Libya shift gradual but hopeful

By September 2, 2011

Libya (MNN/ODM) — The Libyan National Transitional council
has begun making plans for a new state without Moammar Gaddafi.

Although not officially deposed, the former dictator still
hasn't given up. He gave a
television address on the 42nd anniversary of the coup that brought him
to power, encouraging his supporters to keep fighting and "Let Libya burn!"

It's no wonder the end game in the 6 months of civil war is
so messy. Pockets of violence continue
to flare, but many of the international observers believe the fight is over and have moved on to accepting the new council.   

In Paris, delegations from 60 other countries joined France
and Britain to help establish the
council's legitimacy and to figure out how to reconstruct the country politically
and economically. That sounds really
encouraging after the bleak picture we've seen over the last few months, says Carl Moeller, CEO of Open Doors USA. "There are some
indications that they are highly influenced by extremists and that Sharia law as the governing law of
the land is one of their objectives."

Libya is ranked No. 25 on the Open Doors 2011 World Watch
List of the worst persecutors of Christians. Indigenous Libyan Christians have
mostly lived secret lives because they are often watched by security services.
Anything that is "different" is cause for suspicion. Many believers have left the country. The
remnant is smaller than the Christian community in Iraq.

Moeller explains that "the indigenous Christian
community in Libya is tiny. By our estimates, it's far less than a thousand
believers, but it's coming together to pray and to ask the world to pray for
the next phase in the future of Libya."

In the midst of all the turmoil around the capture of
Tripoli by the opposition forces, the churches and their members were covered
by prayers from all around the world. "By
God's grace and because of your prayers, we're still alive," said one of the pastors
of a church in the Libyan capital of Tripoli to an Open Doors worker who
contacted the pastor by telephone.

Post-war, there is a different
kind of fear emerging. There are
shortages of everything in the Libyan capital: lack of food, lack of drinking
water and hardly-functioning healthcare. Moeller says, "There will be tremendous opportunities for
Christian churches to reach out to Muslim neighbors who are suffering, who are
perhaps going without food or without some of the basics of life."

That's why Open Doors co-supported the delivery of aid products with
two trucks into Benghazi. Believers
delivered food, cooking oil, and blankets with other aid and helped it get into
the hands of people who needed it most. Although they're not typically an aid
group, Moeller says in this instance, "If Open Doors and other
organizations are able to come alongside those believers with the material
resources they need to help, the church can actually see people truly blessed
through the service of those individual Christians."

In a joint effort with other
organizations, Open Doors also delivered Bibles and Christian literature, using
the open frontiers with the neighboring countries during the battle in
Libya. Why? "During the course of this
Revolution, we've seen a ton of interest. In the first few months, several of the
delivery areas where we were delivering Scriptures into Libya over the last few
months have been emptied of all the Bibles that we had planned for the entire
year." 

A pastor added: "The most recent church services were just
attended by some tens of people instead of the hundreds we were used to; there
was almost no transportation. The service in Arabic was totally empty. Many of
them will return, I believe." That pastor expects to have more members in church this week.

One of the greatest threats to the fragile new beginning is
the diversity of the tribes. In the
same way, fractures in the Body of Christ can undermine the paradoxical growth
being seen now. Moeller says, "The
church there is asking us to pray, and specifically to pray that they would be
able to remain unified and strong."

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