This is something I have wanted to do with the kids for a while now, but with my mom's poor health and being over at her house alll the time, we just never quite had enough time to get around to it. Well, this Sunday, we had the perfect opportunity to get started.
About a month ago, I found a big beautiful map from the Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) website of all the areas of the world where it is illegal or extremely difficult to be a Christian. I want my children to understand how easy we have it here in America and what our brothers and sisters in Christ in other areas of the world have to go through on a daily basis to be a Christian and take a stand for Jesus. I wanted something up and visible on the wall, something that we couldn't help but notice each and every day, to remind us to stop and pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ and to also pray that people around the world would come to know Jesus.
The kids had their shoebox lesson in Sunday school and this laid the perfect groundwork for what I had been wanting to do. We watched a video and Ms. Barbara read a story about a young child in the Philippines receiving his first shoe box and later how his whole family received Jesus as their Savior through this simple act. This was especially touching because the kids have a pen pal in the Philippines named Eanjill. She has been our Compassion International sponsor child since well before they were born. We keep a notebook of all the letters and pictures we receive and the kids like to look through them from time to time. I've also told them the story of how Eanjill came to know Jesus as her personal Lord and Savior many years ago through Compassion International.
Anyway, later that day, we took the kids to Wal-mart and let them pick out things to put in their shoeboxes. Then we came home and the kids packed them. They are hoping the boxes go to the Philippines where Eanjill lives. Here are the letters they included in each of their shoe boxes.
According to VOM, there are parts of the Philippines that are actually considered hostile areas for Christians. Hostile areas (in red) are areas in which the goverment tries to provide protection for Christians, but they are still victims of violence because of their witness.