A pastor in Southeast Asia who was surrounded by Islamic extremists seeking to kill him for his faith has shared how, after he refused to bow down, God placed a "shield" around him the jihadists were unable to penetrate.
Pastor Amin, who leads a large church in an undisclosed location, told persecution watchdog Open Doors USA of the continued deaths threats he's received from Muslims because of his faith.
One threat became a reality when a jihadist faced him, toe-to-toe, and hissed, "I am a faithful Muslim . . . so I have to participate in jihad."
Pastor Amin believed the terrifying moment would be his last on earth, but faced it without fear: "Kill me if you must. Here I am!" he said defiantly.
Upon hearing his words, two would-be assailants were dumbfounded: "Never had they seen such courage and calmness in the face of almost certain death," reads the Open Doors report. "It was almost as if God had put a shield around the Pastor they knew they couldn't penetrate."
News of Pastor Amin's continued boldness in the face of overwhelming obstacles quickly spread, and his church has rapidly grown as a result - and consists mostly of former Muslims.
"My place is here, preaching the gospel to Muslims," he told the outlet. "If you love Christ, you follow Him and do His will. If you love and follow Christ, you will not be afraid."
He has organized youth evangelistic trips, where they preached the gospel to Muslims and distributed Bibles and other Christian literature. He has also operated missionary schools and summer camps for Muslim children.
Pastor Amin still receives death threats regularly, a fact that makes him sad but has not changed his determination to see Muslims come to Christ.
"I will never hide!" he said.
According to Open Doors, the pastor has asked Christians worldwide not to pray he is removed from danger, but that he will be strengthened so he can continue to spread the gospel among those who don't know the truth.
Last week, the outlet released its annual World Watch List of 50 countries where Christians face the most persecution.
According to the report, persecution rose globally for a third year in a row, with countries in South and Southeast Asia rising rapidly in danger levels, almost matching the severe persecution Christians face in the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa. Islamic extremism remained the top driver of Christian persecution, and was the primary reason for the oppression of Christians in 35 out of the 50 nations listed.
"The Open Doors World Watch List is the most accurate, thorough and intensive research available on the persecution of Christians," said David Curry, president and CEO of Open Doors USA.
"It calculates not only deaths reported in the news, but also persecution at a grassroots level, where family-to-family persecution is tracked. The 25-year research shows where the most unstable areas for Christians have historically been and, in many countries, remain."