”Aicha” and her children with the  food provided by Barnabas Aid after  she was thrown out of the family  home by her husband because  she decided to follow Christ

Messages like these pour into Barnabas Aid, helping us remember that every figure on the page opposite is a Christian you have enabled us to help.

We count it a joy and a privilege to have been used by God throughout 2023 to provide urgently needed practical and emotional support to give relief to persecuted Christians around the world. But it is only possible through His help, the gifts and prayers of our supporters, and our faithful project partners working in these contexts.

Paul’s closing remarks in his letter to Colossian Christians – quoted in our headline above – could be repeated by suffering Christians in many countries today. Persecution is on the rise at an alarming rate, and the consistent plea we receive from our project partners has been to remember our family of believers in their time of need.

“I am very thankful to Barnabas Aid for this food package, hygiene kit and crockery set… We are still under threat – please remember us in your prayers,” said Shafqat from Jaranwala, one of the hundreds of Christian families whose homes were destroyed by the rioters.

Barnabas Aid project partners were on the scene within 24 hours, evaluating how we could provide aid to the local Christians and churches who had endured terrifying hostility against them. We were able to distribute aid packages for 172 of the worst-affected Christian families, comprising food essentials for one month, hygiene kits, and kitchen basics so that they could rebuild their lives after their homes had been burned and looted.

Sub-Saharan Africa is a hotbed of violent persecution against Christians.

“The armed men had burst into the middle of worship within the school to threaten death to the teachers and students… these threats were accompanied by whippings,” wrote our project partner in Burkina Faso. Violence, kidnapping, murder, burning of houses or crops, and looting of property are regular occurrences for Christians in this country.

“I didn’t [get any help] except from Barnabas Aid, my 35 oxen, my 50 bags of cereals and more than 60 small ruminants were taken away by the armed men, ”said Daniel, after Barnabas Aid sent relief to him and many displaced Christians who were driven from their community.

Through your gifts, Barnabas was able to send food to help nearly 200 Christians in Burkina Faso survive after they were forced to leave everything behind.

ConvertsfromIslamarealsopersecutedinBurkinaFaso. “[My husband] told me to choose between my home and my faith… Not being able to deny my faith, I decided to be faithful to my Lord… We are humbled that Christians from

far away are helping us with so much food,” said “Aicha”. Aicha, along with her two children (pictured) were thrown out of their family home when she left Islam to follow Christ. Barnabas met their practical needs with food essentials.

Barnabas has been a constant supporter of Christians from Nagorno-Karabakh in 2022 and repeatedly during a heart- heart-breaking 2023. From December 2022 to September 2023, Barnabas Aid increased support for our suffering brothers and sisters during the blockade of the Lachin Corridor by Azerbaijani forces. With the Lord’s help, Barnabas acted quickly to get desperately needed food and hygiene items into the region within weeks.

After Azerbaijan invaded Nagorno-Karabakh on 19 September 2023, almost the entire population – that is, 120,000 hungry and traumatised Armenians – have become refugees leaving behind practically everything they owned. They have had to flee their beloved homeland, which was a land filled with ancient churches and vibrant Christian faith.

Barnabas Aid continued to help these brave Christians who endured so much hardship and persecution. We sent funds to provide food, shelter and resources to help them survive and heal from their trauma and, with God’s help and yours, we will assist with their longer-term needs in 2024.

Our Lord reminds us in John 15 that we will be persecuted because the world persecuted Him, but Paul also tells us that we can “…do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers”. (Galatians 6:10)

It is a God-given honour to serve the suffering Church, remembering that our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ was persecuted and died for us. It has been our missionfor30yearstoservesuffering Christians, remembering that there are believers who are persecuted in His name every day.

Let us remember their chains, as Paul asked the church at Colossae to remember his. We pray that the Lord will continue to use the work of Barnabas Aid to provide timely and appropriate relief wherever Christians are in chains – whether they be physical, emotional, or spiritual.

This article was initially published in the Barnabas Aid Magazine.