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Philip Parks
Phil Parks
Photo: VOM USA

The life of 14-year-old Philip "Phil" Parks may have been cut short by cancer, but his bold faith, which only grew stronger as he confronted death, continues to help persecuted Christians today. During his battle with stage four glioblastoma, a rare and aggressive brain cancer, Phil used his God-given artistic talents to create greeting cards which he sold online. The front of the cards feature his drawing of a cardinal -- a symbol of hope during his battle with cancer.

Days before he slipped into a coma (subsequently passing away on April 13th, 2016), Phil told his mother that he wanted the profits from his greeting cards to be used to further assist persecuted Christians in other countries. "He was thankful...because (his illness) enabled him to share Christ with more people," Phil's mother, Lydia, wrote in a letter to VOM. "He then told me that martyrs have suffered much more for their faith, and that he had it 'much easier.'"

Phil shared this with his mother after being told his illness was terminal; news he received after enduring several surgeries, chemotherapy, and dozens of rounds of radiation therapy and cell treatment. Through it all, he held onto hope, joy, love and faith.

Phil had long been inspired by the stories of enduring faith in the face of fear from our persecuted brothers and sisters around the world. Eight months before he passed away, Phil wrote his last letter to a persecuted Christian in prison. In the letter, Phil encouraged Farshid Fathi, who had been imprisoned in Iran, stating that he was praying for the incarcerated believer. Authorities released Farshid four months later, after spending nearly five years in prison.

Even though Lydia misses her son terribly, she continues to remember his bold faith. May we, too, be encouraged by such a short but powerful legacy of love and courage, as revealed by Phil's dedicated life. Please prayerfully uphold this grieving family, asking the Lord to console them with the assurance that they will one day be joyfully reunited with Phil, who has gone on to heaven to receive his eternal reward.