Voice of the Martyrs Korea today announced plans to send Christmas Care Packages containing children’s Bibles, school supplies, toys, clothing, and hygiene items to Christian children in eleven countries or regions where their families are facing persecution due to their faith.
“Last year our VOMK supporters made it possible for us to send more than 4,600 Christmas Care Packages to children of Christian families facing persecution in nine countries including North Korea, China, and Russia,” says Voice of the Martyrs Korea Representative Dr. Hyun Sook Foley. “This year we will be sending as many packages as we can to the children of Christian families facing persecution in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Palestine, and the Philippines.”
Representative Foley says the contents for each Christmas Care Package are sourced locally so that contents can be tailored to the needs and preferences of local believers. The packs are scheduled to be distributed in late 2023 and early 2024 by VOM frontline workers, who identify the children eligible to receive the gifts. Representative Foley says that in some of the countries a small number of the packages are used by local believers and VOM frontline workers for outreach events reaching non-Christian children.
Representative Foley says that a donation of 50,000 KRW can send one Christmas Care Package. Donations for the Christmas Care Package program must be received no later than December 31.
Representative Foley says that Voice of the Martyrs Korea tries to select different countries for the project each year in order to highlight for the Christian public the specific conditions that persecuted Christians and their children are facing in each country. “This year’s Christmas Care Package program will give us the opportunity to share what it’s like to be a Christian child in a place like India, Palestine, or Egypt. In each place Christian children face different kinds of challenges due to their faith.”
Representative Foley shared stories from some of last year’s 4,600 Christmas Care Package recipients:
Laos: “One of the Christmas Care packs we distributed was received by a Christian boy in Laos,” said Representative Foley. “Laos is one of five remaining Communist countries in the world, and it is strongly Buddhist. Christians are a very small minority in the country. They are accustomed to a life of discrimination and difficulty, being cut off from others socially and often economically. One mother whose son received a package told us, ‘My son is very happy for the gifts. He never got such a gift in his life. My son prayed to God to give thanks. He was running around to my neighbors and said to them, “This is a gift from nowhere!”’”
Children in Laos display backpacks they received as part of Voice of the Martyrs’ Christmas Care Packages last year
Tigray: “Tigray is a region in Northern Ethiopia that was ravaged by war from 2020-2022,” said Representative Foley. “One of our favorite stories from last year’s Christmas Care Package distribution there was of a 14-year-old girl named Miriam. When her mother became a Christian, her father became very angry and demanded that she stop following Jesus. But when she refused to deny Jesus, the father completely abandoned them. Due to this situation, and the war, the family was facing huge difficulties. When Miriam received the Christmas care pack, the joy on her face was easy to see and the mother boldly declared, ‘The church is my true family.’”
14-year-old Miriam with her pastor in Tigray. When Miriam received the Voice of the Martyrs Christmas Care Package last year, her mother said, ‘The church is my true family.’”
Myanmar: “We distributed 150 packs to a group of people called the Lahu, who live in the mountains of Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam and China,” said Representative Foley. “While originally from Tibet and Southwestern China, they scattered in part due to persecution during the early days of Chinese Communism. Lahu Christians were beaten, their Bibles were burned, and their church buildings were repurposed for secular use. More recently they experienced persecution in Myanmar, when pastors were detained, crosses were removed, and churches were closed down by the United Wa State Army. When our partner delivered the packs to the Lahu in Northern Thailand, Laos and Myanmar last year, he said, ‘The Lahu believers were amazed at the generosity and love from brothers and sisters in Christ that they had never even met! They said that only God could do such a thing.’”
Lahu tribe members gather for a Christmas celebration last year. Wrapped Christmas Care Packages provided by Voice of the Martyrs are visible in the foreground.
Donations for this year’s Voice of the Martyrs Korea Christmas Care Package program can be made until December 31 at www.vomkorea.com/en/donation. Representative Foley says that a donation of 50,000 KRW can send one Christmas Care Package.