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Posts Tagged ‘martyr’

Precious in the sight of the LORD
Is the death of His godly ones. (Psalm 116:15)

I got a call from Afghanistan early one morning in August and learned that my friend cheryl beckettCheryl Beckett had been killed, along with nine other aid workers. They were ambushed by Islamic militants. I can’t allow myself to even think about how she died. She was a beautiful soul who never failed to lift my spirits with her joy in Christ. … I don’t expect a good answer to why at thirty-two years of age she should be taken. She brought so much strength to the team, and she put Calvary love on display for the Afghan people to see. There are already so few there, so few willing to got there. It still hurts to write about her.       (Tim Keesee, Dispatches From The Front, page 226)

Over the past few years many women have sacrificed their lives in order to show the love of Jesus to the poor in Muslim countries. These women know the dangers. Not only do Muslim men treat women with disdain in their countries, they also especially target all Christians, even women, for arrest, persecution, and/or death.

Religiously, the Muslims are probably among the hardest people in the world to reach for Christ. Muslims are held in bondage to a religion that is very easy to get into – you only need to recite the prayer claiming that Allah is God and Mohammed is his prophet. It is at the same time the hardest religion to get out of – adherents are threatened with death if they think about converting to some other religion. Islam is not a religion of peace; it is a religion of slavery. It is a very dark religion and Muslims need the light of Christ very badly.

Christians have been going to Muslim countries like Afghanistan when they are able to get in. Doctors, nurses, and other caregivers go to help the victims of the Middle East wars. In places like Kabul the Christians are caring for the poor and destitute; the Taliban is not. The Taliban has been targeting aid workers for decades killing many. In spite of this people who care about the innocent women and children in these countries keep going hoping to bring as much aid as possible to those in need.

One such woman was Gayle Williams. (See last week’s post for more on Gayle’s story.) Gayle was a physical therapist who went to Kabul to work with children who were injured by landmines. Gayle had been working in Kandahar, but the threats of death and kidnapping were so great that she went to Kabul. On her way to her office she was gunned down. The Taliban took credit for the slaying saying that Gayle was guilty of the crime of spreading Christianity. Gayle was only one of many Christian aid workers who had been kidnapped or killed.

On August 5, 2010, ten aid workers from International Assistance Mission were killed in Kuran, Afghanistan, on their way to Kabul. Again, the Taliban claimed responsibility for the murders.

The group consisted of six Americans, one German, one Briton and two Afghans. International Assistance Mission organized the trip. The group, led by team leader Tom Little with over 35 years of experience in Afghanistan, was going to distribute eyeglasses, toothbrushes, pain relief, and prenatal care in remote villages that they were traveling to on foot. In short they were on a mission of mercy.

Beckett_WebOne of the team members, Cheryl Beckett – aged 32 at the time, had already traveled around the world. She had been on many church sponsored mission trips and went to Afghanistan six years before this. With a degree in biology, Cheryl wanted to do something really useful for the women and children. Cheryl planted vegetable gardens and tried to establish a park on the east side of Kabul on ground that had been devastated after years of war in Afghanistan. Her hope was that teaching the people how to grow food would help them survive. This is why Cheryl Beckett found herself in Afghanistan. Cheryl loved Christ and Cheryl loved people.

Cheryl also worked in women’s clinics. She worked with women and children to teach them about health. She loved the Afghan people. Cheryl once organized a relief effort for more than 200 Afghan families staying in one dilapidated building with no electricity or heat during the winter. She was not discouraged because her heart of love for the people gave her hope to continue.

Cheryl knew the risks of traveling to remote villages with a group of foreigners. Because of her familiarity with the language she was invited on the fatal expedition. She was going as a medical worker and translator. She was excited about an opportunity to be the “hands and feet” of the Lord Jesus Christ to these needy people. She willingly took the risk because her love for the Lord and these people was so great.

The needs are so great. Christians know that following Christ may cost them their lives. These martyrs are just a few in a long line of those who love Jesus and others enough to take the Gospel wherever they are called. Despite the attack on Cheryl’s group other Islamic Relief groups continue to work in Muslim countries. How can they refuse the call of their Savior to take the light of the Gospel to lost people along with the works of mercy that the Lord Himself would perform?

Many gathered at Cheryl’s funeral in Knoxville, Tennessee. Sadness was expressed at how theCherylBeckett-IAM Taliban treated those who went to their country only to show love. How tragic that the killers took the life of one who denied herself many freedoms in order to live with the Afghan people abiding by their customs and laws.

One of the last to speak at her funeral was Cheryl’s father, Charles. He said that Cheryl was “full of life and laughter.” Cheryl just wanted to get married, live on a farm, and raise children and a garden. She did get to do these things, but only for a short time and only in Afghanistan where she served the Afghans whom she loved so much.

Truly Cheryl showed the love of Jesus to the Afghan people. She sacrificed for them. Now she is with the One Who sacrificed for her.

