The other week I attended an extremely moving meeting in the House of Commons. It was organised by Open Doors, which is an international network that has for 60 years supported and strengthened persecuted Christians throughout the world.
Open Doors works in about 50 countries worldwide, in close co-operation with Church leaders and Christians who experience first-hand the reality of persecution and the denial of their Human Rights.
Unfortunately, there is an increase in the persecution of Christians in many parts of the world. North Korea is the most difficult place in the world to be a Christian, but things are becoming more difficult in Turkey and Kenya in particular, and most recently we have all heard about the violence of Islamic State and its supporters in Iraq, Syria and West Africa.
The meeting in Westminster heard a moving account from a victim of Boko Haram in Nigeria, where we still do not know what has happened to the young girls who were abducted some months ago. We heard the terrible things that had happened to him and his family and his comments made real the reports we hear on the media about the massacres and destruction in northern Nigeria.
In total it is estimated that throughout the world 4,334 Christians have been killed for faith-related reasons in the year up to October 2014, and if anything persecution is increasing.
In the face of such persecution, Open Doors has urged MPs to do a number of things: to ensure that religious freedom is actively considered in all areas of international affairs; that there is engagement with Embassy officials who represent countries on the right to freedom of religion or belief; and that MPs join together to consistently work for freedom of religion and belief on an international basis.
As someone who is proud to describe himself as a Christian, I am more than happy to give my wholehearted support to Open Doors and the excellent work which it does.