The plight of imprisoned Pastor Andrew Brunson shines a light on the darkness of persecuted Christians around the world.
Brunson was jailed in 2016 over charges he aided terrorist organizations. Supporters say it was actually over his Christian faith.
Meanwhile, three Americans were freed from a North Korea prison at the behest of President Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in May. Among them, missionary Kim Dong-chul.
According to a study from CESNUR, 90,000 Christians were killed for their faith in 2016 alone.
Ramon Barboa of Voice of the Martyrs, says Turkey and North Korea are just a few of the countries where Christian missionaries, and really, believers in general face danger and even death.
Speaking to the crowd at the National African American Missions Conference, Barboa recounts the story of Brother John from Syria.
Despite the war and years of threats from ISIS, he says there are churches in Damascus filled with believers like John, worshipping through the danger.
“Trials and tribulations come because they bring us to our knees,” he said.
Barboa says the goal of The Voice of the Martyrs is to get the stories of persecuted Christians to the Sunday morning pews.
“Many times we like to think them and us. Like they have a special Holy Spirit and they have a different one. It’s the same God,” he encouraged.
“You and I are brothers and sisters in Christ. When you suffer, I suffer also,“ he said of fellow believers world-wide.
Barboa states the faith of the Christian brothers and sisters abroad is steadfast and resourceful, despite the circumstances.
“I know one particular preacher in Africa, had one page of the Bible and for five years, he preached off of that one page of the Bible,” he said.
And it’s not just in Africa.
“You can’t have a Bible in Iran, so what they do, they tell a story. They memorize,” he said.
Voice of the Martyrs is a Christian organization advocating for and offering support to persecuted Christians in “restricted” and “hostile” nations.
The National African-American Missions conference began in 2014. The goal of the conference is to “minister to the hearts of African Americans who have an interest in serving as missionaries.”
The three day event featured speakers from around the world and across the faith community and tackled tough subjects such as caring for refugees and reaching the unreached in Africa.