 

 

 

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For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. (2Corinthians 4:11)

Christians are motivated by their love for Jesus and others to go into very dangerous places in order to help people. One such woman was Gayle Williams. Gayle was a physical therapist who went to Kabul, Afghanistan to work with children who were injured by landmines in thewilliams3 recent Middle East war.

Gayle had been working in Kandahar, but the threats of death and kidnapping were so great that she went to Kabul where it was supposed to be safer. On her way to her office two men on motorcycles rode up to her and shot her. She died almost immediately according to witnesses.

Gayle had been serving a people that she loved. She believed God called her to Afghanistan to work among the marginalized, especially children, who had been injured in the Middle Eastern war. She gave her life to the disadvantaged and forgotten, helping them to get their lives back on track after the war.

Gayle was an unpaid volunteer working with the SERVE Afghanistan organization for about two and a half years. She wanted to raise awareness of disabilities in Afghanistan and as a physical therapist she was trying to work with people in their homes. She was passionate about her work and everyone who knew her described her as a lovely girl.

Gayle had dual British and South African citizenship. She was brought up in South Africa but spent some years in Britain. Gayle spoke the local languages in Afghanistan, Pashtu and Dari.

The SERVE organization sent Gayle to Kabul from Kandahar believing that it would be safer. In fact, the Taliban had been stepping up the killings of relief workers, especially Christians. Three other female Christian relief workers were ambushed and killed in August of that year.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the killing, saying that its leaders ordered Miss Williams’ assassination because she was “spreading Christianity”. The director of SERVE Afghanistan said that it was only a convenient excuse for a “completely opportunistic” killing. The Muslims were resentful of Christian organizations that were working in their country. The director of SERVE also said that Gayle was not proselytizing. She was sharing the Gospel by loving others the way Christ would – working among the poor and disadvantaged.

Why would anyone go to such a dangerous place? The volunteers at SERVE could not turn down the pleas of the Afghan people for help. They knew that it was dangerous but the call of God on their lives to serve these poor people in the name of Jesus was very great. They went willingly, knowing the risks.

How do we understand why the militant Muslims would kill kind people who only came to their country to help the disabled and injured?

Islam is an evil religion. It is not just a religion; it is a Muslim’s total way of life including their government. In most Islamic countries it is against the law to be anything else. All other faiths are persecuted.

Many people think that Muslims are peaceful. Maybe the ones who have escaped their oppressive countries and come to the freedom of the United States are peaceful. But in the main, the Muslim world is an evil, oppressive world. Please get a copy of the Koran and read all of the places where Muhammad tells his followers to kill infidels. For Muslims there is only “them” – infidels, and “us” – the followers of Allah. Allah is NOT the God of the Bible by the way. Allah is hateful, vengeful, autocratic, and a persecutor of women and children. The Muslim religion is nothing like Christianity or Judaism.

So Muslim people need to hear the Gospel very much. They need to hear the good news of forgiveness of sins and life in Jesus Christ. They need to come out of their dark religion into the light of Christianity.

What can we do?

First of all we can pray. Muslims are lost just like anyone else who denies the Lord Jesus Christ. We must witness to the truth to all of the Muslims. Our missionaries need our prayer support very badly; they are going into some of the darkest places on earth spiritually. The persecutions and killings of Christian aid workers has gone unanswered by our government. Loving, compassionate Christians who go to Muslim countries are risking all for the Gospel.

Secondly, we need to educate ourselves as to the truth of Islam. It really is an evil religion and it has an evil founder, Muhammad. What kind of a ruler are the Muslim people following? Like all false prophets, Muhammad was full of conceit.

Muhammad called his followers to wage war on all those who are not Muslims. In the Koran is this verse, “Let those who would exchange the life of this world for the hereafter, fight for the cause of Allah.” If a Muslim wants to go to paradise “jihad is the only way to guarantee their entry to paradise in the hereafter.” No, the Muslim religion is NOT a peaceful religion.

Islam differs from other religions in that it not only threatens hell for nonbelievers; it also threatens death. People blindly follow Muhammad’s teachings because they fear the feeling of sword at their throat.

This great fear keeps people in subservience to their leaders. Islam is against freedom for everyone except the leaders.

True freedom is found only in Jesus Christ.

Gayle Williams was willing to risk her life to share this freedom with others.

At her memorial service her mother said, “We know her life was blessed and she was a blessing to those around her. No one could have asked for a more humble daughter with a loving heart.”

Gayle Williams 2Her colleagues praised her saying, “Gayle never spoke of the rigours and privations of aid work in Kandahar, one of the most difficult places for a young woman to work in the world, but she kept a smile on her face and always had a good-humored chuckle at the difficulties she must have endured. Gayle will be remembered as one of the inspiring people of the world who truly put others before herself.” Gayle was a true follower of Christ.

Gayle is in Heaven now with the Savior that she was privileged to serve. She joins other Christian aid workers, including Cheryl Beckett who was murdered along with nine other aid workers only a few weeks later.

Cheryl’s story will be told in next week’s post.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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