RESPONSE TO PROPHESIED LAST DAYS PERSECUTION

Juan Riesco and his brother, Jose, were heirs to a flourishing family business — Nini’s Deli — in downtown Chicago. But it all came crashing down in early June, when the beloved eatery, owned by their foreign-born parents, found itself in the crosshairs of the increasingly progressive Black Lives Matter movement.

Having since left Chicago in the wake of the restaurant’s forced, permanent closure, Riesco told Faithwire he and his brother are focusing on ministry.

If they’re gonna protest,” he said, “we’re gonna preach.

Riesco, whose parents emigrated to the U.S. from Cuba and Mexico, was once lauded by numerous publications as an up-and-coming entrepreneur with a knack for viral branding. He had enjoyed so much success with the deli and his personal business, Chicago Native, that brands like Nike and Adidas launched collaborations with him. But when Riesco refused to wholly endorse the official Black Lives Matter movement, he and his family were made villains on blogs and news outlets, many of which labeled them as “racist” and “homophobic.”

Photo of Nini's Deli - Chicago, IL, United States. Nini's!
NINI’S DELI BEFORE CLOSURE
Photo of Nini's Deli - Chicago, IL, United States. If there's a line.. must be good and worth waiting for
NINI’S DELI BEFORE CLOSURE WITH FIVE STAR RATING ON YELP
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NINI’S DELI AFTER CLOSURE
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Rather than kowtow to the demands of a movement with which they harbor many disagreements, the Riescos stood firmly by their convictions. In early June, after being asked if they “believe Black Lives Matter,” Riesco published an official statement on the deli’s since-shuttered Instagram account. In it, he wrote he and his family believe “all people were created equal in the image of God.” The lengthy statement continued, “We believe that all black lives matter and we know that only God can bring about justice that is deserved.”

Riesco told Faithwire that, because of the success of Nini’s Deli, which had a five star rating on Yelp, locals were eager to see the restaurant throw its weight behind the Black Lives Matter campaign. Rather than totally embrace the movement, though, Riesco said it was important to use his platform to share his faith.

“I had felt in my spirit that I needed to, yes, take a stand [against] injustice, but also take a stand, most importantly, for Christ,” Riesco explained. “Because my business was so successful, by God’s grace, we had a lot of eyes waiting on us to make a statement about what was happening.”

“We used that platform — all those eyes on us, waiting to make a statement — to say, ‘We believe black lives matter, but we believe that because they’re made in the image of God,” he added.

However, by distancing themselves from the overarching Black Lives Matter movement, as other Christians have done, the Riescos drew the ire of many progressive protesters. After posting a statement to the restaurant’s Instagram handle on June 3, Riesco said “all hell essentially broke loose.

The Christian entrepreneur recalled receiving an onslaught of threats and promises to protest his family’s restaurant as a result of his statement on racial injustice. On Friday, June 5, just two days after the initial post to Instagram, Nini’s Deli shut down permanently as liberal protesters descended on the once-popular eatery.

Tensions only rose when Riesco’s brother Jose began brashly preaching during the raucous protest outside the deli, calling out many of the protesters for their “wicked agenda.” With his at times confrontational style, he talked about how his brother once identified as gay but “Jesus fixed him, straightened him

He also spoke out against the Black Lives Matter campaign’s affiliations with Planned Parenthood, the LGBT movement, and calls to defund the police.

Ultimately, the social pressure proved to be too much: the constant protests, the endless stream of social media posts slandering the restaurant, and the cancelled partnerships with big-name brands resulted in Nini’s Deli having to permanently closed its doors after a decade of business.

The pain of what they’ve lost remains fresh. Through tears, Riesco said he and his family “poured our hearts into loving our community, despite gender, despite sex, despite whatever you want to identify as.”

Nevertheless, even though the family company is gone, the Riesco brothers — both of whom became Christians at the deli — said they are “blessed.”

I was just sharing with our team yesterday that my circumstances have changed, but my identity in whom I trust hasn’t,” Riesco said, adding he is still in “a position of gratitude toward our God.”

Moving forward, Juan and Jose Riesco plan to dedicate themselves to ministry.

PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANS ESCALATES IN LAST DAYS

Over 4,000 people were killed in Islamic extremist attacks in Burkina Faso, Niger and Mali in 2019, according to the U.N.’s envoy for West Africa and the Sahel Mohamed Ibn Chambas.

Since 2016, extremist groups including the Islamic State West Africa Province and Ansaroul Islam have carried out attacks throughout the Sahel region of West Africa. But attacks increased fivefold in 2019 — deaths rose from 80 in 2016 to 1,800 in 2019.

A Nigerian organisation claims that more than 350 Christians have been killed across the West African country since the start of 2020 and estimates that about 11,500 Christians have been killed since 2015.  “Nigeria has become a killing field of defenceless Christians,” the non-governmental organisation, International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law, Intersociety, said in a new special report.”

IS and al-Qaeda's JNIM are both active in the Sahel region where they compete for power
IS and al-Qaeda’s JNIM are both active in the Sahel region where they compete for power

Jihadist violence has now spread from the country’s north to the western Boucle du Mouhoun region where rice and maize are produced and transported to other areas, resulting in a food shortages and might cut off food for millions more in the region, according to the Associated Press.

It is feared that the COVID-19 pandemic might exacerbate the situation at a time when 2 million people in the country are already facing food insecurity.

“If production goes down in this area and if movement restrictions due to the coronavirus drive up food prices in the markets, it could push numbers of severely vulnerable people to double or triple,” Julia Wanjiru, communications coordinator for the Sahel and West Africa Club, an intergovernmental economic group, was quoted as saying.

According to the U.N., the number of people displaced in Burkina Faso rose 1,200 percent in 2019. There are about 600,000 internally displaced people in the country as it is becoming one of the world’s fastest-growing humanitarian crises. 

Authorities in the Borno state of Nigeria said Wednesday that at least 81 people were killed in an attack on a nomadic community believed to have been carried out by militants aligned with the Islamic extremist groups Boko Haram or Islamic State West Africa Province. 

Signs of the End of the Age

Jesus said, “And when you hear of wars and rumours of wars, do not be alarmed. This must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. These are but the beginning of the birth pains.” Luke 13:7-8

LAST DAYS PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANS IS ESCALATING

GOD”S WORD TELLS US CHRISTIANS WILL BE PERSECUTED IN THE LAST DAYS

If you are being used by God to bring many to Christ then you can expect to be the focus of Satan’s minions to stop you and discredit your efforts.

What has happened to Torben Sondergaad of The Last Reformation movement is stark evidence of the extent of the persecution coming our way. You need to watch this video. The following short summary by Torben should get your attention.

I have waited many months to share this with you. This is somehow the hardest and most emotional video I have ever done. But it is also a big relief to finally get this out. Yes, we are seeking Asylum in America, and I would like to share some of the crazy things that have happened in the last six months. We have experienced a crazy and organised persecution from many sides – a persecution that ended up with us leaving Denmark with 8 suitcases, in order to not go to jail, or lose our kids. Later, even going through a spiritual battle like never before, ending up in a hospital, thinking I was going to die. But it has also been a time with fasting and a closeness to Christ that I have never experienced before… How God has come to us, again and again, when we couldn’t take any more… How a man I didn’t know gave me a lot of money in an airport, and how we saw very strong miracles!