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Persecuted believer in Burkina Faso hunted by terrorists

October 20, 2023 by Tim Dustin in Persecuted Christians in Burkina Faso

When Pastor Matthew shared with his family that he accepted Jesus into his heart, there was an immediate reaction: they pushed him to abandon his new faith. They would then keep food from him, refusing to feed him, hoping in his hunger he would abandon his new religion. He would not. Seeing that he was not going to deny Jesus, many in his family stopped talking to him altogether.

But Pastor Matthew couldn’t keep his new faith private. He shared it with those in his family, even leading his younger brother to Jesus. Pastor Matthew and his brother would sneak away and attend church together. When his family found out, they kicked the two of them out of the house. Their mother even went to the village elders and pleaded with them to convince Pastor Matthew and his brother to abandon Christ. But the faith of the brothers only grew.

The Holy Spirit continued to grow inside Pastor Matthew and guide his life. Pastor Matthew married and then went to Bible school. Looking back on that time in his life, he says, “God saved my life by protecting me during these times.” Pastor Matthew even became a respected church leader in his area.

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However, in 2019, there was an insurgence of terrorists in Pastor Matthew’s region. They warned leaders and elders that they didn’t want to hear any preaching about Jesus. Fearing for the lives of his congregation, Pastor Matthew changed the times of his Sunday and weekly services. When his congregation met, they also made sure to do so quietly and with great caution.

Then, in May, the terrorists returned to the region and killed two pastors. Shockingly, one of the pastors was Pastor Matthew’s brother who had led him to Christ. “After the terrorists killed these two pastors, I was their next target.”

The terrorists gathered and headed for Pastor Matthew’s village. “A pastor friend heard this news and immediately called me to warn me. He told me to leave my village as soon as possible, along with all my family and church members. Quickly, my family, all our church members and I left in a hurry, without taking anything with us … We just fled for our lives.”

The terrorists arrived in the village but could not find Pastor Matthew. In response, they went to a nearby village and kidnapped a pastor there, along with seven church members.

The increase of persecution in the area drove many Christians and leaders to flee. To this day, many still have not returned to their homes. “I know of around 20 churches that were forced to relocate and are living as refugees in different parts of the country.” But Pastor Matthew also adds, “These persecutions only made me a strong believer and helped me to hold on to Jesus and never backslide.”

Pastor Matthew is still a church leader today and boldly proclaims Psalm 37 verse 4 over his life: “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.”

One of Pastor Matthew’s greatest desires was to be reunited with his family. In 2020, his parents reached out to him and asked for his forgiveness of their persecution. They then came and lived with him. During that time, his father became a Christian, shortly before his death.

We’re thankful for Pastor Matthew’s story and are inspired by his commitment to the Lord, especially in the face of such grave adversity. He’s passed along a few prayer requests. Join us now in praying for Pastor Matthew.

Lord God, we come before You and are grateful You have protected Pastor Matthew and his family. Even when his own family refused to acknowledge him, You had a greater plan for his life. We’re encouraged by his faith and commitment to You—even against threats to his life.

 We ask You build up and restore Pastor Matthew’s physical and mental health. Protect him and care for Your precious child. We ask that You please provide for Pastor Matthew and his family, that he’ll find a permanent place to live and a way to send his children to school. And we ask that You please bless his ministry, that he’ll feel Your strength each and every day and continue to lead others to You. In Your name we pray. Amen.

About the author
Tim Dustin is a staff writer and editor for Global Christian Relief. Each day he shares the stories of the persecuted to raise awareness of the issue with the worldwide church. Read the latest Christian persecution stories on our website and learn more at GlobalChristianRelief.org.

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