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The following program contains sensitive content. Listener discretion is advised. Welcome to Lantern Rescue, a ministry program dedicated to bringing light into the darkness of human trafficking. It's time to light the way to freedom. This is Lantern Rescue. We tell the stories, we talk about rescues, and we empower you to do something about it.
William Wilberforce once said, let it not be said I was silent when they needed me. This is Lantern Rescue. Oh, it's again another exciting episode of Lantern Rescue today, and I couldn't be more thrilled because we have a couple good friends with us.
This is sort of a part-due, although I know it wasn't last week that you heard the previous episode, but you may want to go back to the podcast page if you subscribe to the podcast and listen to the episode that we did previously with Kay John to get the whole story. But we're so excited today to have back with us both Whitney there in the home office with Lantern Rescue, as well as Kay John, one of our operators on the recovery and extraction team, which that's the team that deals with people who are undergoing religious persecution. And so part of what Lantern Rescue does is they literally extract people that are being persecuted and then help them to recover.
So welcome back, Whitney. So as a result of experiencing religious persecution in the first place, this has become my calling for my life to serve the victims of religious persecution, and that is something I have done back in my native country and I'm doing here now in North America as well as many other countries around the globe. And I know those of you listening are so excited to hear how God is using these, you know, as it's fascinating how in Saint Corinthians it says God, the God of all comfort comforts us so that we can comfort others. And so we get to hear the other side of that story on how God is comforting us, comfort those that because of what Kay John has been through. So stay tuned. We got so much more Lantern Rescue coming up.
Go to lanternrescue.org. Whitney Espich… Working with persecuted people for religion. So I'm excited to have Kay John tell us a little bit more about his story. And it's like you said, if you missed the first part, wow, chime back in because it is, it's amazing. Kay John… Yes, thank you, Whitney. Yes, there is a reason why I do what I do, and that is my whole life is dedicated to serve the persecuted. And not only Christian persecuted, Christian, but anybody who is being persecuted in the name of religion.
And there are reasons. So let me take you back. Last week, you heard about my testimony that how God led me to his grace and accepted me as his redeemed son. During that period of seven years, starting from 1995 ending in 2002, when Jesus changed my life on February 2nd, 2002.
During those seven years, there were two monumental pivotal events, which I would love to share with my audience today. That one was that when I basically gave up on an earthly hope, and I thought it's too much, I need to seek help and find out the way how I can bring my older sister, the first converting my family back to Islam. So I went on to seek advice and counsel from a Mufti Imam, who is a higher rank Muslim cleric. And when I went and talked with the Imam, he wrote on a piece of paper, a decree, religious decree, which is called Fatwa, entertaining the thought that if there is no way for anyone to leave Islam, and if anyone leaves Islam and converts to any other religion or no religion, they are punishable to death. So I took that piece of paper and I thought that this will be a very good tool in my hands to set my life, my sister's sister to death, so that she can give up all that practice, practicing Christianity and she will come back to Islam.
Who in the world wants to lose the life? So I took that fatwa and as I made it to my sister's home, I saw my younger sister and met her there and I was already concerned. And when I saw her there, I asked her, what you are doing here and come out with me.
I have news to share with you. And I remember that my older sister was living next to a church and we sat down on the side of the wall of that church. I am my younger sister now and I started telling her, I was thinking that I am breaking a news to her that our older sister has converted to Christianity.
But I found out that that wasn't the case. And when I got to the point where I showed her that fatwa, that religious decree, which entertained the idea to kill someone if that person leaves Islam, my younger sister started crying. She broke down in tears and she said, why you want to harm our older sister? Go, if you want to do so, go and kill mother. And I said, why should I kill mother?
She said, because all of us have found the truth and we all are the followers of Christ. Friends now, it has been 20 years now, basically 24 years, that was 1998. And I can still a little comfortably share. I broke down that night. That still is the most painful night in my whole life till today. I was trying to hurt myself. I was shaking her badly. I was begging her. I was begging to her. It was just like that emotional turmoil that that went on. And I remember that when I couldn't console myself, I decided to leave because pain became unbearable. And as I was walking away, she asked me that, what do you think who that person is?
