For Diane Kalajainen, serving as a Connector with Open Doors has been the “next step” in her journey after retirement. For 40 years, Diane used her talents as a school teacher in her home state of Pennsylvania. In New Wilmington and Portersville, she taught Spanish.
“I began to ask the Lord what He would have me to do in my next journey,” she says. “Volunteering with an organization that ministered to the persecuted Church was my answer.”
Diane is one of 200-plus Open Doors Connectors who use their gifts and volunteer their time, energies and creativity to help Open Doors make the persecuted church unavoidable to the American Church. Diane serves and helps others connect to our brothers and sisters who each day live and die for their faith in Christ.
She quotes author Chuck Swindoll: “We who are free to worship and serve our Lord must never forget those who are not.”
Epistles of Encouragement
In her role as an Open Doors Connector, Diane has spoken in her church on the International Day of Prayer for the persecuted church. She plans to contact other area churches for speaking opportunities to create awareness. Currently, she’s involved in Open Doors’ letter-writing campaigns to persecuted believers and reaches out to individuals and churches to encourage them to write letters.
Recently, Diane received an inspiring email from a woman she had told about the opportunity to write letters to persecuted believers. The woman, also a retired school teacher, wrote 22 notes. That means 22 believers who can’t express or live out their faith without fear of discrimination, violence or criminal punishment will receive much-needed, soul-nurturing words.
“She went to four different Dollar Stores to look for more notes she could send but couldn’t find any other suitable ones,” Diane says. “She would’ve written even more!”
Like the Apostle Paul who wrote letters when he couldn’t be physically present with Timothy and the churches he planted, Diane understands that she’s investing her energies in eternity matters.
“I know these cards will be a tremendous encouragement and blessing to our suffering family.”
If you’re interested in being a Connector or volunteering with Open Doors, we’d love to hear from you and tell you how you can use your time and energies to support your persecuted church family.
Deepening Her Commitment to the Persecuted Church
Like many who volunteer with Open Doors, Diane first learned about the persecuted church through Open Doors Founder Brother Andrew’s seminal work, God’s Smuggler. As a young believer, she read about the book in Christianity Today magazine.
“I bought the book, and the Lord opened up my heart to the plight of Christians behind the Iron Curtain,” she remembers. “Previously, I didn’t even know there was Christian persecution.
“Then, I realized that we are all part of the family of God. We are all one Church. A desire to help my brothers and sisters grew in my heart.”
Diane’s next step was to seek out the organization Brother Andrew led. She signed up to receive Open Doors’ newsletter and attended several Open Doors prayer conferences.
“I wanted to do something tangible, so I began to support the work of Open Doors and requested the prayer alerts,” she says. “Each day, I prayed for my brothers and sisters. Whenever there was a plea to write a letter of encouragement to a persecuted believer, I did it.
“For many years while I was teaching, I had the desire to volunteer and enlighten other Christians about our suffering brothers and sister as persecution increased in more countries. After all my years of connection with Open Doors, I decided to become a Connector.”
‘We Need to Get the Message Out’
As a Connector for Open Doors, Diane’s goal is to share about our suffering brothers and sisters with as many people as possible. It has been an experience she highly recommends.
“Most assuredly, I would encourage anyone who has a heart passion for our suffering family to become a Connector.
“Many of our fellow American believers are unaware of the plight of their brothers and sisters in so many countries, and they need to know this. We need to get the message out to churches so that others can understand and follow the Lord’s calling to pray and to support our family worldwide.”
Dianne’s Connector Tip: “For a small investment at a local dollar or 99 cent store, you can give someone a package of blank cards and encourage them to write an encouraging note to believers who desperately need to know someone is praying for them. It only takes a few minutes to write a short message on one side. You can even encourage small groups, youth groups and Sunday school classes of all ages to get involved. Think what this kind of inspiration means to our brothers and sisters!”
If you’re interested in being a Connector or volunteering with Open Doors, we’d love to hear from you and tell you how you can use your time and energies to support the persecuted church.