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PERSECU ION International Christian Concern | May 2014

s m i t c i V n e t t Forgo Children: The Forgotten Victims of Persecution. Read their life-affirming stories inside!



Then Esau looked up and saw the women and children Jacob had with him. “Who are these with you?” he asked. Jacob answered, “They are the children God has graciously given your servant.” Genesis 33:5 I have been dwelling on the passage above in the context of the children the Lord has “given” ICC. As you know, few Christians know about or understand the persecution of their brothers and sisters. Fewer still understand that persecution is more than just the murder or imprisonment of pastors. Becuase of that, this month, we are focusing on the forgotten victims of persecution. . .the children. Our heart breaks for the littlest victims of persecution because these precious ones are innocents. They are targeted because those they love and trust most in this world love Jesus and simply can’t turn away. They don’t have the emotional or mental capacity (is it that different for adults?) to deal with the targeting of their mothers, fathers, and

Jeff King, President International Christian Concern

communities. When their father or mother is killed, they are left devastated for life. The Lord tells us to “welcome the little children in His name” (Matthew18:26). He says that when we do that, we are welcoming Him. For this reason, most of all, we care for the smallest victims of persecution and we welcome them into YOUR care, for ICC has nothing on its own. We are merely your hands and feet to bandage, build, and rebuild the lives of the persecuted.



s m i t c i V Forgotten

n o i t u c e s of Per


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“Blow out the candles and make a wish!” For little Ranoj (below), this was not just an expression, but much-needed direction. Ranoj never had a cake with candles, never had a party to celebrate his birth, and in fact, was not quite sure when his actual birthday was. But on this day, Ranoj didn’t have to think about such things. Instead, he was surrounded by his spiritual family and caretakers who celebrated the fact that he had been born, despite not knowing his actual birth date. He was reminded “I WAS VERY SCARED. HOW that his life mattered, and that WOULD I EAT? WHAT WOULD he was loved, and that a living BE MY FUTURE? BUT GOD God had a great purpose for DELIVERED ME FROM ALL him.


Ranoj is one of the many children who were orphaned when their parents were martyred for

Ranoj, center, makes a wish before blowing out his candles.

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their faith in one of India’s infamous Orissa attacks in 2008. THE UNSEEN VICTIMS OF PERSECUTION Too often, when we think of Christian persecution, we may think of the mother martyred for her faith, or the father put behind bars, but we rarely think of the child left behind to fend for themselves; even more rarely do we realize that children are also targeted for their faith, as if they were adults. Ranoj represents just one of the hundreds of unseen and forgotten child victims of Christian persecution. In many ways, persecution is harder on the children, who do not have the same emotional and cognitive capacity to process what is happening to them. In order to ensure their suffering is seen and not forgotten, we must know their stories and understand what they go through. So, what does persecution look like on a child? It comes in all shapes and sizes, varying greatly depending on geographic location, but the reality is always devastating. Christian boys and girls are orphaned when their parents are martyred (page 12).


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Christian girls are abducted and forced into Muslim marriages in Egypt, Pakistan, and numerous other fundamentalist Muslim countries. Christian kids are targeted and trafficked in Bangladesh because their families are desperately poor, religiously oppressed, and without political power (page 8). They are kidnapped and used as child soldiers when a government seeks to eradicate a Christian minority population (page 14). They learn early on that there is a price to pay for their faith as they watch their parents suffer for loving Jesus. Finally, they are ridiculed and humiliated at school when they are bold in their faith (page 10) or when their parents are imprisoned for their faith. WE MUST REMEMBER AND PROTECT In Egypt, Coptic Christians tattoo a tiny cross on their children’s wrists. On the one hand, this is a piece of their culture that brings identity, but it also serves as a protection against the kidnapping and abduction of their children. The tattoo is put onto the thin skin of the wrist where it is very hard to remove by those who would steal their children. Can we challenge you to put a spiritual tattoo onto your heart to remember the forgotten victims of persecution? Let us answer the world in word and deed when they ask us who these forgotten ones are. Let us answer the cry of the persecuted children of the Body of Christ around the world with love, through words and action. Let us make it impossible for these little ones to be unseen and forgotten for even one more day.


The following stories this month are all of children in our Kids Care program around the world.

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Joy Comes in the Morning SHANTONA’S STORY Shantona was only 10 years old when an amazing opportunity knocked on her family’s door. A Christian man, offered to take her to the “big city” to live at a Christian boarding house and attend a Baptist school. Her parents saw a chance for their daughter to escape the crushing poverty of their existence. They sold the family cow, the only thing of value they owned and their only means of income, and gave the proceeds, which though a small sum, was astronomical to them. Their hearts burst with pain and pride as they kissed their daughter goodbye sending her to a bright future. Little did they know that the “Christian” man they sent her with had secretly converted to Islam and was working with an Islamic trafficking ring. Instead of taking her to a Baptist boarding school, he sold her to a radical Islamic boarding school (a Madrassa) and her locked away into her own personal hell. She was mocked daily for being a Christian and frequently starved. For ten hours a day she was forced to learn Arabic and read the Quran. She routinely refused to pray the Muslim prayers to Allah. Enraged at her refusal to pray to anyone but Jesus, the teachers beat her little hands daily with a wooden rod. When her father was unable to contact Shantona as he’d been promised, he knew she was in danger. With the help of an ICC partner in Bangladesh, he found his daughter. When he rescued Shantona, her name had been legally changed to a Muslim one and her hands and face were covered in welts from being slapped and beaten. Even though Shantona was rescued, her traffickers knew


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where she lived, and she was now considered a Muslim by her abducters. Therefore, her father asked if ICC would take her into our care. Not long after, we opened a boarding school for other rescued children. Currently there are 119 such children in our care. When we first visited Shantona, she was still timid, shy and withdrawn. In fact the only time she smiled was during the children’s message given by our regional manager when she heard the words, “Jesus is our friend. He is always with you. You are never alone.” Now, two years later, Shantona has walked through much healing. She lives in safety, plays with other children who understand what she’s gone through, learns about God’s love for her, does well in school and looks forward to a future full of hope.

THE REALITY OF PERSECUTION IN BANGLADESH: (My kidnappers) would not let us pray the way we wanted. We were not allowed to kneel by our bed and pray to Jesus. So, instead I prayed to Him quietly in my heart so that no one would hear and no one would beat me,” a rescued child reported to ICC. The harsh reality is that ICC broke this story to the world; without our help, these kids have no where else to turn, except back home where they are vulnerable to the vengeful traffickers. Of reported missing children, about one-third have yet to be located.

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GIVING TO ICC VIA YOUR WILL Provide now for a future gift to ICC by including a bequest provision in your will or revocable trust. If you would like more information on giving to ICC in this way, please give us a call at 1-800-ICC-5441.


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1 persecution may 2014  
1 persecution may 2014