ROCKFORD – Area residents will have the opportunity to hear a speech by “Robert B” at the Rockford United Methodist Church at 6:30 on Saturday evening. The speaker is associated with the worldwide organization “National Open Doors USA,” geared to distribution of Bibles in countries where heavy Christian persecution is appearing.

Organizational leaders have asked that the speaker’s name not be used due to the extreme danger of persecution in countries where the Bible distribution is occurring. He will be sharing the story of the spread of the Christian faith under extreme danger in several Middle East and East Asia countries.

With much discussion centering in Sierra Leone, Africa, the youth pastor’s wife, Kara Rupp, will be sharing a typical African meal at 5:30 p.m. for those who would like to participate.

“It’s a dangerous job, we can’t use his name or his picture,” commented church member Norm Pankop, who is heading up the program from the United Methodist Church. “Open Doors smuggles Bibles and cares for humanitarian needs in those countries. It makes sense to work with a small church.

“The 5:30 meal is to demonstrate what African food is like,” continued Pankop. “In some parts of Africa, you might have foods but not enough.”

“Open Doors” was founded by “Brother Andrew” in 1955. It was mainly the beginning of a “smuggling Bible” ministry at the beginning. Overall, the organization currently smuggle Bibles, trains and supports in over 60 countries. In 1981, $1 million Bibles were distributed in China. It is estimated now that over $2 million Bibles and pieces of Christian literature are distributed consistently.

“Open Door” officials noted that Christians remain one of the most persecuted religious groups in the world. While Christian persecution takes many forms, it is definitely as any hostility experienced as a result of identification with Christ. Christian torture remains an issue for believes throughout the world including the risk imprisonment, loss of homes and assets, physical torture, beheading, rape and even death as a result of their faith.

Trends show that countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East are intensifying persecution against Christians, and perhaps the most vulnerable are Christian women, who often face double persecution for faith and gender.

Officials note that every month 345 Christians are killed for faith-related reasons, 105 churches and Christian buildings are burned or attacked and 219 Christians are detained without trial, arrested, sentenced and imprisoned.