Chinese house church networks are currently distributing 3,000 “Sunday Schools in a Box” to Christian children and families across China, according to Voice of the Martyrs Korea Representative Dr. Hyun Sook Foley.
“A ‘Sunday School in a Box’ is a digital Children’s Bible, a video player, and a comprehensive curriculum packaged together so that an adult of any education level can use it to teach the whole Old and New Testament to their child, family, or neighbors,” says Representative Foley.
According to Representative Foley, the project was initially conceived in 2018 by Chinese house church network leaders who were concerned about growing Chinese government crackdowns against children’s ministry by both registered and unregistered churches. “These leaders asked Voice of the Martyrs Korea and our partner ministry China Aid to provide funds to enable Chinese Christians to assemble and distribute ‘Sunday Schools in a Box’ to ordinary Christian parents. So by 2020, funding and distribution of the first set of 5,000 boxes was completed.”
Chinese children open up the Sunday School in a Box materials
The boxes proved to be so popular that Voice of the Martyrs Korea agreed to fund a second distribution of as many as 5,000 boxes in 2021. Representative Foley says that they continue to receive thank you letters from parents and Christian workers who received the first boxes. She says the notes show that the use of the Sunday Schools in a Box has expanded beyond their original purpose.
“Originally the request for the boxes came because Chinese children were being banned from church activities. But then the Chinese government began to use the Coronavirus as a pretext for banning church activities for all people, including even online worship. They haven’t allowed many Christian activities to resume even as the rest of Chinese society has begun to re-open. Now, it is not only children who are unable to attend church. Whole families and congregations are being blocked from organized Christian activity. So fathers and mothers and other ordinary laypeople have had to become the leaders of the Chinese church. Homes have once again had to become the meeting places for churches. And the Sunday Schools in a Box have become a kind of Underground Church in a Box for these new leaders.”
Representative Foley said the role of Voice of the Martyrs Korea in the project is to provide the funding for the Sunday Schools in a Box. “Chinese house church leaders use the funds we send to purchase legally available components from different locations in China. They then assemble the Sunday Schools in a Box inside China and distribute them to recipients through their underground networks.”
According to Representative Foley, there is no central coordinating point in China for the project. “A key part of the strategy is to use many purchasing, assembly, and distribution agents working completely independent of each other, with no knowledge of each other, spread out all across China. This way, even if one part of the network is disrupted, the rest of the work can continue without difficulty. This has enabled large-scale distribution to happen even during the Coronavirus, with boxes reaching families and Christians even in very remote areas.”
Handwritten thank-you note for the Sunday School in a Box materials from Christian workers in N** County
Chinese parents, grandparents and children using the Sunday School in a Box materials
Representative Foley says the ministry continues to receive messages of thanks from the Christian families and workers who have received the boxes. She shares the following three samples:
“Due to China’s current, general environment, many children cannot attend worship services as they typically would. Plus, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) banning many online resources, and other various factors adversely affect children’s spiritual growth. Sometimes, it seems impossible to ‘normally’ pass the faith down to our next generation. At this moment, your treasured, valuable SSIB gifts arrived.” — Handwritten note from N** County (See photo of letter)
“There is no full-time preacher here, but having the SSIB sets with video player has been a great help to everyone. We can study the hymns, listen to the Bible and sermons with the help of the equipment. We thanked God for preparing these gifts, and we also thanked the fellow brothers and sisters who gave them to us with love.”
“Thank the Lord, thank the Father for sending the Bible story comic book to my kids through you. My nephew saw this book and read it over and over again. God’s spirit was with him and chose his mom and his younger sister. It was that book that brought him to the Lord Jesus! Now their whole family has come to faith. Thank the Father for loving you and for spreading your love to us!”
Voice of the Martyrs Korea has so far sent funds for 3,000 boxes in 2021, and it hopes to send funds for as many as 2,000 more by the end of October, according to Representative Foley. She says that each “Sunday School in a Box” costs 75,000 KRW. Individuals and churches interested in making a donation to the project can do so at www.vomkorea.com/en/ssib or via electronic transfer to:
국민은행 (KB Bank) 463501-01-243303
예금주 (Account Holder): (사)순교자의소리
Please include the phrase “SSIB” (for “Sunday School in a Box”) on the transfer.