February 6, 2014
VOM’s Kids of Courage resources help parents and educators teach children ages 5 to 13 about persecuted Christians around the world, and provide opportunities for children to serve and pray for them. From time to time, VOM workers share their thoughts with readers at www.kidsofcourage.com. Read responses from a recent interview with two VOM workers below. (Comments are edited and paraphrased for clarity and reading level.)
Question: What would you like kids in America to know about persecuted Christians?
Answers: In the American church, we can take our relationship with Christ for granted. But for some believers overseas, it’s not a simple belief. Christ is very present and active; He’s their best friend, their father, their comforter. Christ is someone people are willing to pay a high cost to follow. They are willing to give their lives to serve the same Jesus we serve.
Persecuted Christians are like any of us, but they have been tested. They are normal people suffering, and they continue to praise the Lord. Their amazing perseverance and faith are an encouragement.
It is encouraging to see how actively God is working [among them]. We need to be seeking Him to work that way in us.
As for the question, “Are you willing to die for your faith?” — I know I only could if I was in daily communion with the Lord. It would be the work of the Spirit.
Question: What would you like kids to know about the countries you visit?
Answer: I’d like them to know that the countries are not always like you see on the news. On the news, it looks like there must be fires and angry crowds everywhere.
Nothing is as simple as it seems. Even in Muslim dominated areas, Muslims who are not extremists are warm and hospitable and struggling like everyone else. They are desperately lost. I want to combat a spirit of fear in [Christian] kids. “Perfect love casts out fear” [1 John 4:18].
Families that are lost really need Christ. God is moving powerfully. He is going to use young people in a powerful way to reach them.
Also, many parts of the world will be reached by Christians who used to be Muslims — Persian Christians and Arab Christians — perhaps reaching Westerners….In East Germany, there are many Persian believers in churches.
Question: What have you learned from persecuted Christians?
Answer: Their witness shakes me to the core. [The difference between the lives of persecuted Christians and many other Christians] is like the difference between reading a driver’s education manual and going on your first drive. They don’t just have head knowledge.
We have such a blessing — those of us who travel overseas. I hope we can convey that to our readers.
Now if something bad happened to me, it would shake me, but not as much as it used to.