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Joy on Their Faces

Colombia
Rolo travels on difficult roads

Parents and Teachers: The July 2014 issue of The Voice of the Martyrs newsletter features information about bold Christians who serve God on the “front lines.” To subscribe to the free monthly newsletter, visit our subscription signup page. As you read the newsletters, you may want to share stories from this site about the featured Christians with your children. Then pray together for the people in the stories.

The following editorial by Jim, the president of VOM, is adapted for children from the July VOM newsletter.

When I travel to meet our brave brothers and sisters who work in countries where Christians are persecuted, I am amazed. These workers are humble and willing to serve, and their joy shows on their faces.

I am thinking of one of our co-workers in Colombia, Rolo. He and another worker were thrown into a septic tank for three days. (A septic tank is a large container that holds waste water from toilets.) They had just crossed the border into Venezuela with Bibles and Christian literature. Venezuela is one of the least church-going countries in the region.

Pastors helped the workers out of the tank. Rolo wants to return to the area with more Bibles.

I am also reminded of a VOM worker in Nigeria who used his car to take Christians injured in Muslim attacks to the hospital. One day as he was delivering VOM newsletters, radical Muslims shot him. The attackers stole 500 newsletters. Pastors in the area are praying that the newsletters will help the Muslims find the truth.

In Iran, our workers know that the average Bible smuggler is caught within two years and sent to prison. The workers realize that the more people they lead to Christ, the more persecution they will witness. They may also bring persecution upon themselves.

Every time I meet with persecuted workers, I ask how we can help them. They always say, “Pray for us.” I tell them that I pray for them and so do many others around the world.

To Discuss

  • What is courage? How did the workers described in the editorial show courage?
  • Why do you think the workers in risky circumstances have joy on their faces?
  • If someone hurt a friend of yours, would you pray for them to find the truth?

More About North Korean Youth

North Korea
A North Korean youth looks at a map of North and South Korea

The North Korean government is very rough to any citizen who is discovered to be a Christian. Some Christians in North Korea leave the country to places like China or South Korea. VOM contacts talked with Christian youth who escape from North Korea and are now living in South Korea:

Question: What is school like in North Korea?

Answer: School is very stressful because there are always assignments to submit. Sometimes an assignment is to catch a rabbit to give to the government, or to collect animal droppings for fertilizer.

When you are a child, it is stressful because these things are hard to find. If you don’t find them, you can’t be promoted in school.

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Youth in North Korea

North Korea
A North Korean youth looks at a map of North and South Korea

The North Korean government is very rough to any citizen who is discovered to be a Christian. Some Christians in North Korea leave the country to places like China or South Korea. VOM contacts talked with Christian youth who escape from North Korea and are now living in South Korea:

Question: Do you have family still in North Korea?

Answer: I have a big brother, but I don’t get to see him anymore. He still lives inside North Korea. People in North Korea and South Korea can’t talk to each other because the countries are separated. If I tried to contact him, the North Korea government would likely put him in prison as a punishment for my “crime” of leaving North Korea.

Question: What is it like to live as a Christian child in North Korea?

Answer:I have a memory from my time as a child in North Korea. I remember praying desperately to the Lord. As I look back in this, I was very happy. My happiness was not because God gave me what I asked for. It was because I knew I could pray to the Lord and He would listen.

I always had a little bit of fear as a Christian. I also felt satisfaction and joy, which are very rare in North Korea. But I knew something that others didn’t know. I knew that God existed, and that He was present right where I was.

I had always thought that being a Christian meant I could be happy, live well, and help other people. But then I realized that I would suffer if I followed Jesus.

If the North Korean government discovers you are a Christian, they will punish you and your family. I think that [Christian children in freer countries] must be very happy because they know God and can go to church freely with their parents. In North Korea we were not able to go to church with our family. Christian families have to worship secretly.

Question: What do people in North Korea eat?

Answer: When I lived in North Korea, many people were starving. The government did not give out food to the people.

There are many dogs in North Korea because people have to protect their homes from thieves. Starving people steal from anyone’s house. There are many orphans who steal things, too.

Question: What games do kids in North Korea like to play?

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A Hidden Child Escapes

Parents and Teachers: The June 2014 issue of The Voice of the Martyrs newsletter features information about bold North Korean Christians. To subscribe to the free monthly newsletter, visit our subscription signup page. As you read the newsletters, you may want to share stories from this site about the featured Christians with your children. Then pray together for the people in the stories.

A young married couple in North Korea, Mee and Yong, were expecting a baby boy. But then Yong, the husband, was arrested as a “political prisoner.” (A political prisoner is someone who is arrested for disagreeing with people in power.) North Korean officials arrest people that they think do not agree with them, including many Christians.

Yong was put in prison, and officials told Mee that she must not have the baby. They did not want a child born to someone who disagreed with them. Mee gave birth to her baby, Min, in secret.

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Learning to Forgive

The Philippines

“Then God said to Jonah, ‘Is it right for you to be angry…?’ And he said, ‘It is right for me to be angry, even to death!’” (Jonah 4:9, NIV.)

Gracia Burnham was angry. A gang of violent Muslims had kidnapped her. Gracia did not even like to go camping. But the group forced Gracia and her husband Martin to live with them in the jungle. The jungle had no beds, bathrooms, stores, or air conditioning.

Gracia and Martin were missionaries in the Philippines. Before the men kidnapped them, Gracia homeschooled their three kids: Mindy, Zach, and Jeff. Martin, a pilot, flew mail and supplies to other missionaries in hard-to-reach places.

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