South Asia’s Secret Believers
“Secret believers? I try not to get too close to them because I’m known to the authorities,” replies a pastor when asked about believers of a Muslim background in his country. “But this is what I’ve heard …
“One of the Secret Believers goes to his work office room in the morning,” he continues. “He locks the door, takes out his Bible from his drawer, reads it, has his quiet time for 15 minutes, prays in silence, returns the Bible inside the drawer, unlocks his office door and carries on with his work and life.”
South and South East Asia host some of the world’s largest Muslim communities, including Indonesia and Bangladesh. Some countries have religious freedom written in their constitution, but others such as Malaysia, Brunei, and the Maldives, are founded strictly on Islam.
It is in these places, where converting out of Islam means breaching the law that former Muslims choose to conceal their Christian faith, making the above scenario a day to day reality for them.
Problems get stickier when the country is small in both geographical size and population, such as Brunei and the Maldives, where Government monitoring becomes much more intense and there is practically nowhere to hide and no one with whom to confide your secret belief.
A mission worker shared: “I once stayed in a guesthouse in a small Muslim country and met with a young local man. After learning that I was a Christian, he shared that he, too, was a believer.
“The secret believer was travelling with a friend, so he pleaded: ‘Please don’t tell my friend about this.’ Later, I came across his friend in the same hotel, only to catch him storing a Bible inside a drawer. ‘The friend’ confessed: ‘I am Christ’s follower. But please don’t say anything to my friend, I beg you.’
“That day I met with two friends who, out of fear and distrust, had no idea that they were both Christians!” the missionary says, still in disbelief.
- Pray for Christian believers in countries across South and South East Asia, who face daily opposition to their faith. Pray for support for these Christians who are often isolated and lonely.
- Pray for resources to be available to encourage these believers in their walk wit Christ, and for opportunities to meet with other believers without fear.
- Pray for the growth of the Church across South and South East Asia, for the witness of believers and for the seeds of the Gospel to fall on fertile soil of open hearts.
- Pray for these countries to soften in their stance towards Christianity and move towards allowing freedom of worship and belief for all people.
Ephesians 6 vs 18: “Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints.”