Is that not a human being like you? So if you believe, I know this, my younger sister is talking to me. And she's saying to me that if you believe that Allah is the true creator, then go and ask Allah and Allah should help you in first place and help us also because we all worshiped Him and followed Him.
And that was a fair challenge. So when that night I made it back to my place, I just started praying. I offered salah all night. I offered, I kept praying, praying, praying until the morning when my body gave up, my legs gave up. I collapsed on the ground. I passed out, basically. And when I came back to my conscious, I was just so much in pain. I just started arguing with Allah.
I basically started like fighting and I started asking, why you have been there? I worshiped you. I offered even two additional times of prayer, tahajjud and ashrak. Muslims know what those prayers are, devout Muslims. And in addition to five regular prayers, and I worshiped you, I fast during the month of Ramadan, and now this is my time of need and you have abandoned me, you are not answering me. Why even in first place you let my sister convert to Christianity? And there was no answer.
There was absolute silence. And that was one event which led me to start feeling angry towards Allah because then in the time of need, Allah abandoned me. That was my feeling. So that led me to start investigating other religions. And when I was doing that, within a few months, my sister, the older sister, called me. And as you heard last week, that she presented the challenge.
She knew, she played it well. She knew my nature and presented the idea to start praying to the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob. And by the way, all the Muslims do believe that Ibrahim is Hath Yaqub, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob are the messengers, prophets of Allah. So they do believe in them.
So it was a fair challenge, fair idea. So I started praying to the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob. And whenever I would pray from there on, I will pray, Oh God, Oh Buddha, Oh God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, if you are the true creator, help me, help me to find you, help me to understand who you are, help me to rescue and help my sister and my mother and my brother and my younger sister, even, and help all of us because there was a fear and it was legitimate that if Muslims find out about the conversion of my family, they're not only going to come and kill all of them, they're going to kill all of us, they're going to kill my dad, they're going to kill me.
And that trauma, that challenge, that fear was there. And Buddha confirmed that how to find, because deep down there was a desire that there is always, I mean, I always believe that there is a creator. This world is not just a result of a coincidence and I need to find out that creator, I need to hear from that. And so then I shared last week that in 2002, finally God answered my prayers, the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Jesus answered my prayers, he appeared to me, I saw him physically and I do believe in miracles and I believe because this is who I am in Christ. He rescued me.
I don't have any credentials, I don't have any abilities, neither human or supernatural. It was him, it is his grace. He plucked me out of the darkness and saved my life forever. So right after that, when I accepted Christ, or he, better say, that he accepted me as his son in 2002, I went through persecution while I was going through those different, during those different kinds of persecution, when my life was threatened, very quickly that helped me to grow a great desire to help persecuted Christians. And even in fact, at first I started thinking about, as a human being, I started thinking about why people need to persecute, even in first place, anyone who wants to exercise this very fundamental right to exercise a religion or no religion at all, why people are not able to resolve things through dialogue, through interfaith dialogue, or through discussions or talking to each other instead of trying to kill others. So I wanted to help people to understand that there shouldn't be any persecution in the name of religion, any religion. So I thought I developed a great desire to help the persecuted believers, not only believers, but anybody who is persecuted in the name of religion.
So God helped me to start a business back there in my native country, and that business grew to a successful level, and I had now more financial resources, more influence. So I started a ministry back there in my native country, which focused on helping the victims of religious persecution. And I will repeat it over and over again that religious persecution is one thing, and then when we try to study or investigate the religious persecution, this is unfortunate that 83% of the religious persecution happens towards Christians in today's world. And these are not the numbers I am making up. There is Open Doors, a wonderful organization, there is PEW.org, PEW Institute, they have done some research. State Department just issued their report a few months back in 2022 on the topic of religious persecution, and in that they admit that majority of the religious persecution, I think their numbers say 80% happens towards Christians in today's world. So living in that kind of world where there are 340 million Christians who face a severe persecution every year, you don't have to find any numbers that will allow them help. I hate to leave everybody at this point of the story, but we got to go a break.
We'll be right back. Lantern Rescue is a USA-based organization that conducts international rescue operations for people suffering from human trafficking. Lantern specializes in sending former U.S. Special Operation law enforcement and intelligence personnel to partner with host nations and assist them in creating specialized units to combat ongoing security problems, such as genocide, terrorism, and human trafficking.
