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Afghanistan: John and Mary

Afghanistan
John, Mary, and their baby Isa

Parents and Teachers: The January 2015 issue of The Voice of the Martyrs newsletter includes a story about John, the son of a Taliban leader in Afghanistan. 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 Taliban
The Taliban is a group of radical Muslims in Afghanistan. Taliban means “students” in Arabic. Members of the group think that women should not go to school, and men should grow beards. They do not like TV, music, games, or some sports. Taliban radicals believe in harsh punishment for Muslims who become Christians.

John
John is the son of a Taliban leader in Afghanistan. When he was a youth, his father sent him to Egypt to study at a secret school for Muslim radicals.

John married a woman named Mary, had a son, and began teaching Muslim beliefs to others in Afghanistan. Then John’s father decided to send John to the Muslim hajj in Saudi Arabia. (Read more about the hajj here.) Taliban bodyguards traveled with John to protect him.

Dreams
While John was in Saudi Arabia, Jesus came to him in a vision and a dream. “I am your God,” Jesus said to John in the vision. “I am Jesus Christ.”

When John woke up, he felt like a different person. “I was completely cleansed from the inside,” he said. “I felt like I was a newborn baby.”

Mary’s Dream
John flew home to Afghanistan and told his father about his experiences with Jesus. “I found my God,” John said.

In anger, John’s father threw John in a basement bunker and kept him there for 18 months. He told John’s wife, Mary, that he had sent John to Egypt again.

When John was freed from the bunker, he went home to Mary. He planned to tell her about Jesus.

“I have something to tell you first,” said Mary. She told John that she had dreams of Jesus while he was gone! She believed in Jesus but had not told the family. John and Mary cried with happiness because of their new life in Christ.

Houses in Heaven
John’s father and other Taliban radicals continued to severely persecute John and his family. John and Mary had to move to another country to be safe. Through all the persecution, John and Mary could only weep and pray, saying, “God, You know.”

John still shares about Jesus with others, even though he knows that his witness for Christ will make some people angry.

“I want to show people in Afghanistan how to believe in Jesus,” he said. “God made many houses in heaven; He needs people in them.”

Read John 14:2. Who is speaking the words of the verse? What does the verse mean? How might the verse comfort John and Mary? What part of the verse did John talk about in the story?
To learn more about Christians in Afghanistan, download Bold Believers in Afghanistan from the Downloads section.

(Source: The January 2015 The Voice of the Martyrs newsletter. To protect their identities, the names of some of the people on this website and some identifying details have been changed. Some of the quotes and stories have been edited and paraphrased from the original sources for clarity.)


Iraq: A Reminder

Iraq

Wesley P. is a volunteer reporter for The Voice of the Martyrs. His father works for The Voice of the Martyrs and travels to other countries. “Dad has brought back money, Bibles in foreign languages, knives, and many other awesome things,” Wesley said. (Read an interview with Wesley here.)

Recently Wesley looked through the items his father has brought him from countries where Christians are persecuted. “Most of these were presented to my dad as a gift from persecuted brothers and sisters,” said Wesley. “But some were unique items like a Cuban 3-peso bill.” (The main unit of money in Cuba is the peso.)

Wesley also has an old piece of paper money from Iraq worth 250 “dinars.” (See the photo.) Read below what Wesley wrote about the money.

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Ahmed: “A Hard Time Sitting Still”

India
A child in India

Do you know someone who has a hard time sitting still and being quiet? Ahmed, a Christian in India, has a hard time sitting still and keeping quiet. And God is using his abilities to reach Muslims for Christ.

India has more than 100 Muslims, and Ahmed used to be one of them. He was a zealous Muslim teacher. A person who is “zealous” is eager, dedicated, enthusiastic, and committed. Ahmed was committed to Islam, the religion of Muslims. He was probably not still and quiet in those days either.

But God had better plans for Ahmed.

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A Christmas Reminder

Christmas CakeMuslim converts to Christ in Iran celebrate Jesus’ birthday

Pastor Richard Wurmbrand, founder of The Voice of the Martyrs, wrote the following for the December 1994 VOM newsletter. (Edited and paraphrased for reading level.)

Christmas is coming. Many Christians will spend Christmas in communist, Muslim, or Buddhist jails.

But you might say, “Christmas is a time when we sing carols and hallelujahs. People give gifts to one another. Why can’t we just celebrate the season with others? Why bother us with sad words about suffering?

My answer is that at Christmas, we are supposed to remember not only that a Savior was born. We also remember that Mary had to give birth in a stable and to put her child in a manger for cattle.

What comforts did Mary have in the stable? Warm water? A midwife? Clean sheets? She did not.

Was it really true that there was no room in the inn? Maybe the innkeeper or some guest with no wife and child could have slept somewhere else. They could have given their beds at the inn to Mary and the Christ child.

When we think about Jesus’ family at Christmas, let us remember that after Jesus’ birth, they became refugees. They had to flee to Egypt.

There were no planes to take them. At best they might have traveled on camels through the desert. They must have suffered from lack of water in the heat of the day.

What kind of life did they have as refugees in Egypt? Today refugees in many countries live in much worse circumstances. Some don’t even have a tent. They are happy to receive blankets from us.

The greeting “Merry Christmas” is not only a seasonal greeting. It’s a reminder that at Christmas we may also give the poor, the refugees, and the persecuted at least some ray of happiness.


Laos: Miss Mai

Laos
A girl in Laos
(image edited for clarity)

Miss Mai was sad. Her parents wanted her to leave their home in Laos and move to Thailand. They were very poor, and they hoped she would earn lots of money and sent it to them so they could build a better house and buy nicer things.

Miss Mai was 16 years old and not ready to leave home. She had two years left in school, and she enjoyed going to church and teaching the little children at Sunday school.

The six people in Miss Mai’s family had all heard about Jesus. But only Miss Mai had trusted in Him as her Savior.

Her parents tried to get her to quit going to church. They stopped giving her money for food. And they would not buy her shoes, books, or pens for school.

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