LETTER OF ENCOURAGEMENT FOR MAy 2021
“Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress; I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honour depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge.” (Psalm 62:5–7)
Data confirms that religious persecution is not gender blind. That’s an important finding of the Open Doors 2020 Gender-Specific Religious Persecution report. In nearly all the countries studied, women were targeted for persecution in different ways than were men. Most startling, though, is the fact that sexual violence against women is highly reported across all regions, leading Open Doors to declare it a global calamity.
At the same time, according to the Global Fund for Women, the refugee crisis in the Middle East is getting worse. Refugee camps are packed with thousands of people living in extreme poverty, without access to the basics they need. Violence against women is becoming the “new normal” in camps across Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, and Iraq.
When we consider our prayers for unreached people groups and refugees in the months ahead, we can’t ignore that many women fall into both categories and are subject to vile persecution. They are subject to sexual violation because of their faith or their refugee status. Unreached refugee women account for a significant portion of those who live with this persecution. My heart breaks for these women, and I pray that as we come to God with our requests, we may also be emboldened to fight for protection and peace for women who are unreached, seeking refuge and facing persecution around the world.
Many persecuted women persevere through the trauma because they have children with them in the refugee camps. Women refugees do not have protection in the crowded camps and are left to fight this abuse on their own. Let us remember that even as we grieve, our hearts can be restored in the truth that God is a refuge. With God as our rock, may our prayers for these traumatized women give them hope because they have not been forgotten by their Father in heaven.
Thank you for faithfully seeking God on behalf of unreached, refugee and persecuted women everywhere. The requests we receive and provide through our prayer calendar come directly from our teams serving in countries where women are violated every day.
Check out my article “Exploring Hope Today” in June for some additional personal thoughts on “God, my refuge.”
In him our hearts rejoice.
Dr. Peggy Banks
Global Ministry Director
TWR Women of Hope
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