There are so many ways that we, the church in the UK and Ireland, can support our brothers and sisters following Jesus no matter the cost. The oneineight.collective is a group of artists, designers and other creatives using their gifts and skills to raise money for persecuted Christians.
New items are uploaded weekly on Instagram @oneineight.collective, and the pop-up store is running right across the summer (June-August). The name ‘oneineight.collective’ comes for the shocking statistic that one in eight Christians globally faces persecution or discrimination for their faith.
In this interview, two of the contributing artists discuss why they’re part of the collective, and how stories from the persecuted church have touched and inspired them. Vick McDonald shares her work at @creativelychanged, while you’ll find Annelise Rimmer at @house.of.grace.designs.
Vick McDonald: When I was younger, I remember being so annoyed with my church leaders for not telling me about the persecuted church. I think it’s never spoken enough and I want everybody to know and pray for our family that are hurting.
"The testimonies of my brothers and sisters around the world have brought such challenge and encouragement to my faith." Annelise
I’m particularly inspired by woman who are doubly persecuted across the world, especially northern Nigeria. Leah Sharibu’s story really inspires me, standing so strong her faith at such a young age is so powerful. I continuously pray for Leah and that her faith grows stronger by the day.
Anneliese Rimmer: The testimonies of my brothers and sisters around the world have brought such challenge and encouragement to my faith. One of the first stories I heard was about Jeovani, a teenage boy whose church was attacked and he lost both his legs in. After the attack, he brought the challenge to their church leader to forgive their attackers.
Or Hae Woo's testimony of starting a secret church in a labour camp in North Korea. I hear time and time again of those laying their lives down for Jesus and the sake of the gospel, family members who have given their whole life to Jesus. And I can't help thinking that, in the comfort and freedom of faith in the West, that there is so much more Jesus has for us, when we ‘give our yes’ to Him.
Vick: I’ve been fundraising for Open Doors for over a year now from my own Instagram account, and thought this would be a great addition to my own fundraising. I love creating art as a form of worship, especially Christ-centred art. It not only relaxes me but gives me a time of continuous prayer and ends up fundraising money for such an important charity - couldn’t think of a better way to spend my Sabbaths!
Annelise: It's a great opportunity to use my love for creating to raise awareness and funds for my persecuted family. I love creating different pieces, whether that’s through sewing or my latest fascination of flower pressing. It’s my hope that, as people buy and receive these items, they will know that it is making a difference beyond just buying the piece.
It's a joy to be part of something with others, who express art and creativity through different forms – knowing that we are in this for the same goal.
Vick: I hope it will not only financially, emotionally and spiritually help so many Christians all over the world who are suffering for their faith, but will also inspire the artists working within the collective! I love the community that we have formed and it feels like we have created a little artistic church – all to help our family.
"I love creating art as a form of worship." Vick
Annelise: I hope that it will make more people aware of the reality of persecution, and the opportunity we have to respond through financial giving. And hopefully, as people have pieces up in their home, they can be visual reminders to pray and remember their persecuted family.
It's also a space for connection, enabling other creative individuals to come together. I know this is a pop-up shop just over summer, but who knows what other opportunities there could be to use creativity as a means of fundraising and generating awareness for Open Doors and our global persecuted family?
Lord God, please use the gifts and creativity of these artists to bless our persecuted brothers and sisters. Use the money raised, and the prayers inspired, to make real differences in the lives of our persecuted church family who follow You no matter the cost.
Your support helps persecuted Christians continue to courageously follow Jesus.
Together, we can reach those where persecution hits hardest.