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Carthage and Perpetua

Dido’s Trick
According to ancient legends, a queen named Dido founded the North African city of Carthage. People in the land told Dido she could have as much land as she could cover with the hide of one ox.

The legends say that Dido cut the hide into thousands of narrow strips and tied the ends together to make a very long rope. The rope stretched around a large plot of land which, according to the story, became the city of Carthage. Today Carthage is a suburb of Tunis, Tunisia.

Roman Persecution
Carthage fought three wars against Rome called the Punic Wars. The Romans then became the rulers of Carthage.

Roman rulers persecuted early Christians in Africa. One of those Christians was Perpetua, a young woman in her 20s. Perpetua and some of her friends died in A.D. 203 because they refused to sacrifice to Roman idols.

For more information about Christians in North Africa today, download Bold Believers in Algeria and Tunisia, Bold Believers in Morocco, and Bold Believers in Egypt from the Downloads section.

The Torchlighters: The Perpetua Story is a children’s DVD available at VOM Books. Preview is recommended before showing it to younger children.

Watch a clip from the video below.


Bible Smuggling Adventure

Smuggler Shirt

The following report is from members of a Bible smuggling team from another ministry who recently delivered Bibles to a country where Christians are persecuted.

“We each packed one 50-pound suitcase with Bibles. We also had our carry-on bags full of Bibles, and we used our personal bag for our clothes and other items.

“As we landed, everyone was on edge because we knew this was a one-shot opportunity. If we were caught at the airport it would be a wasted trip to the country.

“Also, we all had to stay together the entire time because we were told they wanted our visa approval form in a certain format, and we had only one copy. In other places we had been able to spread out our bags among the bags of other passengers. This time we would have to stay in a group.

“After we got our bags off the carousel, we went to the final customs checkpoint where we would have to put our bags through the scanner. It was nerve-racking, but our team knew that it wasn’t anything new for God to provide.

“No one was at the checkpoint! I don’t know if they were checking some other passenger’s bags, if they had gone home for the day, or fi they were processing a different flight. But any nervousness we felt turned to wonder and joy as we simply walked through with our bags of Bibles, and no one questioned us at all.

“God is always the same. He never changes and He is always there. There have been many miracles on our trip and many things than made us stop and say, ‘Wow, God, I can’t believe You just did that!’ It seems to be so easy to live in our own strength in America, but where persecution is strong, all you can do is rely on God’s strength.

“As we left the airport, our faces lit up with smiles of thanksgiving to God. It was great to meet our contact and see her face light up when she saw all the Bibles we brought her. Before we left we asked if we could pray for her. This was one of my favorite parts of the trip — when our team prayed God’s protection and blessing as she delivers God’s Word to people in her country.”

Source: Vision Beyond Borders. Used by permission. Edited from the original for length and clarity.


Rev. Dzari

Nigeria
Rev. Dzari

Christians in Nigeria have been persecuted by a radical terrorist group called Boko Haram. The group wants to make Nigeria an entirely Muslim nation.

Rev. Yakubu Dzari is one of many Christians who has been attacked by Boko Haram. The attackers dragged him outside and asked him if he was the pastor of a church.

“No,” Rev. Dzari answered, because he was afraid of what the terrorists would do to a Christian pastor. But then he felt guilty about his fear.

Then Rev. Dzari felt new courage from the Lord. “Yes!” he told the attackers. “Yes, I am a pastor!”

In fact, Rev. Dzari did not just say he was a pastor once, he boldly repeated it over and over to the terrorists. One of the attackers was annoyed with Rev. Dzari for continuing to say he was a pastor, and he pulled out a knife.

“Deny Jesus and become a Muslim!” the attacker demanded.

“No!” said Rev. Dzari. “How can I deny Christ when I was the one teaching Christians in the church not to deny Christ?”

Just as the attacker moved closer to the pastor to hurt him, the men heard a gunshot nearby.

“Leave him!” said one attacker. The men left, and the pastor was not harmed.

“I was praying and remembering Jesus,” Rev. Dzari later told workers from The Voice of the Martyrs. “One thing that keeps on strengthening me not to give up is the voice of the Lord that speaks to my inner mind. That’s why I stand firm, not minding how my life will end.”

Source: October 2014 The Voice of the Martyrs newsletter. Edited for clarity and age appropriateness.


Habila Update

Nigeria
Habila’s family today

The previous post told about Habila, a Nigerian man who was shot by radical Boko Haram Muslims. Thankfully, Habila survived the attack. The bullet went through the side of his mouth and came out the other side.

The update below tells more about what happened next.

A neighbor took Habila to a hospital the next morning. Habila was sent to several different hospitals in an attempt to get him the medical help he needed.

Dr. Jim is a worker with VOMedical, which is VOM’s program that helps persecuted Christians who have urgent health and medical needs. After reading the reports of Habila’s medical care after the shooting, Dr. Jim said, “It is only by the grace of God that he survived.”

Healing and Forgiving
The doctors scheduled an operation to fix Habila’s cheekbone, which was destroyed by the bullet. But before the operation started, the doctors were amazed to see that Habila’s cheekbone had healed! The operation was not needed.

Habila still shares his story and his faith with others. VOM workers asked him some questions about his experiences.

VOM Worker: How do you feel about the people who shot you?

Habila: I pray to God, “God, forgive them.” My prayer is that [they will know the truth and] be saved. I love them …. Even if I have the opportunity to see them, I will hug them, and I will pray for them.

VOM Worker: How can you forgive the men who shot you?

Habila: Because Christ is love. The God I am serving is love….He commands us to love each other….Christ died for us….He loves us. That’s why we must show that love to the people that hate us.

Source: October 2014 The Voice of the Martyrs newsletter. Edited for clarity and age appropriateness.


Pastor Chhedar Update

Chhedar

Pastor Chhedar has been released from prison! An earlier post told about the pastor’s arrest in Nepal. Hindus in the area accused the pastor of killing a cow, which is against Hindu tradition. His wife and three children missed Pastor Chhedar, and the children were mocked and teased while he was in prison.

Read more about Pastor Cheddar at Prisoner Alert.


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