JERUSALEM, Israel – The Church in the Middle East has gone through some dark days in recent years. Some say the lives of believers today reflect the heroes and heroines of the past in the place where Christianity was born.
Across the Middle East, Christians and the Church have suffered terrible persecution. Yet there is tremendous optimism there.
“I see the church is standing and standing strong, with all of the difficulties and with all of the atrocities and all of the persecution,” Yvette Isaac with Roads of Success told CBN News. “But they are all standing strong; they know why they are standing.”
Yvette Isaac, Photo, CBN News, Jonathan Goff
Egyptian-born Yvette Isaac believes that’s because Christians in the Middle East are continuing the testimony of the early believers.
“I really believe, every day in this part of the world another page of the Book of Acts is being written,” she said. “Every day, a new page of the Book of the Acts is being written, added.”
Photo, CBN News, Jonathan Goff
Isaac wants the Church in the West to know what’s happening there.
“There are brothers and sisters – Christian brothers and sisters – who are living there,” she continued. “And if it wasn’t for them, first, we would not hear about Christianity in the West. Because of the Church in the Middle East, Christianity spread all over the world.”
Yet Isaac says the pressure on Christians has been enormous.
“That is where it all started, and the enemy’s focus is to destroy it. The enemy’s focus is to empty the Middle East of Christianity. So, he is putting all this pressure, and we have seen all kind[s] of pressure under the people,” she said.
Isaac hosts a television program to the Middle East, and she believes Christian media can play a role in helping Christians living there.
“The Church needs to know the truth. The media – the Christian media – needs to air and show the world from there,” she said. “If we just depend on the secular media, we will get what their agenda [is] for the world to hear. But awareness is very important. That is why we have many clips of Christians – that they suffer, and we tell their stories.”
One of the stories Isaac tells is about Christians who suffered under ISIS, the Islamic terror group also known as the Islamic State.
Photo, CBN News, Jonathan Goff
“We go to Iraq, to Syria. And we go to these places and we try to empower the girls that came out of captivity,” she explained. “Christians in Syria and in Iraq, they do not want to speak too much. Probably it is a fear. But when we go there, they open up. They feel like they can open up and tell us their stories. So, we share their stories, with their permission, to the world.”
Isaac tells one story of an Orthodox priest and an evangelical pastor.
“An Orthodox priest told me, when there was no water and there were only few drops of water left…’I would rather divide it with my Protestant, with the evangelical pastor because I know if we both live we are going to be more powerful together. If I live, and he dies, I am weaker.'”
Isaac hopes each part of the Body of Christ will do its share.
“What is my part? What am I called to do? Especially, in the Western world. The Western church needs to understand the importance of the existing of Christians in the Middle East at this time,” she said.