Sensitive Communities

Title of the document

What is a Sensitive Community?

At FH we are led by our Christian beliefs, yet we are also committed to serving vulnerable people without regard to race, creed or nationality. Sometimes this commitment takes us into what we call “sensitive” communities. In some of these places, evangelism is strictly illegal. For the safety of those we serve, we exercise extreme caution in how we share matters of faith. The contexts in which we work are different in each area. Please see the country specific guidelines for how to best communicate with your sponsored child.

How will my sponsored child learn about Jesus?

Since public education is so poor in many sensitive communities, FH staff facilitates after-school clubs to teach children and encourage them in their studies. There, kids also learn biblical values like obedience, honoring their parents and serving others. Many children take these values back to their home and, once our staff form trusting relationships, they may share their faith directly with those who show interest.

Although our work may look different in various areas, by God’s grace we’re seeing communities come together and discover their God-given purpose.

Aren't these types of guidelines in opposition to the words of Jesus in Matthew 10?

“Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.” (NIV)?

Actually, these guidelines seek to follow the guidance Jesus gave to His disciplines in this very passage. While telling His disciples to “proclaim from the roofs” (v27), Jesus did not tell his disciples to seek persecution or attempt to incite it. Rather, He told them to be “on their guard” (v17). Jesus commanded His disciples to be “as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” (v16) when it came to sharing with those not open to the Gospel.

Likewise, in other parts of scripture we are encouraged to share the Gospel with “gentleness and respect” (I Peter 3:15). In explaining how he sought to contextualize his presentation of the gospel, the Apostle Paul stated, “I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.” (I Cor 9:22)

These guidelines do not seek to “disown” Jesus by any means. Rather, these guidelines seek to honor the Biblical encouragement to share the Gospel in ways that acknowledge the cultural contexts in which we are working.

Country Specific Guidelines

Bangladesh

Don’t use the words that would normally be used in the Christian faith such as “Jesus,” “Christ,” “Holy Spirit,” Bible,” etc., but it’s okay to talk about God in general terms.

Yes:

  • Remind the child he is special, loved, smart, and full of potential.
  • Tell him you care about him, and that’s why you’re his sponsor.
  • Tell the child about your family and the place you live. Ask her about her family and about the place she lives. Ask about the food, holidays, culture, weather, and so on.
  • Ask your sponsored child what he likes to do, and share some of the things you like to do!
  • Share stories about having good character by serving others and being honest.

No:

  • Including crosses or other Christian references in your letters, photos or gifts
  • Instruct the child to practice faith such as reading the Bible, going to church, praying
  • Read this verse…
  • Mentions Jesus in a way that directly relates to the child such as Jesus loves you or Jesus is watching over you.
  • Refer to Jesus as the Messiah or Savior

Indonesia

Don’t use the words that would normally be used in the Christian faith such as “Jesus,” “Christ,” “Holy Spirit,” Bible,” etc., even with regard to your own faith. This is a highly sensitive country and the repercussions of sending something that suggests Christianity is very serious.

Yes:

  • Remind them of how important it is to study hard
  • Encourage them to be obedient to their parents
  • Ask about daily activities
  • Ask about their dreams and goals
  • Sending winter items such as stickers and photos as long as there isn’t a reference to Christmas or Jesus’ birth.

No:

  • Including crosses or other Christian references in your letters, photos or gifts
  • Instruct the child to practice faith such as reading the Bible, going to church, praying
  • Read this verse…
  • Mentions Jesus in a way that directly relates to the child such as Jesus loves you or Jesus is watching over you.
  • I love reading the Bible and going to church because it helps me grow closer to Jesus
  • We know that Jesus has a plan for your life
  • Refer to Jesus as the Messiah or Savior

Cambodia

Don’t use the words that would normally be used in the Christian faith such as “Jesus,” “Christ,” “Holy Spirit,” Bible,” etc., but talk about God in general terms. Be sure to avoid any graphic references and concepts that might be misunderstood by non-Christians such as Jesus’ blood. You may share your own personal experience and testimony.

Yes:

  • Remind the child he is special, loved, smart, and full of potential.
  • Tell him you care about him, and that’s why you’re his sponsor.
  • Tell the child about your family and the place you live. Ask her about her family and about the place she lives. Ask about the food, holidays, culture, weather, and so on.
  • Ask your sponsored child what he likes to do, and share some of the things you like to do!
  • Share stories about having good character by serving others and being honest.
  • Tell your sponsored child that God has a plan for her life.

No:

  • Instruct the child to practice faith such as reading the Bible, going to church, praying
  • Read this verse…
  • Mentions Jesus in a way that directly relates to the child such as Jesus loves you or Jesus is watching over you.
  • Refer to Jesus as the Messiah or Savior

Ethiopia

Don’t use the words that would normally be used in the Christian faith such as “Jesus,” “Christ,” “Holy Spirit,” Bible,” etc., but talk about God in general terms. Be sure to avoid any graphic references and concepts that might be misunderstood by non-Christians such as Jesus’ blood. You may share your own personal experience and testimony.

Yes:

  • Remind the child he is special, loved, smart, and full of potential.
  • Tell him you care about him, and that’s why you’re his sponsor.
  • Tell the child about your family and the place you live. Ask her about her family and about the place she lives. Ask about the food, holidays, culture, weather, and so on.
  • Ask your sponsored child what he likes to do, and share some of the things you like to do!
  • Share stories about having good character by serving others and being honest.
  • Tell your sponsored child that God has a plan for her life.

No:

  • Instruct the child to practice faith such as reading the Bible, going to church, praying
  • Read this verse…
  • Mentions Jesus in a way that directly relates to the child such as Jesus loves you or Jesus is watching over you.
  • Refer to Jesus as the Messiah or Savior

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