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 February 15th, 2019
(The story below comes from The Voice of the Martyrs Canada, a ministry that is part of The Voice of the Martyrs’ family of missions.)
This is the story of Pastor K and his wife, who found themselves ejected from their home in Turkmenistan. Because of their faith in Jesus and the husband’s role as a pastor, the government had taken away their house with no warning. Then they put the pastor in prison. A year later, they released him, but kicked him and his family out of the country.
The 11-member family moved into a three-room home in Ukraine. (See the photo above.) “Eleven of them sleep over every inch of the floor,” Bruno, a Christian friend, told Floyd, a worker from The Voice of the Martyrs. “Pastor K and his wife sleep at the entrance by the door. They don’t even have pillows to rest their heads on at night.”
There was a shower stall and toilet outside the house. “If anyone has to go to the bathroom at night, they have to climb over all the bodies and wake up the pastor and Mrs. K to go outside,” said Bruno. The bathroom arrangement might not have been so difficult if they had lived in a warm climate. But winters in Ukraine can be harsh.
Bruno told Floyd that the family didn’t even have a proper stove. If they had a stove, Mrs. K could make goods to sell at the local market to provide income for the family.
So Bruno and Floyd went to purchase a stove for the K family. Then Floyd said, “Let’s buy 11 pillows.” They took the stove and pillows to the family’s house in a truck. But they kept their purchases a secret at first.
The pastor’s family welcomed their guests and even managed to fix them a simple meal. The children sang, and everyone listened to stories. Despite all their troubles, they family loved each other and found ways to praise Jesus amidst their hardships.
Then Floyd asked the older boys to help him unload some things from the truck. He was eager to see Mrs. K’s face when she saw the stove.
The family was stunned and grateful, and happy to have a way to provide for themselves. But when the boys brought the pillows from the truck, Mrs. K began to weep. What no one else knew was that her mother had made 11 pillowcases for the family. As she had handed them to Mrs. K, she had said, “These are for when the Lord provides the pillows.”
“God does not leave us or abandon us,” said another VOM worker who learned about the pillow story. “He knows your heart. He rallies the Body of Christ from halfway around the world sometimes, just to let you feel His love and to experience true abiding joy, regardless of your circumstances. What a privilege to be a part of His family!”
Published on February 14th, 2019
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 vombooks.com.
Enter “Valentine” in the Search box to learn more about why we celebrate Valentine’s Day.
Published on February 13th, 2019
A VOM volunteer made a necklace as a reminder to pray for persecuted Christians. (See the photo.)
If you want to make a necklace like it, string red pony beads and pieces cut from colorful straws on red string, twine, or thick thread. Print a photo from this website or from prisoneralert.com, or cut one from a VOM newsletter.
Glue or tape the photo to a decorative label, thick paper, or cardstock. Glue two labels together if you want to make the backing thicker. [Optional: Cut the label in the shape of a heart before gluing on the photo.] Punch a hole near the top of the label, and tie it to the necklace.
Published on February 12th, 2019
A Christian family who left Ukraine when it was part of the U.S.S.R. (see the previous post) shared the following recipe for a Ukrainian treat with Christians in their new country.
½ cup of sugar
½ cup of flour
1. Separate the 4 eggs and beat the whites until stiff.
2. Add the sugar, yolks, and flour one at time, beating until smooth after each addition.
3. Pour the mixture on buttered wax paper in a 9- by 13-inch cooking pan, spreading it to the edges.
4. Bake at 275 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes until a toothpick stuck in it comes out clean.
5. Spread strawberry jam on top. Roll it up, separating it from the wax paper as you go.
6. Slice into pieces ½- to 1-inch thick. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and nuts if desired.
Photo: The Ukrainian church in the photo above, first built in the 1800s, was destroyed by the Soviet government in the 1930s. It was rebuilt in 2005.
Published on February 11th, 2019
Before the U.S.S.R. split into smaller countries (see the previous post), many Ukrainians worshiped God secretly in hidden churches. The Christians knew they could be imprisoned for their faith.
Some of them left their homes and moved to countries that were safer for Christians. They had to learn to live in places with different cultures and different languages. One Christian who moved to the U.S. said the first words he learned to say in English were OK, no problem, Coca-Cola, hallelujah, and amen!
When U.S. officials asked the man why he wanted to leave his country, he told them he had faced persecution as a Christian. In such cases, officials in some countries quizzed people to find out if they were really Christians.
Questions they sometimes asked were:
*Who were the 12 disciples?
*What are the Ten Commandments.
*What are the first five books of the Bible?
*Who was the first king of Israel?
*Who wrote the Book of Acts?
The Christians could not look in a Bible for answers.
To Talk About
Do you think you could pass a quiz like the one above?
Do you think a quiz is a good way to decide if someone is a true follower of Jesus? Why or why not?