Source of endurance

Sunday morning, a time for sleeping in a little later than usual. Jumping out of bed, you remembered that it’s your turn to host a Sunday morning brunch. Your friends arrive and you close the drapes, so no one can look in and see what you are doing. You have gathered with a few friends for a time of Bible study. When suddenly, and unannounced four police officers barge into your house. They were accompanied by ten religious police. Could it be that a major clandestine operation is under way by using religion as cover? The answer is yes! But, not in our world of modern Christendom. Rather it’s a world away; where it’s illegal to own a Bible and being a Christian carries severe consequences.

In an angry; and disrespectful manner, they demand to know, who is in charge. An ethnic Malaysian named Jon stands up saying, “I’m in charge.” They quickly blindfold, Jon, with a thick black mask. The police bound his hands with rope so tightly that his hands become numb and his body ached. After being roughed up by the police, Jon finds himself being placed in a police vehicle.

The reason Jon was arrested is because, as a Muslim, he became a Christian in 2005. Every three months, Jon is required report to the police. Once there, Jon is told to recite Islamic prayers. With the police urging him to return to the Muslim religion of his ancestors. And for years, Jon had resisted, and refused to deny Christ and return to Islam.

So on, 26 March 2011, Jon experienced some brutal torture. Again Jon was blindfolded with his arms and legs bound. They picked him up, and tossed Jon into police vehicle, as though he was disposable rubbish.

In Malaysia the evangelization of Muslims is an offense punishable by death and fine or both. The authorities had concluded that Jon’s bold testimony for Christ was an affront to Islam, and as such, he was a traitor.

Article 160 of the Malaysian Constitution defines “ethnic Malay, as someone who was born to a Malaysian citizen, adheres to Malaysian customs and is a Sunni Muslim.” Islam is more than a religion for indigenous Malays; it is their national identity.

The authorities decided to imprison Jon in a rehabilitation camp. Also known as Islamic purification centers. Most who experience such Islamic purification’s end up denying Christ and returning to Islam. At those camps brutal and severe torture occurs. Because the government considers any dilution of Islam as a threat to their national security.

So this is what Jon experienced. Over three days and nights. Jon was subjected to Islamic scholars. “They chanted Islamic prayers. They tried over and over to get me to chant with them. But all the time they were chanting, all I could hear was other people praying.”

At on point, Muslims scholars with concealed faces poured “holy water” over his head as he crouched on a concrete floor in a small room. They poured seven buckets of water on his head to “cleanse him.”

“They thought they had the power to convert me back to Islam,” Jon said. “I told them, ‘Even if you chop of my head right now it’s okay. Go ahead, I have my God. They got so mad that they started kicking me and beating me. But I didn’t feel any pain or humiliation. I believe the Lord came, and I could hear angels, and the prayers of my Christian friends. When they stepped on me and kicked me, that’s when I felt the prayers; that’s when I felt the presence of God,”‘

Jon was forced to sit naked on ice while men shouted Quranic verses at him. “We’re going to kill you if you don’t confess the Muslim prayer,” they threatened. Jon was beaten with a long thick bamboo canes at least fourteen times. Leaving very noticeable welts on his back.

Through the beatings, and other tortures they began to wear Jon down. Jon still found strength not to deny Jesus. Jon offered this testimonial, “It was then that I saw a vision of Jesus being beaten. I saw the blood of Jesus dripping, and I heard the the gentle voice Holy Spirit telling me not to deny Jesus no matter what. My faith was restored. And I began praising God, and smiling, and laughing, as they best me. I was okay with being beaten. They beat Jesus, too.”

After three days of torture, the religious police released Jon into the custody of the local police, Members of his local church paid his bond, and for now, Jon is free.

(source:Voice of the Martyrs-P.O. Box 443-Bartlesville-Ok-74005-0443-February 2012 issue).