three children who huddled against her. I admired Ken for his act of mercy, especially when I saw the mud splatter on his new suit pants. He didn’t seem to mind. He just walked slowly, held the