As a nonprofit charity, they offer services free of charge to their host nations. Human trafficking has grown into the second largest criminal activity in the world, reaching an estimated $150 billion in annual activity. Lantern Rescue has developed rapidly to combat trafficking. Lantern operates through a trained international network in order to rescue women and children from sex and labor slavery, and facilitates holistic aftercare services.
They're gearing up for operations right now, and you can go to lanternrescue.org to see how you can support them financially. Well, welcome back to Lantern Rescue and another one of our recovery and extraction team episodes with one of the operators out there that I think you're all so blessed to hear his story, Kay John, and now we're getting to the part where he actually joins Lantern Rescue. So, Whitney, I'll let you set that up.
Yeah, sure. Thanks, Robbie. You know, it's interesting sitting here listening again, and I've heard Kay John's story many times, but I couldn't help but tears just still well up when I think about him talking to his younger sister and learning that his whole family had come to know Christ and he wasn't aware of that. And so there's just so many pieces of it when we see God intricately weaving together his story, and the beauty of that is Lantern has been so blessed to also be a part of that tapestry. And, you know, I'll let Kay John tell you a little bit more about how he came about Lantern Rescue and really the work that has just been done since then and is continuing. So Kay John, I'm gonna let you take it away.
Oh, thank you, Whitney, once again. Yes, so it all started in 2005, and I was investigated, persecuted, and back in my native country, I started serving the persecuted Christians there, and then the need grew very quickly, and we were finding even Muslims who were being persecuted by their own people. We rescued thousands during the period between 2005 and 2010. That was the year when I was thrown out of the country.
I was forced to leave the country after I was given death threats and what was issued against my own life. But that journey never stopped. When I came to the United States, being a civil engineer in early 2011, I found a job with a construction company. I started working. But as I said earlier, this was always on my heart to serve the persecuted, so I was continuously praying, Lord, what is the greater purpose? Is that all that you want me to bring here and leave a prosperous, healthy, good life, or there is more to it? And it wasn't long after that in right within one year God brought a Jordanian fellow here who was given death threats in New York and here in the state of North Carolina, and now my audience can go, wow, we always hear that persecution does happen, but it happens in Nigeria, in Pakistan, in Afghanistan, in Somalia, in Yemen, in Syria.
Here, yes, friends, it's not to that extent, it's not to that extent, but it does happen here. So we were able to, I was able to rescue him because of my previous knowledge and experience. We hosted him at our home, and then it was a long road of recovery. But that didn't stop there. Then within a few months and years, then there was another case here, then there was another girl, then there was another person. So between year 2002 and 2012, forgive me, between year 2012 and 2017, God brought eight different people who were threatened, their lives were threatened, they were being persecuted here in our own country.
And I can share a lot of details about them, but I will leave those details out of the conversation here for today, and I will jump on to 2017. Then I just decided that after feeling that God was leading me to transition to full-time in ministry, serving the persecuted, so I started praying, and I asked my wife that this is going to take a lot of sacrifices. There might be again persecution and death steps to our lives, but let's pray and fast and ask God, and God led us to start working more formally in this ministry. And in the year 2018 came, and I dedicated my life to work full time in serving the persecuted church and asking them in their recovery and extraction, and that was it. I did not know at that time about Mark or what Lenten rescue was doing, and I started praying, and God has certainly everything set up in His plan and according to His plan.
So one of my pastors from my church, he one day called me and wrote me an email and told me that he wanted to introduce me to one of another good friend of him, and he thinks that the pastor thought that it will be a good kind of life connection, that he felt God was leading for that, and that's how I met Mark, and we became friends, and I remember we started talking over the phone and then met, and it wasn't, I mean, I'm telling you that things were so quick because it wasn't neither his plan nor mine. It was God's plan, and God brought us together, and I became part of Lenten Rescue, and now, as I said earlier, that I work with them, and we focus on that excellent recovery and extraction. We are in so many different regions. I don't need to name all of them, but just to give an example, we have served and rescued hundreds of believers and non-believers out of Palestine. We have served people, persecuted believers in Syria, in Greece, in Iran, in Turkey, in Malaysia, in India, and this goes on.
