I love Journey Church so deeply. I am so, so grateful for the caring, serving. sacrificing people of our community of faith. I truly hope that we will understand how blessed we are.

I think of how other believers in Christ are treated in certain places. According to a BBC report, the persecution of Christians in parts of the world is at near “genocide” levels. I was shocked and saddened that on Easter Sunday more than 250 people were killed and more than 500 wounded in attacks at hotels and churches in Sri Lanka.

Christianity “is at risk of disappearing” in some parts of the world. It is facing being “wiped out” from parts of the Middle East. Christians in Palestine represent less than 1.5% of the population, while in Iraq they have fallen from 1.5 million before 2003 to less than 120,000.

According to Human Rights Watch what is taking place in China “makes a mockery of the government's claim that it respects religious beliefs.” Some churchgoers’ homes have been ransacked. Some have been placed “under house arrest or are followed all the time.” Some have tried to gather for worship but got taken away. Church buildings have been manned with police and plain-clothes officers, not allowing anyone to enter to worship. Despite this, the Christian population in China has grown steadily in recent years. There are now an estimated 100 million Christians in China, many of them worshipping in underground churches.

I hope we will not take for granted the privilege of gathering for worship. I hope we will boldly take up the challenge of sharing our faith in Jesus, believing deep in our souls that the church, as the body of Christ, is the hope of the world. I look forward to worshipping with you soon!

- Michael DuVal