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Kids of Courage VBS Curriculum

VBS

The Kids of Courage VBS curriculum introduces students to real Kids of Courage at risk for their faith today in five countries: China, Egypt, Nigeria, North Korea, and India. Students learn how bold believers around the world live, worship, and play.

The lessons teach children how to pray for those who risk everything for their faith, and how to become Kids of Courage themselves. They learn that Kids of Courage: Trust God, Get Prepared, Remember Persecuted Christians, Forgive Others, and Witness Boldly.

Visit www.kidsofcouragevbs.com to see samples of the materials and to read feedback from churches that have used the curriculum for Vacation Bible School, Sunday school, and mission weeks.

Spotlight Story

Another Child of a Prisoner

Nativity Scene

The previous post, “Full of Hope at Christmas,” told about David, the son of a prisoner in a Muslim land. The following story tells about another child whose father served time in prison for his beliefs.

Isaac was also the son of a prisoner. In fact, Isaac’s father was in prison on the day Isaac was born. He had been arrested because he disagreed with the official church of his country. After he was set free, he became the father of seven more children, giving Isaac lots of brothers and sisters.

Isaac’s father encouraged Isaac to use his gift of writing Christian songs. Isaac became a hymn writer and has been called the Father of English Hymnody.

This Christmas, when you sing “Joy to the World,” remember Isaac Watts, who wrote the words to the song and whose father was in prison in England in the 1600s. And remember children today whose parents are in prison for believing in Jesus.

(Sources include: Christianity Today / Photo credit: Ejdzej / Wikipedia)


Spotlight Story

David: Full of Hope at Christmas

Prisoner Alert

This Christmas season, thousands of Christian children will be celebrating another holiday apart from parents who are in prison for their faith in Christ.

David is one of them. His father has been in prison in a Muslim land for six years — since David was a baby. When David and his mother visit the prison, David tries to touch his father’s hand through the glass window that separates them. But they have not really touched in a very long time.

David does not completely understand his father’s situation in prison. Recently he wrote his father a letter. “I haven’t received any gifts from you for six years,” the letter said. “So how about a birthday gift and Christmas gift (and that’s not counting other holidays)? That is two gifts a year. You owe me 12 gifts. Can you afford to buy all those gifts? Hurry up and get out; otherwise it will be too many for you to buy!”

“David is full of hope, always thinking about what it will be like when his dad is out of prison,” said a Christian friend of the family.

Learn more about Christian prisoners and their families, read the stories at www.PrisonerAlert.com.


Spotlight Story

St. Nicholas

As the Christmas season begins, we will hear a lot about Santa Claus. The character of Santa Claus was based on a real man named Nicholas. But Nicholas did not wear a red suit and fly with reindeer.

Nicholas lived in a place that is now part of Turkey. He was born in the town of Myra about 200 years after the birth of Jesus. At that time, Myra was part of the Roman Empire.

Nicholas grew up as an orphan after his parents died. As an adult, he became a Christian leader.

Persecution
An evil Roman leader named Diocletian decided that Christians were bad people. Since Nicholas was a leader in the church, Roman officials sent him to jail. Other Christians also suffered in prison under Diocletian’s rule.

Later, an emperor named Constantine came to power, and he liked Christians. He freed Nicholas and other Christians from prison. Nicholas continued to help orphans and others in need.

During the Christmas season remember Christians who are still persecuted for their beliefs around the world today.

Read another story about Nicholas here.

The information above is from the book The Story of St. Nicholas: More Than a Reindeer and a Red Suit, by The Voice of the Martyrs with Cheryl Odden. To learn more about VOM’s resources for children, visit the resource page on this site.


Spotlight Story

Ten Things Persecuted Christians Are Thankful For

Give Thanks

Thanksgiving will be celebrated this week in the United States.

To Do and To Discuss

  • List 10 things for which you are thankful.
  • Read below the list of things persecuted Christians have said they are thankful for.
  • How many of the things on their list are available to you?
  • Are there any things on your list and the persecuted Christians’ list that are the same?
  • Can you provide persecuted Christians with anything on their list?

Persecuted Christians Are Thankful For:

The prayers of other Christians
“I knew there were people praying for me. It gave me the spiritual strength I needed to live as a Christian and to trust God.” — A pastor in prison in Asia
Friends who encourage them
“I am thankful that I have many friends here who help me when I’m discouraged.” — A boy who lost his parents in an attack by radical Muslims
Hope in Jesus
“I see people dying, crying, how Jesus gives them hope. This gives me courage. I am convinced there is no better job in the world than to serve God this way.” — Persecuted pastor in Nepal
Encouraging letters
“We have a family of faith that loves us and cares for us. We are not alone! — Maryam Rostampour talking about her feelings when she received letters while in prison in Iran. (Visit Prisoner Alert to learn how to write letters to persecuted Christians in prison.)
God’s Peace
“I started to pray, and I got the peace that is beyond understanding. I felt so close to God at that moment.” — Christian who was arrested in the Middle East
Bibles
“I have longed for this Bible, and now I am thankful.” — Christian in Uganda who received a Bible from The Voice of the Martyrs. VOM provides Bibles through the Bibles to Captive Nations and Bibles Unbound projects.
The conversion of persecutors
“Muslims want to hear the truth. They are just waiting on you and me to share the gospel with them.” — A Christian in Syria
God’s Power
“God is in control, not [the persecutors].” — A Christian in India
Joy in Christ
“I have Christ’s joy in my heart.” — A Chinese Christian prisoner answering another prisoner who said, “I have been watching you; your face is never sad.”
God’s gift of salvation through His Son Jesus
“They can burn down my house, but they can’t burn Jesus from my heart.” — A Christian in Pakistan

Feature Story

Gadgets

Gadget

The following report comes from two VOM workers who recently visited and encouraged pastors in Mindanao, an island in the Philippines that is not always safe for Christians.

The Workers’ Report
A few weeks ago, we taught at two pastors’ conferences in Mindanao. After one of the meetings, a pastor asked if he could have a copy of our teaching notes.

“Yes,” we said. “We will email you a copy.” The pastor had no idea what we were talking about.

“We can send you these notes on a computer. How many pastors do you think have the Internet and a computer?” we asked.

“I think not that many,” he said. He took out his simple cell phone; not a smartphone. “This is my only gadget!” the pastor said. “Do you want to know how I got it? My sister owns a gas station. One day she had a customer who didn’t have the money to pay for his gas, so he offered his cell phone as payment. My sister gave it to me!”

The pastor was excited about his phone; it helped him in his ministry. “I can call other pastor with it, and they can call me,” he said. And I can call my church when I’m away from them.”

The pastor was happy because he had one gadget that he could use to help him in his service to God. We realized that sometimes we use our many gadgets in ways that distract us from our work for the Lord.

Our faith can be attacked by persecution or by distraction.

Read the rest of this entry »


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