You can name a region, and you will find us there. We are thankful to God that God has given us this ability, and all that credit doesn't belong to us. It is God who is working, but who is working through you, who are our listeners today, that all of you support us to make it happen. Without your help, without your support, we cannot do it. Without your prayers, we cannot even move an inch. These are your prayers and then your precious investments that you trust us, and then that's how we are able to function in all those regions.
They are not only Christians, certainly Christians at large, but people are being persecuted in the name of religion, and we find ourselves in this capacity to serve them. So I serve with that particular segment of the ministry, which is rescue and extraction or recovery and extraction, and we have a specialized extraction team, people who know the job. They are tactical. They know what it takes to rescue someone, what it requires to go in that situation, like when someone is facing death threats and pluck them out of that danger, out of those danger circumstances or event and bring them to safety. So as Whitney mentioned earlier, I think during last episode that we focus on three aspects, rescue, refuge, and replenish.
These three sub-segments of the ministry are self-explanatory, rescue, under rescue. We certainly go and make sure that one's life is safe. We extract them, we recover them, we rescue them, we bring them to the safe location, and then certainly it's not it.
We don't leave them there. That requires a short-term and long-term recovery plan, a short-term and long-term resettlement plan, that their lives lead investment. They are coming out of trauma. Many of them need counseling, trauma counseling, trauma healing, mental counseling, physical resources, skills to learn.
Even sometimes linguistic barriers are there if we just move them from one region to another. So there are so many different areas of ministry, but then those fall under a refuge where we provide them shelter. We provide them safe housing. We have shelters, mostly rental places, but some of them are owned also, but we run those safe housing shelters where we house these victims of religious persecution, mostly Christians, but non-Christians also, non-believers as well. And we make sure that they receive the care they need. And during that time, we try to come up with a long-term plan that what is the most needed areas that we need to address in order to make sure that they can live healthy lives.
And that falls under that third category that replenish. So we try to focus on not only providing them with safe housing, but we also focus on providing them with adequate resources, helping them to connect with other churches or other nonprofit organizations where they can find the help they need, that will help them to learn the skills that they might can start working in a new location, in a new area, and they can be self-sustainable. And at the same time, we also them to bear fruit if they are believers. We want to enrich their lives to the point where they are able to share their own stories, as I am doing the same. I am sharing my testimony, I am sharing my story. So the purpose is for the lives of those persecuted Christians that we empower their lives, we enrich their lives to the point where not only that they can live and lead their own lives and their family's lives in a healthy way, but also they can share their stories. So the world can know that religious persecution is something which is something that we need to stand against, we need to talk about, we need to help each other, and we need to come together to fight against religious persecution.
And that's our ultimate goal. And then we can multiply. And we have seen incredible growth, just to give you a few examples for the encouragement that historically it has been said that there might be as much as 12,000 believers. Now through our network, we are very confident to say there are at least 500,000 believers in Afghanistan, in today's Afghanistan. And they are multiplying, their number is multiplying. And the same case with Iran, with China, with India, wherever the persecution is as a result of that persecution, the church is growing, church is multiplying.
And then also the question comes about the people who are non-believers. We still love them, we still love them with the same passion. Oh, we lost you again. All right, hopefully he'll call back real quickly. Okay, you're back. Okay, so I think I will make just 30 second conclusive comments and then we can take over and wrap up. Exactly. That's perfect. Okay.
Whenever you're ready in three, two, one, go. Yes, so we focus on rescue, refuge, and replenishing the lives of the victims of religious persecution. And as I said, through your generous support and prayers, Lantern Rescue is able to help persecuted believers and even non-believers around the globe in many, many regions. So I will stop talking by saying that friends keep praying for us. We need your prayers. That is the first thing we need. And then certainly if those prayers lead you to start supporting us, please do support our mission, which is to help the victims of religious persecution and especially Christian victims of religious persecution.
If you have any questions, you can go to our website or you can send us an email or you can even sign up on our website for the updates or you can call us and we will be glad to answer your questions. Well, thank you again so much, Whitney. Thank you so much, Kajan. Thank you very much for having me with you and giving me this opportunity. This is incredible. God bless. This is the Truth Network.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-28 14:27:11 / 2023-01-28 14:36:47 / 10