Open Doors (charitable foundation)
|Focus||Strengthening persecuted Christians worldwide|
|$116.3 million (2015; including affiliates)|
Open Doors is a non-denominational mission supporting persecuted Christians in over 70 countries. They work with local partners to distribute Bibles and Christian literature, give discipleship[clarification needed] training and provide practical support, such as emergency relief aid. Open Doors' stated aims are to raise awareness of global persecution, mobilising prayer, support and action among Christians from around the world. It is based in Ermelo, The Netherlands. Open Doors is also a member of the Forum of Bible Agencies International.
Open Doors was founded in 1955 by Andrew van der Bijl, a Dutchman more widely known as Brother Andrew, when he decided to smuggle Bibles to discriminated Christians in Communist Poland. He continued this work in smuggling Bibles to many of the Soviet-controlled countries and in 1957 was given a blue Volkswagen Beetle which he used to make deliveries within the Communist bloc. With this new car he was able to carry more literature. Thereafter, the work of Open Doors continued to expand as it extended its network throughout Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union.
On 18 June 1981, Open Doors delivered one million contraband Chinese Bibles in one night to a beach near the city of Shantou in southern China on a mission they named Project Pearl. Project Pearl was carried out by an international crew of 20, led by Brother David. A semi-submersible, 137-foot barge, named Gabriel, was loaded with 232 waterproof, poly-wrapped, one-ton packages containing a million Chinese Bibles. A 97-foot tugboat named Michael was used to tow Gabriel to the beach, weaving through a maze of anchored Chinese navy ships. The crew arrived at the beach at 9 pm. 10,000 Chinese Christians had gathered to bring the Bibles to shore and then deliver them all over China. Time magazine described Project Pearl as "A remarkable mission… the largest operation of its kind in the history of China."
In 1988, Open Doors used Glasnost as an opportunity to openly provide one million Russian Bibles to the Russian Orthodox Church, at a cost of $2.5 million. Open Doors partnered with the United Bible Societies to complete the task in just over one year.
In 2010, 428,856 people from over 70 different countries signed Open Doors' global Right to Believe petition, saying Yes to religious liberty and No to the UN's Defamation of Religions Resolution. The petition was presented to the UN in New York in December 2010.
In 2015, Open Doors (including its affiliates) delivered 3 million Bibles and literature, and delivered relief and aid to 239,164 people. In 2018 the USA organization spent $19,291,134 on programs to the persecuted church with $4.7 M spent on fundraising and $2.8 on administration.
Open Doors and its affiliates conduct the following programs in many countries:
- Delivering Bibles and other Christian literature
- Providing pastoral and discipleship training
- Conducting seminars on Christian living, family life. "Standing Strong Through the Storm" is the seminar they use to teach churches on how to survive under persecution.
- Running Bible-based literacy courses
- Supplying equipment and vocational training to help widows, families of prisoners of conscience, the displaced, and the unemployed to earn a living
- Providing legal aid and spiritual and emotional comfort to prisoners and their families
- Financing and supplying equipment to pastors, churches, and Bible colleges
- Supplying printing presses, radios, cassette players, photocopiers, and A/V and transport equipment
- Sponsoring Bible colleges, reconciliation ministries and restoration centres for Christian refugees, widows and orphans.
World Watch List
The organization publishes an annual World Watch List which ranks countries by the severity of persecution that Christians face for actively pursuing their faith. The WWL is based on the research and comparison of field researchers, external experts, academics[who?], and publicly available research documents. It is a qualitative instrument based on these subjective opinions. In 2012, the methodology of the WWL was comprehensively revised in order to provide greater credibility, transparency, objectivity and scientific quality. In 2013, further refinement of the methodology took place. Countries are ranked on a scale from 0 to 100 depending on persecution in the areas of church life, national life, community life, family life, private life and use of violence against Christians. Depending on the score, countries are arranged into the categories "Extreme Persecution", "Very High Persecution" and "High Persecution".
The 2020 list of the 50 highest ranked countries are as follows:
Very High Persecution
- Saudi Arabia
- Central African Republic
- Anti-Christian sentiment
- International Christian Concern
- Religious intolerance
- Religious persecution
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- "World Watch List Ranking Methodology". Archived from the original on 2017-11-15.
- "2020 World Watch List Report". Open Doors. 2018. Retrieved February 13, 2020.