BCM Myanmar Camp Dining

A Safe Place For All

By: Dr. Sophia Wong, BCM International Children’s Ministry Coordinator

Many years ago when I was a graduate student teaching in the Child Development Lab, a mother came to me. She was physically shaking, devastated, and enraged. Between sobs, she told me she’d just found out her four-year-old daughter had been molested by a babysitter’s husband. She wanted input for any unusual behaviors the girl might have exhibited in my class. In my mid-twenties then, I was saddened this type of abuse could happen to an innocent child.  Years later, I still wonder what became of this case and whether the child recovered from those horrendous experiences.

Child abuse and neglect is regrettably far more common than we might think. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), one in five women globally and one in thirteen men report having been sexually abused as a minor. These numbers are likely an underestimate since many cases are never reported. The lifetime economic burden associated with child abuse and neglect rivals the cost of other high-profile public health problems such as heart disease and diabetes. Childhood abuse isn’t something you “get over.”  It is an evil we must acknowledge and confront if we are to care for the precious gifts from God that are children.

Since 1.4 million children globally participate in BCM-related programs each year, BCM leadership pays close attention to this issue. In March 2024, BCM president Dr. Rick Rhoads with six other BCM missionaries representing Asia, Africa, and North America attended a global conference sponsored by Child Safety and Protection Network.  The conference and pre-training were held in a beautiful centuries-old seminary campus in Malaga, Spain.  About sixty mission organizations and international Christian schools with approximately 175 total global leaders were in attendance. The purpose was to train global leaders in the significance of safeguarding children by creating organizational vision, cultivating a safe culture, and conducting wholistic ministry to honor God.

BCM South Africa Club Gametime

Dr. Sophia Wong

For BCM, “we can keep kids safer” is not just a slogan but a reality that can be obtained.  Since our mission is reaching children with the gospel, it is also our responsibility to safeguard them from harm. It was encouraging to network with other like-minded organizations during this conference. BCM leadership shared what we’ve learned as an organization in almost ninety years of children’s ministry, and we in turn encountered new resources to make our own safety program stronger.

Since the conference, the seven BCM team members have been meeting to prioritize the tasks placed before us. This includes forming a global child safety team headed by BCM’s personnel department. Among top priorities are revising the current BCM Child Safety and Vulnerable People Handbook, developing a three-to-five-year child safety plan, and working on child-safety training and curriculum at different levels within BCM.

Cowboy Night at Teen Bible Club-Bolivia

BCM team Child Safety Conf Madrid

As international children’s director, I want every child who attends a BCM program, whether camp, Bible club, VBS, or school release class, to feel safe and be safe. Promoting awareness of child-safeguarding through training and screening to the global BCM family is a top priority. Last summer, I developed an eleven-minute refresher video to outline some key points for safeguarding children in BCM programs. This video has been subtitled to Spanish, Russian, Dutch, and Chinese languages. To obtain a copy, please contact me at swong@bcmintl.org. If you are interested to know more about BCM’s child safety program or being part of your local safety team, please contact the BCM personnel department: personneldept@bcmintl.org.

Jesus said: “Let the little children come to me” (Matthew 19:14).” When they come, let’s keep them safe!

Closing Program for Parents-BCM Myanmar Camp

Related Articles

BCM In The Kingdom Of Eswatini

Eswatini Bible ClubBy: Lindiwe R. Simelane-Mbhamali, Children’s Ministry DirectorGod works in wonderful ways to carry out His purposes. He has done so for us in the Kingdom of Eswatini to fulfil our passion in reaching children for Christ. The potential of continued...

read more

Signing God’s New Life In Ukraine

Teaching Deaf MinistryBy: Jeanette Windle with Victor and Nadia AnokhinUkraine was still firmly behind the Iron Curtain of the Soviet Union when Victor and Nadia Anokhin first met in the capital city of Kiev where both grew up. Nadia’s parents took their children each...

read more

Answered Prayers

Chuck Powers Baptizing New BelieverBy: Jeanette Windle with BCM France TeamOnce identifying as a Christian nation, France is in a spiritual war with witchcraft, spiritism, atheism, and a growing Islamic demographic far more prevalent today than Bible-believing...

read more