Climbing For Christ

TAKING THE GOSPEL TO MOUNTAINOUS AREAS OF THE WORLD WHERE OTHER MISSIONARIES CANNOT OR WILL NOT GO

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Gary Fallesen

2023 World Watch List

Do not forsake our brothers and sisters!

Where in the world is it the hardest to be a Christian?

North Korea returned to the No. 1 spot on the 2023 World Watch List compiled by Open Doors ministry after having been supplanted by Afghanistan in 2022. Rounding out the top five are (in order) Somalia, Yemen, Eritrea, and Libya – all Muslim countries. In fact, eight of the top 10 and 31 of the 50 nations are ranked because of Islamic oppression.

That includes three of the countries in which Climbing For Christ works: Pakistan (at No. 7), Indonesia (No. 33), and Turkey (No. 41).

One other country in which C4C serves made the World Watch List: India at No. 11. One country (Nepal) dropped off the list for the first time in years.

This is the 30th annual World Watch List, which ranks the 50 countries where it is most dangerous and difficult to be a Christian. Worldwide, 1 in 7 Christians live in nations with high levels of persecution or discrimination, including 2 in 5 believers in Asia and 1 in 5 in Africa.

The “biggest threat to the Church in countries with persecution is decrease of resilience caused by incessant persecution and the feeling of being forsaken by the rest of the body of Christ,” Open Doors managing director of research Frans Veerman told Christianity Today.

For this reason, we must encourage and pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ in these persecuted places.

Here are the 50 countries where it is considered most dangerous to be a Christian:

Extreme Persecution

1.    North Korea (#2 last year; main religion: Agnosticism; source of persecution: dictatorship)
2.    Somalia (#3; Islamic oppression)
3.    Yemen (#5; Islamic oppression)
4.    Eritrea (#6; Islamic oppression)
5.    Libya (#4; Islamic oppression)
6.    Nigeria (#7; Christian; Islamic oppression)
7.    Pakistan (#8; Islamic oppression)
8.    Iran (#9; Islamic oppression)
9.    Afghanistan (#1; Islamic oppression)
10.    Sudan (#13; Islamic oppression)
11.    India (#10; Hinduism; religious nationalism)

Very High Persecution

12.    Syria (#15; Islamic oppression)
13.    Saudi Arabia (#11; Islamic oppression)
14.    Myanmar (#12; Buddhism; religious nationalism)
15.    Maldives (#16; Islamic oppression)
16.    China (#17; Agnosticism; communist oppression)
17.    Mali (#24; Islamic oppression)
18.    Iraq (#14; Islamic oppression)
19.    Algeria (#22; Islamic oppression)
20.    Mauritania (#23; Islamic oppression)
21.    Uzbekistan (#21; Islamic oppression)
22.    Colombia (#30; Christian; organized corruption and crime)
23.    Burkina Faso (#32; Islamic oppression)
24.    Central African Republic (#31; Christian; Islamic oppression)
25.    Vietnam (#19; Buddhism; communist oppression)
26.    Turkmenistan (#25; Islamic oppression)
27.    Cuba (#37; Christian; communist oppression)
28.    Niger (#33; Islamic oppression)
29.    Morocco (#27; Islamic oppression)
30.    Bangladesh (#29; Islamic oppression)
31.    Laos (#26; Buddhism; communist oppression)
32.    Mozambique (#41; Christian; Islamic oppression)
33.    Indonesia (#28; Islamic oppression)
34.    Qatar (#18; Islamic oppression)
35.    Egypt (#20; Islamic oppression)
36.    Tunisia (#35; Islamic oppression)
37.    Congo DR (#40; Christian; Islamic oppression)
38.    Mexico (#43; Christian; organized corruption and crime)
39.    Ethiopia (#38; Christian; Islamic oppression)
40.    Bhutan (#34; Buddhism; religious nationalism)
41.    Turkey (#42; Islamic oppression)
42.    Comoros (unranked; Islamic oppression)
43.    Malaysia (#50; Islamic oppression)
44.    Tajikistan (#45; Islamic oppression)
45.    Cameroon (#44; Christian; Islamic oppression)
46.    Brunei (#46; Islamic oppression)
47.    Oman (#36; Islamic oppression)
48.    Kazakhstan (#47; Islamic oppression)
49.    Jordan (#39; Islamic oppression)
50.    Nicaragua (unranked; Christian; communist oppression)

NOTE: Nepal (#48 in 2022) and Kuwait (#49) were removed from the top 50 on the World Watch List.  

The final Word

If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad.” – 1 Corinthians 12:26 (NLT)
 

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