This blog post is intentionally shorter than the others because it is difficult to find the words for what I want to say. And it’s quite intentional that it’s not accompanied by any pictures. The only pictures I could have shown are too distressing to post online.

During a visit to one organisation here I met a man who leads a Christian agency elsewhere in the region. He told me how he and his organisation had been helping a woman who had come to faith in Christ. And then he showed me the pictures of what her husband had done to her as a result. He showed me pictures of limbs terribly, awfully bruised. And he showed me a picture of a face terribly red and raw and scarred by acid. I will never, ever, forget those pictures.

And that is, literally, the face of persecution in the world today. And it is a great evil which must be addressed, which must be faced.

And it reminded me that it’s all very well standing up in lecture rooms and speaking about persecution, and analysing the phenomenon, but in the end this is all about people’s lives – and indeed their deaths.

May God give me grace never to forget that.