USA (MNN) — Today more than 100 million Christians face unwarranted arrest, imprisonment, beatings, torture and even execution in restrictive countries around the world.
Their crime? They are followers of Jesus Christ.
Rarely will the public watch and hear about their plight on television in the United States; they are almost invisible to many Americans.
But now people will have the opportunity to get up close and personal with suffering believers through a new Open Doors USA television documentary series called "Undercover with Persecuted Christians." The Web site, which includes a trailer of the pilot, is www.UndercoverChristians.com.
The pilot episode of "Undercover" is an intimate, first-person conversation with Iraqi Christians who have suffered for their faith. On location, they share their experiences, their hearts, and their profound faith — a faith that burns brightly even in the midst of severe suffering: suffering that did not end with the topple of the old regime.
Three weeks ago, the General Secretariat of the Islam Supporters in Iraq warned all Christians to leave the country immediately, adding: "There's no more room for you, infidels, among the Iraqi Muslims. Our swords will be placed upon your necks….."
This pilot episode takes viewers to Iraq to answer key questions:
• What is the condition of the church in Iraq?
• Why are believers still being targeted and killed in the streets?
• What is the daily lifestyle like for Christians?
• What do Iraqi Christians want us in the West to do to support them?
News journal in style, the show is anchored by Carl Moeller, president/CEO of Open Doors USA and an expert on the persecuted church. Extensive travel to such restrictive countries as North Korea and Pakistan has given Moeller the knowledge and insight that has placed him on TV shows ranging from "The Sean Hannity Show" to CNN, and major radio and print media.
Moeller says his interaction with suffering Iraqi Christians touched his heart.
"When these Iraqi refugees told me their stories, they were so passionate. It was heartbreaking when they shared how much they are suffering and how they are praying that the average American would know that the Christians in Iraq are literally facing extinction. They want us to tell their story. So with this pilot documentary, we're just doing what they're asking.
"I believe now is the time for people in the West to listen to the stories of persecuted Christians so that believers will be inspired by their faith, be better informed of their situation, and unite in prayer and advocacy for them. That is the real purpose of going around the globe to tell their stories."
The first airing of the pilot will be held June 2 at 8 p.m. EST on Cornerstone TeleVision. It will be repeated June 5 at 9 p.m. EST. It will be streamed on Cornerstone's Web site at www.ctvn.org during those times. For more Cornerstone TeleVision scheduling information for June, go to http://www.ctvn.org/specials.asp.
The NRB Network will air the pilot starting June 10 at 8:30 p.m. EST and then every Thursday at the same time. For more information, go to www.nrbnetwork.tv/schedules. The NRB Network is seen on DIRECTV channel 378 and SkyAngel channel 126.
The inaugural documentary on Iraqi Christians will also be available on other Christian networks in the future, including possibly ParablesHD, which will debut later this summer. For more information, go to www.parableshd.com.
Additional information on "Undercover with Persecuted Christians" is available at www.UndercoverChristians.com.
An estimated 100 million Christians worldwide suffer interrogation, arrest and even death for their faith in Christ, with millions more facing discrimination and alienation. Open Doors supports and strengthens believers in the world's most difficult areas through Bible and Christian literature distribution, leadership training and assistance, Christian community development, prayer and presence ministry, and advocacy on behalf of suffering believers. To partner with Open Doors USA, call toll free 888-5-BIBLE-5 (888-524-2535) or go to our Website at www.OpenDoorsUSA.org.