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Standing with “N” Christians

I Am N T-Shirt

Do you remember the story of Jonah and the big fish? God wanted Jonah to warn the evil people of Ninevah that they would be destroyed if they did not stop sinning. But Jonah ran from God and ended up inside a big fish. After Jonah’s adventure in the sea, he obeyed God and warned the people of Ninevah. They repented of their sins and were not destroyed at that time.

The biblical city of Ninevah is in ruins today. But nearby is the city of Mosul, Iraq. Radical Muslims warned the Christians in Mosul to either leave the city or to become Muslims. Thousands of Christians fled their homes. “I am confused and sad,” said an Iraqi Christian.

The Muslims marked the homes of Christians with the symbol for the Arabic letter “N.” (See the symbol on the shirts in the photo.) The Muslims used the symbol to stand for “Nazarenes,” an Arabic term that is used to insult Christians.

Christians around the world began using the symbol not as an insult, but to show that they supported Christians who face threats and danger from extremist Muslims.

Like Jonah, some of the Christians who have left their homes are sharing the truth about God with Muslims. Cole Richards, Executive Vice President of The Voice of the Martyrs, said, “More Muslims are coming to Christ now… than at any time in the history of missions since the advent of Islam 1400 years ago.”

Praise God for Christians who obey God and share the gospel, even in dangerous places, and for Christians around the world who stand up for our persecuted brothers and sisters.

  • *Outreach Packs are one way Christians are sharing the love of God with Muslims. Learn more here.
  • *Bold Believers in Syria, available in the Downloads section, includes stories about persecuted Syrian Christians. The book provides appropriate companion information for VOM’s “I Am N” information and resources.

Patrick: Slave and Evangelist

Patrick was a teenager when kidnappers seized him from his home. The kidnappers sold him as a slave to a master in Ireland. Patrick feared that he might never see his family again.

Patrick cried out to God for help, and he grew closer to the Lord while he was a captive. Later Patrick was able to escape and return home to his family. But he didn’t forget that people who had captured him did not follow Jesus.

Against his family’s wishes, Patrick went back to Ireland to share the gospel. He faced many challenges and obstacles, but he continued to serve God. Patrick died on a March 17th many centuries ago. We remember him every year on St. Patrick’s Day.

[The Story of St. Patrick: More Than Shamrocks and Leprechauns is by The Voice of the Martyrs with Cheryl Odden. To learn more about this and other children’s resources, visit the resource page on this site.


What’s Happening to the Crosses in China?

Fewer than 10 percent of the people in China are Christians. But in some parts of China, Christianity is growing.

Not everyone is happy about that. News reports in the United States this week told about government officials in China who are ordering that crosses be removed from churches.

Read more about what is happening in China below.

  • In 2013, a top government official visited Wenzhou, a Chinese city where many Christians live. He noticed that the new Sanjiang Church had a very large spire on top, and he didn’t like it.
  • The government decided to remove many crosses and churches. Officials said it would make the area safer and prettier.
  • In 2014, the government destroyed the Sanjiang Church.
  • More than 1,000 other churches have also been affected by the new rules. Some pastors have been arrested and believers injured when they tried to protect their churches.
  • A Christian lawyer started a group known as “Lawyers for the Protection of the Cross.” Thirty Christian lawyers joined the group.
  • The lawyer who started the group was seized in a police raid along with several pastors.

Pray

  • Thank God that many in China are coming to Christ.
  • Pray that lawyers and pastors in China will be treated fairly by police and officials.
  • Ask God to guide Christians in China in their relationship with non-Christians.

(Sources include: VOM Canada, The New York Times, China Aid, CBS News)

For more information about Christians in China, download Bold Believers in China from the Downloads section of this site.


Kids at Risk in Iran

Most of the people in Iran are Muslims. But some Muslims are growing tired of Islam. (Islam is the religion of Muslims. Learn more about Islam here.) And many are turning to Jesus.

The government does not want people to leave Islam, so Christians in Iran often worship God in secret house churches. Since so many people want to hear about Jesus and His love, Christian workers are very busy. Some workers leave their homes at 8 in the morning and don’t return until late at night.

A VOM worker recently visited Iranian Christian leaders. The worker heard about two Iranian teenagers who help their parents by taking on more responsibilities at home. Their parents serve the Lord many hours a day. The teens, who are 17 and 13, fix their own food and go to school on their own. “The Holy Spirit angels are watching over them,” said an Iranian Christian leader. “They have no one supervising them. We don’t have phones here, so if something happened, we wouldn’t know.”

Other Christian leaders have even younger children. It’s often not safe to leave the children with friends or relatives, because the children will be mistreated. Friends and relatives often don’t approve of their parents’ Christian work.

Please ask God to protect Iranian Christian kids.

(Source: VOM contacts. Edited from the original for length and clarity.)

Watch the following video to learn about Amin, a boy in Iran.


Christmas Care in Nigeria

Girl

Children around the world receive Bibles and gifts through The Voice of the Martyrs’ Christmas Care project. Nigeria was one of the countries where VOM distributed gifts to children in areas where Christians have been persecuted.

In many places in Nigeria, it is not always safe to be a Christian. A radical Muslim group, Boko Haram, attacks Christians and others they don’t agree with. Many children have lost parents in the attacks.

When 2,000 Nigerian Christian children gathered to get their Christmas Care gifts, some were afraid. A Christian adult said, “The recent activities of the Boko Haram created fear in the hearts of many who were in attendance.”

But God protected the children. Each of them received a children’s Bible, noodles, a notebook, pencils, a “football” (soccer ball), a pen, bottled milk, cabin biscuits (crackers), a bag of rice, and other items. The children were grateful for the gifts.

Read below one of them said.

“My name is Johnson. I live in an orphanage. I lost my mother, and I don’t know anything about my father. I was living with my grandmother before she took me to the orphanage due to her inability to take care of me.

“I will pray for [VOM] so that God will continue to grant them the heart and strength to do what they are doing. I am very happy seeing you among us. Your gifts tell us that we are not alone. To other children who have lost their parents, I want to tell them that they should not lose courage because we have a great Parent who can do more than what our earthly parents can do for us.”

For information about this year’s Christmas Care project to help children in countries where VOM works around the world, see the November 2015 The Voice of the Martyrs newsletter or visit VOMBooks.com.

(Source: VOM-Nigeria. Edited and paraphrased for clarity and length.)


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