This summer, a ministry that supports the persecuted Church is working to motivate Christian teenagers to get involved in raising awareness about those around the world who are suffering for their religious faith. Underground, the youth outreach of Open Doors USA, is sponsoring a 90-day event called "PUSH 90" in an attempt to encourage prayers and raise awareness and funds for the estimated 200 million Christians worldwide who suffer persecution because of their faith in Jesus Christ.
"PUSH90 is a terrific project for youth groups or for individuals,” says Underground coordinator Jeff Shreve. “It provides a great opportunity to apply the message of the Persecuted Church to young people over their summer break and gives them practical ways to get involved. Through their prayers and donations they will be able to impact those suffering throughout the world. Recent news from the Persecuted Church – from Nigeria to Iraq to Colombia – makes it imperative we act now.”
Shreve told Agape Press that instead of focusing on the massive number, he often reminds people to "look at the individuals from the persecuted Church," and especially to "look at the young people."
Shreve recalled a recent, poignant story about two young boys in Ethiopia, whose father was a pastor at a local church. "Some of the local radicals broke in and killed him, while the mother and the two boys were able to escape," he said.
The ministry's website also features other such stories, such as the an account of 19-year-old Javed Anjum, a Pakistani student who died in a Faisalabad hospital after being tortured for five days in a Muslim seminary. According to the site, Anjum was seized by people from the Islamic school when he stopped there to get a drink of water. He was held, pressured to convert to Islam, and beaten and tortured when he resisted. His injuries led to his death a few days later.
Also noted is a recent incident in northern Iran, where police arrested a Protestant Christian pastor, jailing him along with his wife and two teenage children. Open Doors has highlighted incidents like these and many others that are happening in countries around the world, from Africa to Zanzibar.
Shreve says the ministry is asking young people in the free world to take specific steps in order to show their support for their suffering fellow-believers. In addition to signing up as a "Citizen of the Underground" online and checking the website for the latest updates from the persecuted Church, they are being asked to pray daily for persecuted Christians everywhere.
Furthermore, the ministry spokesman notes, Underground's youth are being encouraged to make some personal sacrifices such as fasting at least one meal a week for the next 90 days. "We ask that they would fast one meal a week throughout the summer for persecuted Christians," he said, "and then we also ask that they would make a commitment over the next 90 days to share with the persecuted Church -- and that is towards our fundraiser."
One of the goals of Push 90 is to raise at least $10,000 for the persecuted Church over the next 90 days. Shreve says the money for the fund drive will be used to purchase Bibles, literature, and other materials for persecuted Christians worldwide, as well as provide training.
Underground is urging youth from across the United States to get involved this summer and make a difference.
[Source: Agape Press]