Skip to content
Blog post feature image

Back to blog


March 27, 2024

SRO Raises Support for Persecuted Christians

Christians in foreign countries are regularly oppressed and persecuted for their faith in Jesus. This persecution can take the form of imprisonment, being shunned by the community, or terrorist attacks. New Saint Andrews students want to raise awareness and support for oppressed Christians and have formed a club called Students for the Relief of the Oppressed (SRO). This group prays for these Christians and encourages them by sending tangible gifts of relief. 

Joshua Salmon is the president of the club. Other student leaders include Zach Atwood (Vice President), Will McCabe (Treasurer), Leif Martin (Volunteer Coordinator), Alex Paradiso (Event Coordinator), Libby Deacon (Marketing Coordinator), and Cosette Gaukler (Secretary). The organization has been running for fifteen years, and various students have led the organization throughout the years. The students regularly meet on Thursdays and Fridays to pray for Christians persecuted in other countries. Prayer is a vital part of their work, and it encourages students to ask for God's care and protection for these saints under challenging situations. 

In a written interview, Josh wrote, “The vision of SRO is our goal to connect Christian students in the Moscow community to the larger body of the church in a way that makes them aware of the oppression locally and abroad.” Josh commented on how the word oppression can confuse people who think this club is some Neo-Marxist non-profit organization that misuses the term “oppressed”. He explained that is not the mission at all. This student group is about real oppression that Christians in other parts of the world are facing every day. He pointed to several examples: a young girl in Iran (recently converted from Islam) who is being starved by her family in an effort to get her to renounce her belief in Christ; a pastor's wife in Nigeria who is the only survivor of a terror attack from Fulani herdsmen; a missionary in Pakistan sentenced to death for blasphemy. 

"The vision of SRO is our goal to connect Christian students in the Moscow community to the larger body of the church in a way that makes them aware of the oppression locally and abroad."

Every fall, SRO organizes a leaf-raking crew to help local people in Moscow with the raking and removal of their leaves in order to raise money to support persecuted Christians globally. The fundraising event last year alone raised $3,770 for Western China Covenant College, a seminary and liberal arts college that has faced persecution over the years. This gift of support shows that American Christians recognize and pray for the needs of these Chinese Christians. Some of SRO’s other fundraising programs have included a winter dance and a pizza dine-to-donate. 

The next fundraising by SRO is a spring Charity Trot on April 20, 2024. This 5k run invites people from the community to run and raise money for those in need.

“Through this event, we are raising funds for a ministry called the Light of Hope Center in Albania,” Josh said. “It is run by a missionary couple in Albania that Dr. Roy Atwood commended to us.” Dr. Atwood was the first president of NSA. He is currently a teaching elder at Trinity Reformed Church, the local church session that oversees the ministry of SRO.  

Light of Hope Center provides prosthetics and therapy for the handicapped in their community. They also have a clubfoot medical program and employ special needs community members. One of their largest donors fell through this year, so all proceeds from this event will fill that gap while they search for other donors. SRO is excited to support this beautiful ministry. 

For those interested in the Charity Trot, there are two ways to be involved. First, local Moscow residents are encouraged to come out and run. The registration fee ($20) serves as a donation. The student body (and many businesses in the community) will be coming together to host the event. The 5K run event starts at Trinity Reformed Church. 

A second way to be involved is to make a donation to SRO. Remote donations are available for those who are not local and want to support the ministry. SRO takes Cash App ($srotreasury), checks, and cash. For those who are not local, Josh said, “You're always welcome to send a check, or donate remotely, but please pray. Pray for the ministry and for the ministries we support.” 

"Pray for the ministry and for the ministries we support.” 

During this time of the year, when we remember the passion of Jesus in dying for our sins and setting the world free from Satan, it is essential to remember and pray for persecuted Christians. Jesus is at work in the world, and these Christians are on the frontlines of the advancing kingdom, sacrificing much to bring light and truth to these dark places. We know that Jesus' resurrection means the gospel transforms these places, even amid persecution and oppression. 

Learn more about Students for the Relief of the Oppressed on the NSA website or their facebook page