Peter and John before the Sanhedrin, Stephen’s testimony and death, Peter’s rescue from jail, Paul and Silas’ imprisonment and escape, the riot in Ephesus, Paul’s arrest and trial… We tell a lot of stories about persecution in Sunday school. These stories of perseverance, courage, and God’s amazing power are current and relevant testimonies to persecuted believers who continue to suffer today. But our North American kids don’t experience the daily persecution faced by Christians in other parts of the world. It is easy to forget their struggle and to think of these stories as ancient history.
Kelly Organ, from the CRC’s Office of Social Justice, recently shared with me a story of persecution that is unfolding today, right in the United States. Indonesian Christian families who sought refuge in New Jersey from religious and ethnic persecution are now in danger again. Families are being separated as fathers are sent back to Indonesia, where violence is still a threat, and mothers and children are left behind, frightened. One Reformed church in Highland Park is serving as a safe sanctuary for some who fear persecution. Like ancient believers who gathered to pray for Peter’s release from prison, we can pray with the kids in our group for the Indonesian Christian community.
Kelly has put together a kid’s page on the OSJ website full of ideas for praying for and encouraging these Christian asylum seekers. You’ll find a kid friendly version of the story of these believers, as well as ideas for making cards to send to the men who are staying at the church, to their families, and to those who are helping to keep them safe. Consider incorporating their story into your Sunday school time and inviting the kids to respond with prayer and compassion.
What else have you done to help kids connect with the global church and pray for those who are persecuted?