Persecuted for Christ

About 200 million Christians around the world suffer persecution for their faith. This is the story of one man persecuted for his faith in Christ.

The Story of Eyob Mussie

by William L. Nowell

On February 12, 2011, the arrest of Eyob Mussie, an Eritrean citizen living in Saudi Arabia, took place. His arrest was simply for sharing his Christian faith with Muslims. In Saudi Arabia, converting Muslims to Christianity is a crime. As unbelievable and utterly ridiculous as it sounds, this is actually a capital crime carrying the death penalty! The fate of anyone who dares share his faith with Muslims is death by decapitation (beheading)!

Eyob Mussie
Eyob Mussie

Prior to his arrest, Eyob spent three days at the Eritrean Embassy sharing his faith with his community. After this, he made the fatal mistake of going onto the steps of a mosque to share his testimony with the Muslims there. The authorities arrested him, and later confined him to a notorious high security prison under a sentence of death.

Saudi Arabia has one of the highest rates of executions in the world. Foreign nationals, and in particular, migrant workers from Africa, Asia and the Middle East are the main victims of death sentences.

After appeals from many human rights organizations including "Release Eritrea", "Church in Chains", and "Christian Solidarity Worldwide", he was spared from the death penalty. Instead, the Saudi Arabian government deported him back to Eritrea. But, this was in no way a good thing. Citizens returned to Eritrea often face imprisonment, torture and even death.

About three weeks after returning to Eritrea, Eyob disappeared into Eritrea's vast and notorious prison system. Eritrea is often described as “a giant prison” and “the most repressive nation on earth”.

An estimated 3,000 Christians are in prison without charge or trial, in unimaginably atrocious conditions. Some imprisoned Christians have not been heard from in years. It is not uncommon for prisoners in Eritrea receive little in the way of food, water or medical treatment. Some prisoners are locked in underground cells, or even inside metal shipping containers left out in the desert heat!

I ask everyone reading this to pray for Eyob:

  • Pray that he is released.
  • Pray that his faith remains strong.
  • Pray that God will strengthen, encourage, guide and protect him.
  • Pray that he is restored to health physically, psychologically, and spiritually.
  • Pray that all his needs are met.
  • Pray that something good will come out of this ordeal.

Why does God allow such extreme persecution to come on people who love Him? I don't get it. If it were up to me, the inhumane devils that do these things would already be burning in hell. But, then I have to remind myself that Yeshua said, “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” That's easier in theory than in actual practice. I also have to remind myself that God said “My thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not My ways, declares the Lord (Yahweh). Just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts higher than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)

There is consolation in knowing that “God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love Him. They are the ones God has chosen for His purpose.” (Romans 8:28) And Jesus said “You are blessed (i.e. God will bless you) when people insult you and persecute you and tell all kinds of vicious lies about you because you follow Me! Rejoice and be glad, because your reward in heaven is great.... ” (Matthew 5:11-12)

I know that God will cause something good to come out of this ordeal, and that Eyob's reward in heaven is great. That is a wonderful assurance of things to come. However, in the meantime, I can only imagine what he must go through daily; that's assuming he's still alive. Some prisoners do not make it out of the Eritrean prison system alive. It might not be until we get to heaven, but I look forward to the day when I can look him in the eye and say, “I never stopped praying for you”.

Once again, I ask each of you to pray for our brother in Christ.

Continue to remember the Lord's people who are in prison and being mistreated. Remember them as if you were in prison with them and suffering with them. (Hebrews 13:3)
Three Crosses