Voice of the Martyrs, with the help of our supporters, has been able to help fund a children’s crisis care centre in Wurin Alheri, Nigeria.
The centre provides education (Christian, academic and vocational), medical care and a loving and nurturing Christian environment for children and youth orphaned and/or displaced through Boko Haram terrorism, ethnic/religion conflict and other tragic circumstances. The children and youth receive training, equipping them to eventually return to extended families to rebuild their home regions and Christian communities.
Of the 170+ children and youth at Wurin Alheri, 100 of them come from Christian families in areas devastated by Boko Haram terrorism, losing fathers and siblings in attacks or subsequent poverty, from malnutrition and disease. Christians were specifically targeted in these attacks. Others among our children lost fathers in Fulani attacks, others in religious riots and conflict ongoing in the region since 2004. Their mothers, living by subsistence farming, cannot afford school fees or medical care for the children. Others are youth who responded to the Gospel from Islamic or pagan backgrounds, forced to flee their homes and families because their lives were threatened. We have some girls from Islamic and pagan villages fleeing child marriage. Twenty-one are children of missionaries working in remote Islamic regions where schools, if existing, are Islamic religious schools.
The children are displaying excellent growth in faith and character. School results overall are very good, especially considering that many arrived as teens but illiterate.
Families are very appreciative of the help. Their home situations are still bad. Most schools, clinics, churches and businesses in the region devastated by Boko Haram are still unrepaired, so that recovery of families from crisis is very slow and painful. That their children return with basic literacy, strong in faith and character, sound in mind and body, is a good outcome for them.
Wurin Alheri Crisis Home will continue through 2019, helping families in crisis to care for and educate their children, with an increased focus on teens and youth. The environment, with pastorally trained mentors, vocational education, a computer centre and a new clinic onsite is highly conducive to helping teens whose lives have been shaped by conflict.
If you would like to financially support the work of Voice of the Martyrs, please go to: https://vom.com.au/donate
In 2018 Voice of the Martyrs Australia is helping to fund educational scholarships for 35 children of poor pastors in Vietnam.
These funds have been received with extreme gratitude. Some of the pastors have been held in prison for their faith in Christ.
Below is an excerpt from a letter received from a scholarship recipient (identifying features have been removed for security reasons).
“I am the child of a prisoner sentenced to eight years in a detention centre.
Thank the Lord, thank you, my benefactor for helping my family in a very difficult situation. We were born and raised in a Christian family, my father was in prison, so we faced a very miserable situation. Being treated with hostility, growing up in living conditions that are always anxious.
Nevertheless I try to study hard and hope in the future I can serve the Lord and find a job to earn money to help my mother. My mother was working day and night and worked hard for the family and support for my father in prison.
We are extremely grateful to the benefactors who helped me with the scholarship in this difficult situation.
May the Lord bless you abundantly, and give you many opportunities to help the persecuted pupils.”
VOM Australia would like to extend our sincere thanks to our partners, 35 children of pastors in Vietnam will be able to continue with their education in 2018 because of your faithful giving.
Recently, 300 youth from churches across the Blue Mountains gathered at Springwood Anglican Church for a Thirteen Three Release event.
Dave McPhail, the Youth Pastor, gave a great message which raised the question: As Christians, how can we have confidence in the face of opposition?
This is a brilliant and relevant question for the youth of today. This generation of youth have a lot going on in their lives: school, peer pressure, puberty and parental expectations are just a few of the pressures that youth have to overcome. In such an environment we know that many youth struggle with life and might feel that the world is against them.
For a young Christian, there is another dimension of opposition where school, peers and even family can be against them because of their faith. Add this to the intense pressures young people already experience and it can feel impossible to have confidence in such a hostile world.
As Christians, the Bible tells us to expect times of opposition. Currently, in Australia, there are groups trying to stop Scripture being taught in New South Wales schools. On an individual level, you may face criticism from your parents for going to church, or you might be mocked by your peers for the moral choices you make when it comes to relationships.
This should not surprise us. The Bible is quite clear that we do not belong to the world – we belong to Jesus, and therefore we will face opposition (John 15:19) . However, many discard their faith because of the pressure and difficulties they face. It shouldn’t be like this; in fact, we can have great confidence in the face of opposition.
What can we learn from persecuted Christians?
Our persecuted brothers and sisters live in societies where they are always living with hostility. The opposition that they face is often physical and can even lead to death.
At the Blue Mountains Release event, Thirteen Three’s Jono Fox shared about the shocking persecution that Christians face in North Korea.
“Living in North Korea is tough,” he explained. “I met Stephen, who escaped North Korea last year. He described how the leaders would say, ‘North Korea is the richest country in the world,’ but in reality, he was driven to escape North Korea because he was so hungry. Stephen became a Christian when he read the Bible for the first time in China and realised that what he had been taught in North Korea was all lies. The Bible was actually telling him the truth.”
Despite severe persecution, many North Koreans continue to worship God. How can they do this when they know they could be arrested or executed for it?
As Dave said, “It is amazing what you can do when you know someone has your back.” It gives us confidence when we know we have support. As Christians, we have the living God as our support.
We can have confidence, even in the face of opposition, because we know that God has provided salvation and security for us in Jesus Christ.
“If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all—how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen?” Romans 8:31-33.
God did everything to save us! His Son died for us so that we could be reconciled with God. No one can take that away from us. Therefore, there is no enemy we need to fear because we know that our God is on our side. The Apostle Paul says no one can take us from the love of God. He wrote, “I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” Romans 8:38-39.
What a wonderful encouragement it is to know that the Sovereign God of the universe has our back and is with us through all the difficulties and problems we face. This is what gives our persecuted brothers and sisters confidence and will also encourage us to endure any form of opposition to our faith.
What opposition are you facing today?
Where do you get your confidence from? Does this need to change?
What are you afraid of as you live for Christ in a hostile world?
How does what you just read impact your fears?
Which Christian friend will you encourage with the knowledge of God’s inexhaustible strength?
Remember this verse to help you in hard times: John 15:19