Michigan Church Highlights Persecuted Christians

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Members at Harvest Community Christian Reformed Church in Lake Odessa, Mich., focused on praying for persecuted Christians by bringing those countries and cultures to their church.

Harvest Community CRC prays for persecuted Christians in Somalia, Yemen, Maldives, and Laos.

Photo by Evelyn David

The front of the sanctuary was covered with flags from countries where Christians are persecuted. The church highlighted ten of those countries by having people wear that country’s native dress.

“We [had] those people, along with a ‘prayer person’ come to the front that morning and [pray] specifically for the country represented by the person in native dress,” explained Marshann Ludema, a member at Harvest.

The church had recognized the special Sunday for several years, but recently Rev. Ben Ridder wanted to be more intentional in the service.

Each member received a rubber barbed wire bracelet representing the persecution of Christians in other countries.

“These rubber barbed wire bracelets that we wear remind us to pray for the persecuted church—and it’s a good conversation starter,” said Jason Flohr.

After the service, the church hosted a dinner with dishes from several of the persecuted countries.

Audrey Mason made Russian bean soup for the dinner. “I became aware of what these different countries were going through and how thankful I am that we can come to church and just worship freely,” she said.

Worshipers were also reminded that these persecuted Christians are praying for believers in North America. “It’s not a one-sided relationship,” explained Flohr. “They pray that we wouldn’t be blinded by the comfort that we have in the West.”

Harvest also took an offering for Open Doors, a ministry that gives Bibles to believers in persecuted churches around the world.

“The greatest thing is for those who are doing the persecuting to turn to Christ, because that’s when the persecution will really stop,” added Flohr.

About the Author

Ryan Struyk was a former Banner news correspondent for classes Grand Rapids South and Thornapple Valley. 

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