I know we say it a lot about things like this without really meaning it, but this really was a life-changing experience. The things I saw and heard, I pray, will stay with me forever.
The entire conference was one blessing after another, but seeing as it was 4-5 hours long, I can't relay all that occurred here. I can, however, share a few highlights, and over the course of the next few days, this will be the theme of my blog posts.
...............................................................................................................................The first speaker, Robert Broch (long-time staff member with The Voice of the Martyrs), shared with us this acronym: T.W.A.
The Body of Christ (the Church) still suffers today.
We are to remember them, as it says in Hebrews 13:3!
As we serve them, they serve us even more.
It was to help us remember the theme and purpose of the conference: Bound With Them.
Hebrews 13:3 says "Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body." [KJV]
NOTE: Some translations say "those in prison" and this has been mistakenly interpreted to mean anyone who is a prisoner, when the verse specifically means Christians imprisoned for their faith; the mention of the audience being themselves "in the body" tells us that the context is within the body of believers.
The first two points are rather self-explanatory. But what does Mr. Broch mean when he says "As we serve them, they serve us even more"?
Have you ever heard someone who came back from a missions trip overseas say something like: I went thinking that I would save them, but they saved me? Or I went expecting to bless them, but I was the one who was blessed?
Often times it's those who are "empty" and "broken" who teach those who are "full" how to have joy even in adversity. Those who thought they were "full" realize they were "full" with all the wrong things. They lacked the joy that comes out of deep poverty--the poor soul treasures Christ because it realizes He's all it has.
Perhaps that's what Jesus meant when He called the "poor in spirit" "blessed (happy)".
It's the same way with the persecuted Church!
They teach us what true devotion to Christ looks like! They teach us the true worth and the beauty of our God and Savior!