Thankfully, I've Been Persecuted For My Faith! - Finds.Life.Church

Thankfully, I’ve Been Persecuted For My Faith!

by Shanna Crawford

Shanna Crawford and her husband, Jerome, are the founders of Komeo International Ministries. In 2008, they started a sponsorship program for an orphanage in Wellington, Sierra Leone. Shanna and Jerome have experienced the kind of pure joy that only comes from doing exactly what you believe God has asked you to do—but it wasn’t easy. God asked them return to living in war-torn Sierra Leone during the height of the Ebola crisis. When they decided to leave their children in the U.S. in order to follow what they believed to be God’s lead, they got a surprising response from some of their Christian friends: pushback. Read what Shanna has to say about being thankful, even for enduring persecution for her faith.  

I’ve been persecuted for my faith. And it hurt—a lot. Am I angry or sad about it? Not in the least. In fact, I’m extremely thankful to have been persecuted for my faith. That might sound strange, but it’s absolutely true.

Let me explain. We knew we were called by God to return to Sierra Leone to do His work. We truly believed that was the only path we could follow and still be obedient to God’s calling on our lives. Yet, concerned supporters threatened to remove their support, friends publicly rebuked us, and locals begged us not to return for fear we’d be robbed or die from the raging Ebola outbreak. It wasn’t easy or natural, but we resolved to obey God to the best of our abilities. A week later, our board members unanimously decided to send us in faith.

So, we packed our bags, hugged our kids, and went to the airport. While waiting on our flight, social media comments poured in calling us un-American and un-Christian. Honestly, I questioned God’s call. Did we really hear from Him? Fears tried to consume every ounce of peace God had given me. As I sifted through the comments, I weighed them against the words of Scripture. I memorized this verse because it gave me the courage I needed to follow His calling.

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. ‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭5:10‬ ‭NIV‬‬

I finally got it. Persecution isn’t something to fear because it makes us more like Jesus. God Himself promised to restore me to a stronger and more steadfast version of myself. I was being persecuted for my faith—but I was learning to be thankful for it!

When we landed in Africa, we made the long drive through countless Ebola checkpoints. Soldiers with machine guns took our temperatures and checked for signs of Ebola before letting us pass.

We reached our destination at the orphanage in Wellington, where the kids had been quarantined for several months. Some of the littlest ones ran up and wrapped their arms around us! It was in this moment that the joy of doing His will tipped the scales against the opposition we had faced.

Thankfully, I’d been persecuted for my faith!

We started relief work and community events with the little money we had. During the first community event, a well-known politician gave his life to Christ. He then told the crowd that our choice to leave America and come to his country proved to him that Jesus is true!

Thankfully, I was persecuted for my faith!

Within the next 24 hours, all the finances we needed to complete our mission work came through. We traveled from morning to night for days delivering 30 tons of rice, hundreds of Bibles, and the living hope of Christ.

Thankfully, I’d been persecuted for my faith!

Was it hard? Yes. Was it worth it? Yes! It only seemed to spread our message while increasing our joy.

Tangible. Indescribable. Joy!

Thankfully, we’d been persecuted for our faith!

In what ways is God calling you leave “normal” behind to do His work? You may be mocked, ridiculed, and persecuted. But, like me, you can rejoice and be thankful you are counted worthy to be persecuted for the sake of His name!