For many secret believers who have converted from Islam and live in southeast Asia, any Christian holiday except Christmas can be impossible to celebrate openly. Even many churches in southeast Asia don’t do programs outside of their church buildings for Easter—to do so can attract unwanted attention. This often means the only way that secret Christians can “celebrate” Easter is to refer to the Easter Bunny!
Recently our field partners in the region asked a secret believer to share what Easter means to them. She came to know Christ and is forced to keep her faith underground for her safety. And yet, she pleads with the church to be more inclusive of secret Christians in her country. Here’s what she told us:
What is Easter? I’m not too sure.
I was brought up as a Muslim. As a child, I have never heard of any stories from religions other than Islam. We were told to never ask questions or show interest in other beliefs—it could be an act of blasphemy. So, I never got the chance to ask: What is Easter?
I used to watch movies where they mentioned Easter. There was always the “Easter Bunny.” They are usually these rabbits handing out Easter eggs. The eggs came in all sorts of colors and patterns. Sometimes, during this time of year, I scroll on my phone and see kids doing an Easter Egg hunt with their friends. It seems fun.
But I still didn’t know: What is Easter?
When I finally became a believer, I became a part of a small community of other secret believers like me. We share our stories; we share our burdens, and we share God’s Word. But we don’t really involve ourselves with the open church—it is too high a risk.
We do see leaflets from churches advertising their Easter services where they will talk about the resurrection of Jesus. Sometimes, brave leaders of some of those churches will reach out to us and organize a get-together or fellowship. But during this time of year, most of them are too busy with their Easter weekend. There was no time to answer our question: What is Easter?
In this country, the majority of the population are Muslims, and we don’t really celebrate Easter. There is no such thing as an Easter public holiday—we only have Christmas. Because of this, some years, I don’t even notice it is Easter.
As a secret believer in this country that I live in, we were not exposed to a lot of Christian celebrations, especially Easter. Most of us never celebrated it in our lives, so we tend to just ignore it. It took me years until I finally understood the significance of Easter—and it is indeed very significant. I wish that I knew about it sooner; I wish to be part of a community that knows Easter. So today I pray that believers out there would reach out to people like us more, especially on this special day, so our faith can be strengthened by finally helping us answer the question: What is Easter?
How you can pray:
Top photo is representative only.
- Pray for secret believers in this country; pray that public Christians would have the courage and be able to reach out to them to share the true meaning and the good news of Easter.
- Pray that secret believers are given the chance to celebrate Easter and understand the true meaning of Easter, that their faith will continue to be strengthened and they can be salt and light in their community.
- Pray for secret believers around the world this Easter, as they seek to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, even as they risk so much to follow Jesus.