Christmas not the same for persecuted children
As we prepare to celebrate Christmas in South Africa, our hearts go out to persecuted children and their families. In many countries where Christians are persecuted for their faith, Christmas is a dangerous time of the year for believers. Their Christmas looks very different from ours that’s if they even celebrate Christmas…
Celebrating Christmas for persecuted children and their families looks different depending on which country they live in. In Islamic countries where they’re secret believers, they may organise a secret Christmas celebration under the pretext of having a birthday party. In other Islamic countries like Nigeria where there’s a high likelihood of a terrorist attack, Christians may go to a guarded church to celebrate Christmas. In China, the church may organise a children’s event away from the official church. In India, children and their parents may have to walk many miles to a church in another village where it’s safe enough for them to participate in a Christmas service. In some countries in Asia, the official churches are decorated as much as possible and Christmas trees are put outside or inside the church. There will be carol services and sometimes even re-enactments of the nativity story. Whereas in a country like Colombia, the celebration may be much soberer, e.g. without any decorations. While in places like North Korea, children won’t even know about Christmas.
Pray with us for persecuted children
- Pray for Christian children in Muslim countries such as Egypt where they are forced to sit in the back of their classes and are deliberately given bad grades. Pray that God will give them strength and friends.
- Pray for Christian children in Buddhist countries who only have access to Buddhist education. Pray that the children aren’t pushed into participating in Buddhist rituals, but that they’ll grow up to be strong in the Christian faith.
- Pray for Christian children in China, who are officially not allowed into Church or to join a Sunday School until they are 18 years. Pray that the Church can still make them part of the Church community in creative ways.
- Pray that rebels and (drug) gangs will stop recruiting children including Christian children in countries such as Colombia.
- Pray for Christian girls who are kidnapped in countries like Nigeria, Egypt and other Islamic nations. Pray for comfort and strength for those who are being held captive, for their freedom, and for justice to be done in their cases.
- Pray for Indian children of believers who experience bullying and social boycotting by their communities. Pray that God will give them what they need, especially daily necessities, but also love and fellowship.
- Pray for the children of North Korean Christians, who often don’t even know that their parents are believers. The risks of them betraying their family members is too great. Pray that the Lord will still make it possible to transfer the faith from one generation to the next.
- Pray for persecuted children who struggle with their identity. Perhaps one parent is Christian and the other another faith. Or perhaps they receive education about one faith in school and are raised as Christians at home. Pray that they’ll know their true identity as beloved children of God and co-heirs with Christ.
- Pray that this Christmas, persecuted children will experience a safe Christmas, with no kidnappings or other terrorist attacks or violence. Pray that they will experience a deep fellowship with the Saviour as well as each other.
Persecuted children need our help more than ever
The persecuted Church finds itself at the heart of a spiritual battle. As Brother Andrew said: “We are strengthening what Satan tries to destroy.” The next generation is a specific target of the evil one, which makes the spiritual battle for the souls of the young persecuted Church so intense. It’s no surprise that children are deliberately targeted by those who are hostile to the Gospel.
Around the world, Open Doors teams and partners have many programmes that aim to strengthen persecuted families and some that are specifically trying to help children. For example:
- Children’s camps in Islamic, Buddhist and Hindu countries;
- Bibles and other Christian materials for children and youth in all regions;
- A radio program for North Korean parents about biblical education of their children without mentioning God, Jesus or the Bible;
- Children’s centres in countries such as Colombia and Bangladesh; Schooling for children in Islamic, Buddhist and Hindu countries;
- Sunday school training for leaders;
- Youth discipleship & worship training;
- Scholarships for (tribal) children in Buddhist and communist countries;
- Summer schools.
You can help persecuted children worldwide today! Click here to give them the gift of hope and a safer future!