Remembering Today’s Persecuted Christians

by Sally Matheny

The Story of St. Valentine
by Voice of the Martyrs/Cheryl Odden

Hidden under layers of commercialism, it’s difficult to find the origins of Valentine’s Day. 

One of my favorite children’s books on the topic is The Story of Saint Valentine, by The Voice of the Martyrs and Cheryl Odden. It’s a beautifully illustrated book about faith, love, and courage. 

It’s the story of one Christian’s brave perseverance in standing for truth no matter what the cost.

I think Valentine’s Day is a great day for remembering today’s persecuted Christians. Many think of Christian persecution in faraway countries.
The Voice of the Martyrs gives eye-opening information about the developments in Cuba, which is only about 1500 miles away.

Despite improvements, the Cuban government still arrests, mistreats, marginalizes and openly opposes Christians. Christians are often prevented from working in certain jobs. Though there have been fewer arrests, both church leaders and evangelists have been detained, have had personal items confiscated, property destroyed, and some have endured beatings.”

VOM also states that rules established in 2014 limited churches to one bank account each and increased the power of the government to freeze those if they desire.

The government knows the best place to implement and gain support for their policies—with the country’s youngest citizens.

“Some children are required to renounce Christ and embrace communism in school, and Christian young people are often not allowed to graduate from high school or enter a university.”

There are churches in Cuba but it is illegal for more than twelve people to assemble in one. Even then, it is well known that the congregations are “infiltrated and monitored by government agents.”

There hasn’t been a Christian bookstore in Cuba in over half a century. What Bibles are allowed into the country have to go through a certain council that requires its members to “praise socialist revolution and the Cuban state.”
Less than ten percent of Cuba’s churches belong to this council so Bibles are limited.

Coming from the Bible Belt of America, where most  families own numerous copies of the Bible, these facts are hard to believe.

It makes you wonder though, doesn’t it? 
If you Google about persecuted Christians within the United States, you’ll find over one million results.

Something to ponder and pray about.

Don’t take God's Love Letter to you or your right to worship for granted.

Be thankful and have a blessed Valentine’s Day.

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