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Sharing story of being imprisoned for Christ

LORDSTOWN — A man who spent more than 440 days incarcerated in a foreign country said his faith in the Lord was what gave him strength to survive the ordeal.

Petr Jasek, a Christian aide worker of the Czech Republic, was one of the speakers who shared his story for the Voices of Martrys virtual program held recently at New Covenant Baptist Church.

Pastor Jim Simones said his church and other area churches showed the presentation “Imprisoned for Christ” to their congregations.

He said he has been receiving the Voices of Martyrs material for many years and when he heard about the guest speakers, he decided to show it members.

“The way things are going right now in the world, it might not be long before we see persecution of Christians in the United States. In all my life, I have never seen such an anti-Christ feeling of the church and Christians and Christianity. It has been happening gradually. We as Christians being in the United States feel we will escape any persecution. Christians in many countries of the world will tell you of what persecutions they have faced such as churches being burned down,” Simones said.

He said the speakers shared what happened after being arrested and interrogated and then imprisoned in countries such as Iran, Turkey and Sudan.

“The reason I wanted to share this is I believe we are entering a phase in this country where we might face persecution in the future, and I think we need to be ready,” Simones said.

Todd Nettleton, host of Voices of the Martyrs, said, “Despite what they face, they continue to advance the gospel and do work around the world. There are thousands of prisoners for Christ around the world.”

Jasek was imprisoned in Sudan and shared his story via the online presentation shown at the church.

He said while he struggled to find God’s purpose in his suffering, he ultimately recognized his faithfulness and love amid desperate circumstances.

He was in Sudan to help persecuted Christian believers and ended up also being persecuted by Islamic government officials as he faced charges of espionage.

In prison for 445 days starting in December 2015, he suffered through waterboarding and was forced to share his cell with six ISIS terrorist members.

Jasek said his own parents, who were Christian pastors, also were arrested in communist Czechoslovakia.

“They spent their life sharing the Gospel with others, which was what I wanted to also do. I wanted to help other persecuted Christians because they did not want to renounce their Christian faith. Christianity is an essential part of Christian life. Anyone who wants to live a godly life has Christ Jesus in their lives,” he said, noting some had cars stolen and homes burned and destroyed.

He credits his survival in prison to the support and prayers from people around the world. He said he had all his videocameras and other items confiscated.

Jasek said he spent time in five different prisons in Sudan and then was released on a presidential pardon.

He said the important lessons he learned while in prison were the power of prayer and having the Lord’s strength.

“I prayed very hard and asked the Lord to be with me. I was beaten and attacked physically. I was with enemies of the gospel,” Jasek said.

He also said he learned in prison about the sovereignty of the Lord Jesus Christ.

“The Lord allowed me to have a Bible. Fellow prisoners wanted to hear the gospel,” Jasek said.

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