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“In Peru, Christians don’t expect to get something for serving Jesus,” said Pastor Zapata. “They expect to give something.” Outside the quiet mountain village, Pastor Zapata showed his guests a row of handmade white crosses, each representing a Christian killed by Communist insurgents.

Lying in front of Pastor Zapata inside the small village home was the body of another pastor who had been killed the night before by guerrillas. His body, covered with a simple blanket, was surrounded by candles and grieving family members.

Outside in the rain, the congregation of the murdered pastor sang praise choruses. Their shoes were covered in mud. Guerrillas had destroyed their church and burned many of their homes. Yet they sang praise.

The Christians were not out of danger, because guerillas could return at any time. Pastors were often singled out, since pastors strengthened the whole village to stand against Marxist incursion.

The pastor reminded the listeners that the Bible calls on us to seek God, not the material blessings that come from God’s hand. “Why do you buy a shirt?” he asked the people. “To use it. Why did Jesus redeem you and buy you with his own blood? To use you for his kingdom.”

These impoverished believers were ready for God to use them.

When we are persecuted for our faith, it is easy to get overly focused on our losses. We may mourn former friends who have rejected us for our beliefs. We may miss the business opportunities we used to have. We feel sorry for ourselves when we are left out of social circles. However, there are many others who have lost far more than material possessions or superficial relationships. These stout believers focus on what remains to be given in Christ’s service—not on what is already lost. Many of them have lost their churches, homes, jobs, and families to religious persecution. Yet they are willing to give more in sacrifice to the cause of Christ. They recognize their earthly loss is another person’s opportunity to gain salvation.

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