One of our winter interns, Bekah Joy, reflects on what it's like to work for the persecuted Church and what she has learned about God in the process.
- Name: Bekah Joy
- Age: 22
- Major: Biblical Studies
- Favorite thing about living in/near DC: I love the diversity of cultures and people!
- How long have you worked for ICC? 11 weeks
What was your first impression of ICC when you first started?
I was very surprised at how small the staff was. I had been reading about the projects, petitions, and other things that ICC had been doing, and honestly, I was extremely impressed that so few people could accomplish so much. I came to learn that each staff member is incredibly gifted in a variety of areas, and they are able to do a job that would usually require three people. I am encouraged, challenged, and inspired by their hard work and dedication.
How do you define “persecution”?
Persecution is when people are discriminated against, attacked, abused, or killed because of their race, religion, or other factors.
Tell us about one persecuted person or story that has impacted your faith:
In February, ICC published a news story entitled, "Egyptian Christians Seek Unity amid Strife." The article discussed how the intense persecution that Egyptian Christians were experiencing was bringing them together. Joel J. Miller, the author, described, “While [the] differences [among denominations] are real, the strife driving Christians together is equally real.” To see Christians so heavily persecuted (and without any safety) come together and share one another’s burdens touched my heart. It both encouraged and challenged me in two ways: First, no matter what I am going through, I can still help someone else; and second, differences amongst believers are non-existent compared to what we all have in common.
Is there something that you read or learned about that surprised you, or maybe challenged you while working for ICC?
It surprised me to see the stories that showed persecuted Christians standing up for their rights in a country where they had been taken away. Christians who had been wrongly imprisoned were filing reports, refusing to pay fines, and proclaiming the truth. I did not know that a significant number of Christians so boldly looked their government in the face and refused to be treated that way. I had to search my heart to see what I thought about that at first, and I decided it made me inexpressibly proud to call these people my brothers and sisters in Christ.
What is something you’ve learned about the Lord while serving his persecuted Church?
I have learned that God is always on the winning side. Even amidst horrific persecution, He is glorified. It is truly awe-striking to realize. God uses every raided village, every attacked church, every abused woman, every kidnapped child, and every harmed man to bring glory to His Name. Sometimes the Gospel in the country spreads like wildfire; sometimes it gains international attention, and therefore international pressure to bring justice to the particular situation; sometimes it inspires people to care, pray, and act; sometimes it unites families, denominations, and people groups; but always God's name is glorified.
What is your favorite memory about ICC?
Without a doubt, it is getting to experience the heartfelt, Christ-like responses people have to persecution. It is such a beautiful joy to have the opportunity to hear and see how God is burdening, blessing, growing, and encouraging people through the persecuted Church. Getting to be a part of that strengthens my faith in God and my passion for my persecuted brothers and sisters, as well as giving me inexpressible joy.
I went with the president of ICC to speak at a church and to help promote a letter-writing campaign to persecuted children that ICC is currently working on. A week later, a package showed up at the office, and a Sunday School class of 3rd and 5th graders handmade cards and wrote messages to persecuted children in Indonesia. When we received the package and saw their colorful artwork it literally brought tears of joy to my eyes!
What is your biggest take-away from working with ICC?
By biggest take-away is to depend on God -no matter what. So many times working with ICC I would have moments where I would be overwhelmed with heartbreak for my brothers and sisters in Christ who were being persecuted. It can get really difficult to deal with -if you try and get through it on your own. My first few weeks with ICC, God showed me verse after verse to remind me that He was in control, that He loved these people more than I ever could, and that I needed to trust Him. I am deeply thankful for the constant reminder of God's sovereignty.