Bold Believers in North Korea includes stories, history and culture facts, activities, and recipes that help children understand the daily lives of people in a country where citizens are forbidden to practice Christianity. The 54-page book is available free from the Downloads section of this site.
Published on April 24th, 2018
The previous post told about Dan Baumann, a Christian worker who was imprisoned in Iran for nine weeks. He experienced the love and presence of Jesus helping him endure the harsh treatment.
But Jesus taught Dan another important lesson. “One day, I felt God spoke to my heart,” Dan said. “[God said] ‘Dan, I want to teach you to love your enemies.’ I remember thinking, ‘No, not now, thank you.’”
Every day, one of Dan’s captors hit him, Dan was not interested in loving the man. But he felt God saying to him, “Dan, ask me what I think of him.” Dan realized that God loved his attacker. So every day, he prayed, “God, change my heart.” Little by little, Dan’s heart began to change, and he began to care for his captor.
One day, Dan said to the man, “Sir, why don’t we become friends?” The man answered, “You are crazy! We will never be friends.” Dan asked his twice more, and said, “Let’s start by exchanging names.” And he reached out his hand to shake the man’s hand.
“It was then that he froze,” Dan said. “Then he starts looking around, and then he took his hand out of his pocket and shook my hand. He said, ‘I would love to be your friend.'” The two men told each other their names.
Then the man asked, “Is there anything you want in the prison?” Dan had been living in a 6-foot by 9-foot cell. He asked his new friend if he could have a bigger cell.
“I never saw that man again in my life,” Dan said. “But later the night guards came to my cell and said, ‘We have orders to move you to a bigger cell.’ I knew that God had changed the man’s heart.”
(Source: VOMRadio.net. Edited for length, clarity, and age-appropriateness.)
To Think About
At first, Dan was not willing for God to teach him to love his enemies, but he became willing to be made willing. He asked God to change his heart, and in turn, his obedience helped change his captor’s heart.
Is there anything that you know God wants you to do that you have been unwilling to do? Will you ask God to help you become willing?
Published on April 23rd, 2018
A teacher at a Christian school in Virginia recently wrote The Voice of the Martyrs and told what happened when she shared stories of persecuted Christians with her eighth grade class. “They were stunned, shocked, horrified, and moved,” the teacher said. Many openly cried as we read. One child said, ‘I don’t think I have that kind of faith.’
Do you ever think you might not have enough faith to withstand persecution?
Dan Baumann, a gospel worker with Youth with a Mission, recently talked with VOM staff about his time in prison in Iran. He was taken to prison after he talked about Jesus with Muslims. Every day, the prison guards treated him harshly, often beating him. Dan thought he could not put up with the bad treatment anymore. He wanted to give up.
He told what happened as he lay on the floor with no more strength to endure.
“In my broken state, I felt something and the room starts to shake. As it starts to shake I lifted my head from the floor. I had the normal lighting from the light bulb, but there was something very different. The room was a glorious white light, is how I can describe it.
“Then I had a vision, I have had a few visions in my life and this one was really clear. It was Jesus standing in front of me, like we might have seen in movies or in books. It was the same picture of Jesus standing in front of me, but what I saw was His face, which was filled with love, kindness, and caring. And then I felt His hands come underneath me, and I felt like God spoke right to my heart with loving words, ‘Dan, I love you and I promise I will carry you through this time.’
“In the midst of my brokenness, in the midst of me having nothing, God was still good and He met me and He gave me hope. I fixed my heart and mind on that, and with that came a growing reality that God was not only good, He was really, really, really good — like He was actually better than I thought.”
Dan was released after nine weeks in prison. He had lost 55 pounds during his imprisonment. Today he continues to serve God and to teach others about Jesus.
(Source: VOMRadio.net. Edited for length, clarity, and age-appropriateness.)
Published on April 20th, 2018
Most of the people in Uganda are Christians. But in some Muslim areas of the country, Christians are persecuted. In those areas, “When a Muslim child or family converts to Christianity, they are no longer welcome at the school,” said a VOM worker. Sometimes people who become Muslims get special treatment from the local leaders.
The Voice of the Martyrs distributes Bibles in Uganda to strengthen Christians and to help those who are seeking the truth to find Jesus — the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6).
Watch the video clip from the Kids of Courage archives to see someone in Uganda who was very happy to receive a Bible from VOM.
Published on April 19th, 2018
The complete Kids of Courage VBS curriculum includes a director’s guide, crafts, activities, five teachers’ guides, skits, plays, photo and music CDs, games, snacks, The Voice of the Martyrs prayer map, and more. Learn more here.
In the following skit from the VBS curriculum, a Christian prisoner recognizes that he is a link in the chain of faithful Christians from the past who have sacrificed for Christ.
Links in the Chain
Several Links in the Chain
Small table and chair
Paper and pen
Several signs with the name of a Christian martyr on one side and the student’s name on the other (see below)
Optional: strips of construction paper, partially completed paper chain, tape
Old torn clothes for Prisoner
Uniform for Prison Official
(The Prison Official is seated at a table. A pen and paper are on the table. The Prisoner is standing by the table.)
Narrator: Several years ago, police locked a Christian in prison in a country where Christians were persecuted. The prison officials asked the prisoner to sign a statement. The statement accused other Christians of breaking the law. If the prisoner signed the statement, the other Christians would be arrested.
Prison Official: Sign this statement! Things will go easier for you if you just do what I say.
Prisoner: The chain keeps me from signing this.
Prison Official: But you are not in chains!
Prisoner: I am. I am bound by the chain of witnesses who gave their lives for Jesus throughout the centuries. I am a link in this chain. I will not break it.
(Prisoner and Prison Official exit.)
(Optional: Provide background music that includes a song about faithfulness to God.)
(Students, Links in the Chain, enter single file and stand in a line across the stage. As students take their places one by one, they recite the name of someone who sacrificed for Christ, and if desired, a phrase about that person’s sacrifice. Each student may hold up a sign with the name of a Christian on it. Examples include: “Stephen, the first martyr for Christ” and “Paul, who said ‘the word of God is not chained.’” Others can include heroes from Christian history and modern persecuted Christians.)
Narrator: The apostle Paul asked his friends to “remember his chains.” We may not be called to die for our faith. But we can be links in the chain by remembering those who are persecuted and by praying for them. We, too, are bound by the chain of witnesses who gave their lives for Jesus throughout the centuries.
Links in the Chain: (speaking one by one) I am a link in the chain. (As they speak, they may turn their signs over, revealing their own names on the back.)
(Optional: The audience can be allowed to respond by coming forward at the end of the skit, lining up, and saying one at a time when recognized, “I am a link in the chain.” If desired, have available a short paper chain made of construction paper and give students strips of paper for each to add to the chain as they say it. A teacher may help by taping the links as they are added.)
Published on April 18th, 2018
Eggs and Onions
Fry one chopped onion in 1 tbsp. oil. Separately, mix 3 eggs, 1 chopped green onion, and 2 tsp. fish sauce. Add the mixture to the pan with the fried onion and scramble. Serve hot with rice.
Rice and Banana Pudding
Combine and bring to a boil 2 sliced bananas, ½ cup water, 3 tbsp. honey, 1 tsp. vanilla, and ½ tsp. cinnamon. Simmer 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in 1½ cups of cooked brown rice, 1 15-to 20-ounce can of pineapple tidbits (drained), and 1 cup of coconut milk (or plain milk). Return to a boil, then simmer 5 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.
Learn more about life in Vietnam and bold Vietnamese believers from these resources:
Bold Believers in Vietnam, available in the free Downloads section.
Restricted Nations: Vietnam available at VOMBooks.com