Last year, Naomi chose to lose her shoes to fundraise for her persecuted church family. She raised over £1000, which is amazing. This year, she’s choosing to lose the comfort and warmth of her bed. For three nights, she’ll be sleeping outside, with nothing but a pallet mattress and sleeping bag!
Naomi is taking on the Choose to Lose challenge to raise money, prayer and awareness for Christians around the world who are missing out because of their choice to follow Jesus – Christians like Saser and Mihea (names changed) from Laos.
The two young men had recently chosen to follow Jesus when their Christian faith was discovered. In the space of an afternoon, they lost their home and their safety. People they used to call neighbours, along with the police, questioned and beat them. The mob wouldn’t let them go. They were told to sign documents saying they would stop being Christians and that they would return to the local tribal religion. But they refused. So, the beatings got worse and worse.
Eventually the villagers pushed them out of their house and evicted them from the area. The message was clear: if you choose Jesus, you’re no longer safe here.
For Saser and Mihea, choosing Jesus has meant losing physical safety, security, and community. Despite wanting to go home, they have moved to a local city where Open Doors partners have been supporting them.
Could you take on the Choose to Lose Challenge for some or all of Lent and help raise money and prayer for Christians like Saser and Mihea? Sign up and we’ll send you a free Choose to Lose fundraising pack, with help on getting your challenge started and reflections to help you connect with your persecuted family!
2. Decide what you are going to choose to lose
Will it be your games console, a favourite snack or drink, screen time or something more extreme? What would feel like a real sacrifice?
3. Decide how long for
Whether you choose to lose for 24 hours, 3 days, a week, a month or longer – you can choose. But challenge yourself – this is called the Choose To Lose Challenge, what will cost you and will make any support you receive worthwhile?
4. Set up your justgiving page
This is an easy way for people to sponsor and support you and Open Doors. You can follow this link to set your page – if you need any help let us know! Message us on Instagram or send us an email email@example.com
Depending on your challenge you will need more or less time to prepare. You might want to create a little video to explain what you’re doing and why and post on your socials or ask to share in Church or youth group. If you’re giving something up you might want to make sure you have hidden it away, out of sight. You might want to line up alternative activities so that you find it easier to cope – why not order a free copy of God Smuggler to read.
You might need to collect items – I’m losing my bed, so I had to work out what I needed to sleep outside for a few days. Make sure you give some time to prepare so you are ready for your Choose To Lose Challenge.
6. Tell people
Tell them what you are doing (what are you choosing to lose and for how long?), why you are doing it (to raise money and prayer for Christians who lose out because they choose to follow Jesus) and ask them to sponsor you (please would you consider sponsoring me?) If you need a paper sponsor form you can find one here…. Once you sign up, we’ll also send you a bunch of Choose to Lose graphics you can edit and use on your social media accounts too!
7. Read the stories
In your Choose to Lose pack you’ll find a stories booklet which shares 4 stories of Christians who have lost different things because of their decisions to become Christians. These are powerful stories of real people – take time to read and learn from them.
The BEST thing we can do is pray for our Christian family. God chooses to work through our prayers; use the prayer points from the stories to help you to know what to pray. But let that be a springboard into praying your own prayers!
9. Feel the pain
The whole point of the Choose To Lose Challenge is to identify with the cost of choosing to follow Jesus. For many, this choice is a decision which means they lose out – they might lose family, friends, community, homes, education or employment, freedom or even their lives. Feel the pain of what you have chosen to lose and ask God to speak to you through the pain.
In taking part in the Choose To Lose Challenge, what have you learnt? Have any of the stories connected with you? How have you found losing out? Has God spoken to you? Take some time to think and jot down some reflections so you can come back to them and see what God was doing through this challenge.
Feedback to all those who have supported you – let them know what you have learnt and thank them for their prayer and financial support. Then send in any funds you’ve been able to raise and let us know how you got on!