When confronted with persecution, GlobalFingerprints echoes Peter’s answer to the high priest: “‘We must obey God rather than men’” (Acts 5:29 ESV). We serve a number of areas that are hostile to Christianity and where the security of the children in the program, our partners, and our team is an especially serious concern. Still, God’s work is often magnified in the midst of adversity. 

In 2019, GlobalFingerprints partnered with a national church planting network to help spread the gospel to children in one of these high-security countries. “This is an example where the ministry comes alongside to strengthen existing church plants,” explains GlobalFingerprints Asia Division Leader, Simon. “We are predominantly not planting new churches through GlobalFingerprints because they’re already planted, but they’re very much constrained as to what they can do in this context. This is a context where the government is not welcoming to other ways of life, and it’s very difficult to actually minister as a public Christian in this country. And so [local churches] use GlobalFingerprints to extend into communities.”  

GF Staff visiting walking through the local community

Already, we have twenty sites connected to local churches. 297 children have sponsors, but we minister to many unsponsored children in the communities as well. With a care worker to child ratio of 1:5, our program is what Simon terms “a high-touch ministry.” He explains that “we’re out of the walls of the church and into the walls of these children’s homes. That’s really how this ministry operates.”

“Rachel,” the program manager, reports that “GlobalFingerprints is such a good way for [churches] to have an impact on their target communities…[by] build[ing] relationships and good reputation to share about Christ to people.” Indeed, through our outreach events, many children have been connected to churches. When one of our partner churches planned a children’s event in a province they hoped to plant a new church in, they expected only fifty kids to attend. They were met with 100. The same outpouring happened with their Children’s Day event when they only expected 100 attendees. This new church has now taken root, caring for ten new sponsored children and inviting their families to weekly Bible studies. In one week alone, three children accepted Christ. As exciting as this news is, these children are now facing persecution for their faith. 

Children and a care worker interacting at small group during VBS

“You’re not allowed to go outside of your building to really have any ‘religious activities.’ That’s how the government tries to suppress the church,” says Simon. “You can register as a church and have religious activities, but you’re not allowed to go outside, which is why [the churches] need GlobalFingerprints.” But as churches grow and birth new churches, the government is changing tactics: refusing to accept registration applications, shutting down buildings, and tracking Christians to lock down conferences.

But God has chosen His workers in the field for such a time as this. Simon describes one local pastor as “an out-there evangelist” despite the persecution. Continuing, he says, “Our God is bigger. We’re [still] adding children…[and] we are expanding the ministry,” even into the communist government’s capitol. Although there are “a zillion reasons” why ministry should not work in this city, our national partners say that they are “crazy enough to do it,” and ten new churches hope to launch GlobalFingerprints sites in the capitol. 

In 2024, our goal is to sponsor 200 more children in this country. You can be a vital part of helping us reach this goal. Sponsor a child online or email tom.pankratz@efca.org for more information on how your church can get involved.