One is a former FBI agent, the other a longtime missionary.
In their respective ways, they’re intent on raising awareness of Christians facing persecution across the world.
Patrick Carberry, who was with the FBI for 17 years, worked on intelligence matters in the Middle East war zones of Iraq and Afghanistan.
Nik Ripken has served with his wife Ruth as International Mission Board missionaries for 35 years.
And each of the men, through their nonprofit organizations, has produced a film.
Recently in Washington, Carberry premiered “Christians in the Mirror,” focusing on members of persecuted and displaced Christian communities in the Middle East, Asia and Africa. The documentary will be screened again the evening before the State Department’s second Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom opens July 16 in the nation’s capital.
Ripken adapted his autobiographical book, “The Insanity of God — A True Story of Faith Resurrected,” into a dramatic movie released in 2016 recounting his family’s experiences as they ministered in the Middle East and Africa.
Patrick Carberry ‘had to do something’
Observing persecution among Christians in Iraq and Afghanistan is what compelled Carberry to establish Joshuacord, based in Valrico, Fla. The nonprofit’s name refers to the red rope mentioned in Joshua, chapter 2. It was a symbol of support — a lifeline — for the family of Rahab, the ancestor of Jesus who helped the Israelite spies escape from Jericho.
While working in Mideast war zones, Carberry said he saw “the travesty that’s been happening to so many minority religions, including Christians” who have been persecuted by ISIS and other anti-Christian factions.
“So when I got back I asked, ‘What are we doing as a community — the big ‘C’ church — in helping these Christians?'” He said he found little being done “to raise awareness of what was going on out there,” which he said was often “basically genocide.” In this “an epiphany of sorts … I believed I had to do something” as “a wakeup call to the churches.”
Joshuacord encourages prayer for the persecuted, as well as support through donations, volunteerism and participation in the annual Joshua 1:9 Freedom 5K Run, an event established in 2013, which collects entry fees.
Carberry forwards donations and other financial support to four organizations in Joshuacord’s countries of primary focus: Afghanistan, Egypt, Iraq, Nigeria, Somalia and Syria. He said he has carefully vetted these partners: Good Shepherd Academy in South Sudan; the American Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East; Syriac Orthodox Church for the Little Angels Orphanage; and Coptic Orphans.
Nik Ripken underscores persecuted church’s witness
Ripken, in a phone interview from his home in Kentucky, said he experienced persecution firsthand during a 35-year missions career. “I’ve been shot at; I’ve been held for half a day at a time, just people trying to shake me down for money. And there’s been a lot of dangerous situations.” Also, in 1997 their son Timothy died in a Nairobi, Kenya, hospital of cardiac arrest from an asthma attack.
The couple plans to retire from IMB service in March 2020 but will continue their work through Nik Ripken Ministries, which produces and distributes materials “to challenge believers to boldly follow Jesus, sharing their faith with others — no matter the cost,” the nikripken.com website states, noting the ministry’s mission: “to expand the Kingdom of God by sharing truths and practices learned from believers in persecution.”
“We’re booked through 2020,” Ripken said. “We’re speaking at least two to three times a month.” And “for the first time,” Ripken said he’s “actively trying to raise support so we can continue doing what we’ve been doing for a long, long time. I’m 66 and we’ll do this as long as we’re healthy, but there’s such a hunger for this message,” which the website explains:
“From the world’s point of view, the cross of Jesus will always be a stumbling block…. Today, as throughout all of history, a God who ‘so loves the world that he gave his only begotten Son’” is seen as having committed “an act of insanity.” And “For those of us who know Jesus, we want to model such insanity,” which, Ripken said in the interview, “believers in persecution have modeled for us.”
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Source: Baptist Press