Every day tens of thousands of women worldwide are abused, tortured, withheld employment and education, and killed because of their Christian beliefs. As we observe the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church this November 13, TCW shines the spotlight on the religious persecution affecting many of our sisters in other countries, highlights Women of the Way, a five-year-old ministry that's doing something about this widespread problemand reveals ways you can be part of the solution.
Three Indonesian womenDr. Rebekka Zakaria, Eti Pangesti, and Ratna Banguncurrently sit in Indramayu State Prison in West Java serving a three-year sentence. They're there because of "Happy Sunday," the program they launched for schoolchildren at the invitation of a local public elementary school. The program included Christian songs, games, and Bible study, and students attended with the full consent of their parents. Regardless, when some of the children began to sing the Christian songs they learned at "Happy Sunday" at school and at home, Islamic elders took noticeand filed charges against Rebekka, Eti, and Ratna. In July 2005, at the third of their many court appearances, truckloads of angry Muslim demonstrators showed up at the courthouse to harass and threaten the women.
In Columbia, Angela Ballesteros was forced to watch a death squad murder her husband, Pastor Euclides Ballesteros, who had converted many revolutionaries. Ordered to remain silent, she and her four children left their hometown and moved to another region of the country, where she barely makes a living working occasionally as a seamstress at the shop of Miriam Amador, the widow of another murdered pastor.1