The following activity was part of a youth camp led by Rusty R., a youth minister in Illinois. Read more about the camp in the previous two posts.
Rusty said, “One night I sent the students to bed early, right at dark. I gave them instructions to stay in their beds until they received a special knock at their door. I told them at that point they would no longer be at camp, but in a restricted nation.
“Later I went around knocking on doors. Each sleeping quarters received a page of instructions and dozens of pages photocopied from a Bible.
“The students were instructed to hide the Bible pages on them. They were to leave their sleeping quarters, a minute apart, in groups of no more than three people. They were told to walk about a half mile to a basement room. On the way, they would be confronted by guards. The guards were five guys dressed in camouflage with bandanas on their faces. We even blocked off a road with a military truck. They were told that if they were caught by the guards, there were to say they were going to a birthday party.
“When they arrived at the basement room, they were instructed to put all their Scripture pages under a rug in the middle of the room. We chose a small room to make it more cramped. We had a small light source.
“Our ‘underground service’ was totally unstructured. Students were told to lead out in song, Scripture reading, or stories of encouragement. They did an amazing job of it for more than an hour and a half.
“Four adult leaders recited stories of present-day persecuted Christians in the first person. [See the previous post.] We had one of the faculty kidnapped by the guards. During the service, she was released and re-joined the group to tell her story.
“We placed a birthday cake in the middle of the room. Students were instructed to sing “Happy Birthday” if the guards raided the service. It was our alibi to hide what we were doing. Within 30 minutes of the start of the meeting, guards burst in and everyone sang “Happy Birthday.” The guards ended up taking our cake with them when they left and letting us continue our “party.” Later we dismissed the students in groups of three, with one minute between each group.
(Edited and adapted from the original for clarity, space, and age-appropriateness.)