On July 21st of 2011, God began a work in the High School students at Highland Park that would lead to something foolish. It was day 4 of MOVE conference and God had already been doing some pretty cool things in the lives of our students. Sins were being confessed, commitments were being made, and future plans were being altered all in the pursuit of Jesus. Then, on Thursday, things were shifted into another gear. We had spent the day studying Daniel 3 and the faithfulness of 3 slaves who were willing to give up everything for the sake of their God. That evening we watched a Christ in Youth’s newest documentary, “Love Costs Everything”. The making of the film took the CIY crew to no fewer than 5 countries as they followed and interviewed men and women who are currently being persecuted for there faith in Jesus Christ. This is not just a church issue or a religious issue, it is a human rights issue. Christians are the most persecuted group in the world today. It was simultaneously difficult to watch and impossible to take your eyes off of. We were overwhelmed with emotion ranging from intense anger to deep sorrow to shared joy as our brothers and sister worshipped the Father despite the constant threats. At one point, the film followed a certain pastor who is faithfully working and planting churches in the most persecuted region of India, his home country. There, Christians are maliciously hunted, beaten, and killed by Hindu guerrillas in a religious cleansing effort. As this persecution continues, however, a very interesting thing is happening: the church continues to grow! History has shown us time and time again that the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church and when Christians are persecuted, the Gospel spreads. And after hearing our brothers and sisters in India talk and pray, it’s hardly surprising. They don’t pray, nor do they ask us to pray that the persecution would stop. They pray only that they would be faithful in the midst of it, and that their persecutors would come to know Jesus and His grace.
The very next night, Jayson French was speaking and issued a challenge. He wanted 200 of the 850 students at our conference to commit to sending an Indian man through Central India Christian Mission to be a missionary in that same highly persecuted province of India. Once finished with Bible College that missionary will plant for churches. The catch: it costs $2,000 per missionary to go through Bible College. Our students, undaunted, couldn’t sit in their seats. 7 of them quickly committed to sending 1 missionary a piece through CICM. And when they did, they signed up the whole youth group. That’s what a church is right? A family that loves each other, and serves together. So we came home from MOVE with changed hearts, open eyes, and a commitment to raise $14,000. Sound foolish? It is. The High School students can’t do this. Oh, it’s ok that I said that on here, they already know. They just also know that God can, and will. They are committed. They’re writing over pay checks, going without things, and working out fundraisers. And they’re counting on the church to be the church. To commit to this along side them. Together, we are flooding India with the Gospel to encourage the saints, and speak truth the their persecutors.
How Can I Help?
We’re so glad you asked! There are a couple of things you can do in the immediate future.
First, give money. $14,000 is a LOT of money and we have a LONG ways to go. Any help is appreciated.
Second, come support the efforts at our “swim for the saints” event. It is Saturday August 27th, from 1-5pm at Camp Loughridge aquatics center. It’s a great big pool as well as a splash pad for kids! Highland Park has reserved this pool for the purpose of the fundraiser. Feel free to bring the whole family as well as all the friends you can find! There is a minimum donation of $3 per person (you can always give more) and we will be selling snow cones for $1 a piece. EVERY PENNY made from admission and snow cones goes directly to CICM. Camp Loughridge was awesome enough to donate the pool and life guards so nothing is of any cost to us.
New ways to help will constantly creep up so stay tuned here or email lane at firstname.lastname@example.org.