I remember after living in a communist country for 10 months and not being able to say the name Jesus outside of my house for that time, being asked "would you rather be the church in America or over there in the persecuted church?" I immediately said, "persecuted church."
Why? Because there you KNOW God because He is all. you. have. All. You. Have. ALL. YOU. HAVE. Nothing else. The awareness of your frailty and out-of-controlness as a human is always before your face and the fact that you depend on God is constant. I love it.