“I am just a humble servant, but I have learned that believing in God is important even though it seems dangerous when under challenging circumstances.”

Stephen* is one of our national church planters living in a high-risk area for Christians. He has been sharing his faith publicly for nearly 15 years despite the persecution he and his family have faced.

Growing up, Stephen was raised to worship idols in a Buddhist culture. In 2006, he was enslaved to the local temple, working day and night, never allowed to leave.

“Growing up as a Buddhist was unsatisfactory. I was never content. I was so unsatisfied with my life; I started searching for more. I started reading the Bible secretly to find the way of salvation and peace of mind. The satisfaction of salvation, to put it simply, was not in my Buddhist life.”

Stephen started studying the Bible in secret, and through Scripture, he left the temple and vowed to give his life to Christ. That same year, Stephen began sharing his faith publicly.

In 2009 and 2010, he was tortured for his beliefs and once again forced to work in the temple. He was tied up, beaten, and subjected to unusual physical torture for refusing to convert. Trusting that God would deliver him from his captors, he looked for opportunities to escape.

“I continued to pray for God to move me to another place in His timing. When my persecution was too much, my friend told me to come with him, and I left. Surprisingly, no one followed me from the temple. I thank God for this!”

After hiding for two years, in 2013, he secretly started a church, but when the extremists found out, his family’s house was looted, and they endured mental torture. Stephen continues to preach the gospel, and the agony that he has endured has only made his faith stronger.

“Pray for me that I may remain steadfast in the Lord’s way until the second coming of Christ. Please pray for my family’s safety, and pray for my ministry as I preach the gospel of Jesus until my last breath.”