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Bold Believers in Syria

Bold Believers in Syria includes stories, history and culture facts, activities, and recipes that help children understand the daily lives of people in a country where civil war has driven more than 750,000 Christians from the country. The 48-page book is available free from the Downloads section of this site.

Activities Story

Valentine: A Light in Dark Places

Christian history describes several men named Valentine (or Valentinus), and a woman named Valentina. Legends tell about the courage of a Valentine who died for his faith on February 14th. The legends encourage Christians to stand up boldly for Jesus in the face of struggles.

To learn about children’s resources, including a book about Valentine, visit the resource page.

“Deep in the woods, under the cover of midnight darkness, couples would meet Valentinus to be joined in marriage.” — from Valentine by The Voice of the Martyrs

The previous post told about a Roman emperor’s law that prevented young men and women from marrying. But Valentinus joined couples in marriage, bringing light to a dark situation.

Later, Valentinus was imprisoned for breaking Roman laws. One day, a guard named Marcus heard Valentinus praying, “Lord Jesus, You are light. Fill this prison with Your light in such a way that those who are here will know You are God.”

When Marcus heard his prayer, he turned toward Valentinus and said, “You say God is light. My daughter has been blind since birth. If your God can make her see, then I will believe in your God.”

So Valentinus prayed God would cause his daughter’s blind eyes to see. The next morning, as soon as he sat up on his straw mat, he saw Marcus grabbing the bars of his cell and shaking them. “She can see!” Marcus exclaimed. “My daughter can see!” And he and his family decided to believe in Jesus.

(Source: Valentine by The Voice of the Martyrs)

Valentine Tea Light
Follow the instructions below to make a Valentine tea light. Give the light to someone, and tell them how Valentinus shared the Light of the World with those who didn’t know Him.

*5-inch plastic, footed dessert cups
*18-inch length of twine
*Double sided tape
*Wooden craft hearts (or make your own with thick paper or cardstock)
*LED flickering tea light

*Attach a 1-inch strip of double sided tape to the back of the heart.
*Remove the backing on the tape and attach the heart to the cup.
*Press tightly to seal.
*Turn on the tea light and place it in the cup.
*Tie the twine in a bow around the stem of the cup.

Spotlight Story


By Elise Wixtrom

An emperor in ancient Rome liked conquering very much, and he was fond of meddling in foreign wars. But he didn’t have enough soldiers to fight all these wars. The shortage of soldiers irritated him. So the emperor of that time outlawed marriage for people of a certain age range. He hoped to encourage young men to enter the military to pass the time before they could marry their sweethearts.

The emperor’s law caused a huge problem for Christian men and women of the time. The Christian men did not want to enter the Roman military. They wanted to be able to get married and have children, families, and lives. But no one would officiate at their weddings, because they didn’t want to break the harsh laws that governed Rome at the time.

Then Valentine, a young pastor, came into the scene. In violation of the law, Valentine began to join young Christian couples in marriage. Valentine eventually was martyred for breaking the laws of Rome, but he displayed great courage with his defiance.

Sources include Valentine: God’s Courageous Evangelist, one of the books in the Courageous Series, available at
Enter “Valentine” in the Search box to learn more about why we celebrate Valentine’s Day.

Uncategorized Story

Needed: “Creative New Strategies”

“In the past, we believed shortwave radio would reach the world,” said a recent visitor to The Voice of the Martyrs. The visitor has worked in countries where many have never heard the gospel. He talked about ways Christians have reached people over the years with the good news of Jesus.

“Now we believe satellite TV and social media will reach the world,” he continued. “But I believe there will still be a new gadget invented that will spread the gospel. We need creative new strategies.”

The Voice of the Martyrs helps Christians in hostile nations share the gospel by smuggling, launching Scripture balloons, distributing audio Bibles, and other creative strategies.

To Talk About
*What is a shortwave radio? What is a strategy?
*Can you think of a new way Christians could share the gospel in countries where people have never heard it? Will you be the one to discover a creative new strategy?

Spotlight Story

Middle East: Ervin’s Secret Weapon

Ervin is a Christian in a country where most people are Muslims. The government in his country does not want Christians to spread the gospel and lead others to Christ. Ervin spent more than seven years in prison because of his devotion to Jesus and His Word.

Conditions in the prison were harsh. One way they mistreated the prisoners was to keep them awake all day and all night. They even taped Ervin’s eyes open so he couldn’t fall asleep.

But Ervin had a “secret weapon.” He had memorized more than 100 Bible verses before he went to prison. He survived the difficult conditions by repeating the verses over and over. They strengthened him and helped him stay close to God.

Ervin still lives in the same Muslim country where he went to prison. Pray for his protection and for persecutors and government leaders to come to Christ.

Spotlight Story

Vietnam: A Very Long “Prayer”

Bao and his wife, Chau, teach people from 10 tribal groups about Jesus. Most of the people were Buddhists or spirit worshipers before they decided to follow Christ. Tribal Christians in Vietnam face persecution from their families, communities, and government. [Photo above: Tribal Christians in Vietnam]

One day, Bao was preaching to a group of Christians in a house. “The local authorities allow believers to pray,” Bao told a VOM worker. “When you pray, you close your eyes, and it’s OK. They don’t allow you to teach or preach, so while I was preaching, I closed my eyes. That means, ‘I’m praying.’”

But Bao could not read from the Bible or sermon notes with his eyes closed. What do you suppose he did? He was prepared. He had memorized Scriptures to recite in advance to the group. With his eyes still closed, he continued his Scripture “prayer” for almost 15 minutes. More than 20 police officers armed with guns, sticks, and knives surrounded the house, but even then he didn’t stop “praying.”

“By the end of my ‘prayer,’ I felt a gun in my back,” he said. The police took Bao, Chau, the owner of the house, and three deacons to the police station and questioned them. Later they were released. Persecution must take place,” said Bao. “But in my experience, the church grew even though it faced a lot of persecution. The more persecution, the more they grow strong in their faith.”

To Talk About
Why do you think some churches grow stronger when they are persecuted?

(Source: The February 2020 The Voice of the Martyrs magazine. Edited for length and clarity.)

Learn more about Christians in Vietnam in Bold Believers in Vietnam, available in the Downloads section.