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Bold Believers in Syria

Bold Believers in Syria includes stories, history and culture facts, activities, crafts, and recipes that help children understand the daily lives of their Christian brothers and sisters who face Islamic extremism. The 48-page book is available free from the Downloads section of this site.

Bold Believers in Syria provides age-appropriate companion material for VOM’s I Am N information and resources. (See i-am-n.com.)

Spotlight Story

North Korea: Christian Shares Food and the Gospel

North Korean child

 

Stephen grew up in North Korea where many people are very poor. But their government tells them, “North Korea is the best and wealthiest country. People everywhere else are suffering a lot more.”

When Stephen was a boy, some North Koreans had to eat tree bark, flowers, and grass to stay alive. Real food was scarce.

Stephen decided to escape North Korea and go to China. He was afraid because of all the false stories he had heard about other countries. But thankfully, someone in China told him about a church where the people would help him. The Christians at the church gave him a Bible, and Stephen learned about God’s love for him.

Something Different
“I just wanted to jump in the street and tell everyone about Jesus!” said Stephen. He packed his bag with Bibles and Christian pamphlets, and headed back to North Korea to tell the people about God and Jesus. His trip was dangerous. If he shared about Jesus with someone, and they turned him into the police, he could go to prison for the rest of his life.

One day, Stephen met a 4-year-old girl and the girl’s parents and grandparents. Stephen had some food, so he began to eat. “I saw the child looking at my food, and she was very hungry,” said Stephen. “I couldn’t keep eating, knowing she was hungry, so I gave her my food.”

The grandmother said to Stephen, “I have never seen anyone give all their food to someone else.” She knew something was different about Stephen.

“There is something even better that I want to share with you,” Stephen said to the family. Then he told them about Jesus.

After a while, the authorities caught Stephen, and he was sent to prison. He escaped, and today he continues to witness to those who will listen.

(Source: VOM-Australia)


Spotlight Story

North Korea: Missionary Robert Thomas

Robert Thomas spent years preparing to spread the gospel in Asia. But his life ended shortly after he arrived in Korea. Yet God used his work to bring many to Christ.

Watch the clip above to see Thomas’s arrival in Korea. The clip is from Torchlighters DVD, “The Robert Jermain Thomas Story,” available at VOMBooks.com.

You can find Thomas’s story in Bold Believers in North Korea in the free Downloads section of this site. Torchlighters student and leader guides are also available in the Downloads section.


Spotlight Story

Starting from Nothing

Bags of Scriptures are attached to balloons and floated into North Korea

What does “hallelujah” mean?
What is “Israel?”
What does “amen” mean?
What is a Jew?

Most North Koreans don’t know the answers to those questions. So it’s very hard for them to understand the Bible, even when it is translated into their language.

VOM Korea has published a Bible for North Koreans that explains common Bible words. The introduction to the book tells North Koreans: “This book will tell you the good news of how to invite the one true God to live inside you so that you may be made ready for his soon return.”

Pray for Christians who secretly take Bibles into North Korea, and for the North Koreans who read the Bible.

To Talk About
How would you answer the questions above?


Spotlight Story

How Do North Koreans Pray?

A secret meeting in North Korea

In North Korea, it is against the law to choose to follow Jesus or to own a Bible. A listener on VOMRadio.net asked the following questions.

  • In a country like North Korea, how do Christians pray?
  • How do they gather together?
  • What is a worship service like in North Korea?

Todd Nettleton, host of VOM Radio, asked Rev. Eric Foley to answer the listener’s questions. Rev. Foley is the leader of VOM Korea.

Rev. Foley: A lot of ideas we have about North Koreans hiding under a blanket to read the Bible or sneaking out of their homes at night aren’t exactly accurate. And the reason why is that everyone in North Korea is required to spy on homes that are near their own.

Things like hiding under a blanket or sneaking out of your home would make the neighbors suspicious. So when things like that happen it is usually on the border of North Korea.

North Koreans who are in the interior of North Korea who have been Christians for generations actually worship very differently. They have developed ways of worship that they can do even when people who are not Christians are watching.

One of the ways is that underground [secret] believers pray with their eyes open. They look at the person they are with as if they are having a conversation with that person. And instead of referencing God, for example, they use a phrase like “Dear Leader.” [“Dear Leader” is a title used for the former leader of their country, who is now dead. In this case, Christians are using the title to talk secretly about God.]

So instead of bowing their heads and closing their eyes, they might look at the person sitting next to them and say, “I am so concerned about Sister Kim, who is sick. But I am thankful that our Dear Leader will show special care for her as she needs love and attention.” That would be how underground Christians pray.

The way that they have worship services is on a family level. People in the same family worship together. But people from different families typically do not gather together for worship in North Korea.

(Source: VOMRadio.net. Edited and paraphrased for length and clarity.)

Enter “North Korea” in the Search box on this site to find more stories about North Korean Christians.


Feature Story

North Korea: Girl’s Mysteries Solved

North Korean girl

Parents and Teachers: The March 2017 issue of The Voice of the Martyrs newsletter features stories about bold North Korean believers. Please preview the stories before sharing them with your children or class. Or share stories from this site, like the one below, with your children; then pray together for the people in the stories.  (Subscribe to the newsletter here.)

One night, five police officers burst into a two-room home in North Korea. Sixteen-year-old Hae-won and her family lived with her grandfathers in the tiny house. The police scattered the family’s belongings everywhere as they searched for — what?

“What could they be looking for?” Hae-won wondered.

After their rude search, the police ordered Hae-won’s grandfather’s arrest. But instead of taking her grandfather to prison, they took her father! In North Korea, entire families can be punished if the government doesn’t like the activities of one family member. After Hae-won’s father was imprisoned, the government sent Hae-won and the rest of her family to live in a mountain region far away.

Hae-won did not understand what was happening to her family. And there were other things she didn’t understand. Something unusual had happened when she was 10. She woke up in the middle of the night and found her grandfather sitting on the floor with his eyes closed. Was he talking to someone invisible? Hae-won didn’t know.

Sometimes she heard her grandfathers talk about “the Resurrection,” or “the Second Coming,” or “the Red Sea.”

“Silly old men talking nonsense,” she thought.

After Hae-won grew up and had a family of her own, she decided, like many North Koreans, to escape from her country. Conditions were harsh in North Korea, and often there was not enough food to eat.

Hae-won’s family faced many dangers and obstacles during their attempts to leave — they were even imprisoned for several months for trying to flee the country. Sadly, Hae-won’s husband died from the cruel treatment in the prison.

Solving Mysteries

Hae-won continued trying to get out. She finally succeeded in escaping to China, where a Christian invited her to church. Soon she trusted in Christ as her Savior. As Hae-won read the Bible and learned more about God, many mysteries were solved for her. She realized that her grandfather was praying to God when she discovered him in the middle of the night. He was a secret Christian! It was not legal to follow Jesus in North Korea, so Christians practiced their faith quietly.

Hae-won now understood that her grandfathers had not been talking nonsense, but were discussing the Bible. And the police had searched their home for a Bible. North Koreans can go to jail just for owning one.

Today Hae-won lives in South Korea. She teaches others who have escaped North Korea about Jesus. Many who leave North Korea also have childhood mysteries to solve.

Hae-won is thankful for her grandfather’s faithful secret prayers. She told VOM workers, “I realized that I came to Christ because of my grandfather’s prayers.”

(Source: VOM contacts. Edited for clarity, length, and age-appropriateness.)


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