PLANT CITY Lynda Blackman wants everyone to know that there are places around the world where it’s not safe to claim Christianity.
Blackman, volunteer area representative for The Voice of the Martyrs, will visit a Plant City church Nov. 3 to spread the word about her organization, which helps Christians who face imprisonment, torture or worse for their faith.
Blackman will be featured at the 10:30 a.m. service at First Church of God, 601 N. Gordon St. She will show videos and talk about countries where believers can’t openly gather for worship or even carry a Bible.
“It’s hard to imagine what it’s like to actually live there,” the Seffner resident said.
Blackman, who works as a substitute teacher, said she first saw religious oppression during a mission trip to Russia in the 1980s. The law was so restrictive that she had to sneak a Bible to a Christian man.
She started volunteering a few years ago with The Voice of the Martyrs, which champions the cause of religious freedom. The group, which publishes a monthly magazine, provides Bibles, medical care and other support for Christians who live in lands where they take on great risk for their faith.
Her husband Ron and their college-aged daughter Elizabeth Anne provide help and support in her work for the Oklahoma-based organization.
Church Pastor Clarence Phairas said he asked The Voice of Martyrs to send a representative for Nov. 3, the International Day of Prayer. Phairas said the repression that believers can face in other countries has long been a concern of his.
“This is going to be an eye opening experience. We’re used to being able to worship however we want but there are places where that’s not possible,” he said.
The Voice of the Martyrs estimates there are more than two dozen countries from China to Egypt to Cuba, where anti-Christian laws or circumstances can lead to believers being harassed, imprisoned or killed. Another dozen or so countries are listed as hostile places for Christians because governments don’t or can’t always protect them from persecution.
Voice of the Martyrs was founded in the 1960s by Richard Wurmbrand, a Romanian pastor who was imprisoned and tortured for his faith.
For information about Blackman’s talk, call the church at (813) 752-6438.