When I was a little girl I read some books about a Christian boy who lived in Communist Russia. I thought it was the most exciting and scary thing ever to be in a secret church and smuggle Bibles. As an adult, I read Safely Home by Randy Alcorn and it changed my whole view (or maybe it opened my eyes) to persecuted Christians around the world.
When I started Monthly Missions, I thought they would mainly be about poor children and women. I know my kids can identify with needing food, clothes and a house. So, those are the things I wanted to focus on. But a few months ago, when someone mentioned Voice of the Martyrs to me, I suddenly realized I wanted my kids to know about the persecuted church. Just as I want them to see the Body of Christ giving to those in need around the world, I want them to know there are parts of the church who are hurting in other ways.
Voice of the Martyrs is a non-profit organization dedicated to assisting the persecuted church world-wide. They always have current news about persecuted Christians around the world, information on how to pray and help these people and many other great resources.
So, on the way to school the other day I asked the kids if they remembered the story of Stephen in the Bible. They remembered it from the new Whats in the Bible? DVD and then we talked a little more about people being persecuted or punished for believing or preaching about Jesus. We remembered Paul and Silas being imprisoned, Peter and other disciples being beaten.
This led into a huge conversation about people being persecuted for their faith around the world. I didn’t tell them about people being beheaded or any of the horrible things you sometimes hear, but we talked about Christians not getting good jobs, or being kicked out of their homes when they begin to follow Jesus or being forced to have secret churches.
The kids were so serious. Lydia had to go to school in the middle of the conversation but Asa and I continued to talk about it until we got home. Then we got on the Voice of the Martyr’s kids’ page and watched a few videos about persecuted Christians and how VOM is helping them. (If you do this, preview them first because some of them are very serious.)
We talked about what it would be like to not have any fun Bible books, no Scripture music, no cool Bible movies or friends from church. What would it be like to not know anything about Jesus because you didn’t have a Bible and could only go to church every once in awhile in secret? What would it be like to be driven from your home and living in a barn because you were a Christian?
I’m not going to try to overstate my kids’ responses, but they were very very interested and Lydia even scooted away from the computer a little as we watched some of the videos. They recognized how very serious and scary this could be. (We also had a huge conversation about how our country has freedom of worship, which I think was a big relief to Lydia’s hard-working mind!)
To support the persecuted church, we have ordered Action Packs from Voice of the Martyrs. For a $7 donation, you receive a huge ziploc-type bag with a checklist on the front (sheets, sweaters, nerf ball, etc.). You fill the bag and then send it back to Voice of the Martyrs who will then give it to persecuted Christians in Sudan, Iraq or Pakistan. (Just read those countries again! Whew!)
We got our Action Packs just a day or two after ordering them and after Asa’s party this week, we’ll be filling them up!
After I ordered the Action Pack, I was looking on the VOM site and found other ways to help the persecuted church. One of which I really like (especially after reading Passport Through Darkness) because it is a little easier than the Action Packs, is the Blanket and a Bible program. You just collect a new or like-new blanket and send it, along with a $2 donation to Voice of the Martyrs. They will distribute it along with a Bible to people in the Sudan. SUDAN!!
Please click around the Voice of the Martyrs site (especially Kids of Courage), you will be so…inspired but also heart-broken as you read what’s happening to the Body of Christ around the world. Expand your kids’ hearts this month and introduce them to this mission! Let’s give to the persecuted church this month!
If you pack an Action Pack or send a blanket, please use our hashtag #monthlymission and update a picture or status on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram/Pressgram. Then link it up on our main Monthly Mission page! I’d love to hear how you do this mission with your kids and how it affects their little hearts.