Sheona (Sheo) is a 23-year-old Open Doors supporter who took to Instagram with an innovative way to raise money for the persecuted church during lockdown – here, she shares what she did and why. You can find Sheo on Instagram @sheosclothes.
Sheo, an Open Doors supporter, in the Scottish Highlands
I have been in the most beautiful part of the UK, the Scottish Highlands, for the whole of lockdown and I have enjoyed the slow pace of life during this time. It has been an absolute joy to go for walks, read, bake and try a random mixture of new creative projects – turns out embroidery is actually really difficult but so worth the effort!
I have found it hard not being able to see my parents and there have been big life changes which have been sad, but ultimately I have so much to be thankful for. I have remained healthy and so have all my loved ones. In many ways I have felt phenomenally guilty for how much I have enjoyed lockdown, especially when you hear stories of how hard it has been for so many.
Reading stories across the world of people struggling due to lack of finances, struggles with physical and mental health, and abuse in a variety of forms are really heart-breaking to read. It left me feeling totally helpless in what I could do to help and how I could share Jesus while I do it. During lockdown I was able to clear out my closet, piling up clothes I have accumulated over the years that I no longer wear, no longer fit or no longer need.
With charity shops still closed and nowhere to drop them off I thought I could maybe use them to make money for organisations who were doing the work I wish I could be doing personally. I love how Instagram makes it so easy to connect with people and so I decided to use that platform to sell my clothes, on a donation only basis.
Through talks with my sister I started looking into the work of Open Doors. It broke my heart reading stories of Christians in India being refused basic human needs due to their faith in Jesus Christ. In India, many Christians already face persecution for their faith. I can’t get my head around how someone can be refused food and aid during a global pandemic because of their faith. India is a place very close to my heart, as I grew up there in Ludhiana and Mussoori and still have many friends living there, so this seemed like the perfect place for my fundraising to go towards.
"It is so easy to feel like you are helpless and that you can’t make an impact but it has been a joy to remember that God uses everything for good." Sheona
The response to my Instagram sale has been phenomenal. I am amazed by how generous people are and how willing people are to get involved. In just two days we had made about £350 from clothes that had been in my cupboard. Now it’s over £750! Not only that, I had messages from friends saying they loved the idea and asking if they could donate their clothes to the project too. I had set out with the idea of making a little money for Open Doors and getting rid of some old clothes. Somehow along the way it became a little bigger and I am so excited to see where it goes from here.
My middle name is actually Arpana which is the Hindi word for ‘offering’. I aim to live a life that reflects that, offering up my time, talents and, in this case, my clothing to the work of the Lord. It is so easy to feel like you are helpless and that you can’t make an impact but it has been a joy to remember that God uses everything for good. What can seem like such a small act, God can turn into something much bigger.
Please keep praying for the work this money is going towards and give thanks for the generosity people have shown at this time.
Up for connecting with some like-minded justice seekers and keen to develop your understanding of persecution, and be equipped to positively impact those hit hardest by persecution?
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