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Bold Believers in North Korea

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.

Spotlight Story

Changes in China

Sunday school class in China

(Sources: China Aid and VOMRadio.net. Quotes edited for clarity and length.)

Churches in part of China were recently warned by authorities who want greater control over religion in their country.

The churches were told:
*You must remove the crosses at your building and replace them with a picture of the president of China or a Chinese flag.

*You must keep all children away from your church.

New government rules also say that churches must be willing to install surveillance cameras in their meeting places.

“Many pastors have gone into hiding because they know they are on the list to be the first to be arrested,” said a Christian worker in China. “Pastors are being arrested, some have been imprisoned, and churches have been closed…. In January [a church] was dynamited — the government blew it up.

“It is illegal to teach children Christianity. In one case, there was a grandmother who had been taking her grandson to church with her. The government told this family that the grandmother, who was on kidney dialysis, would no longer be allowed to continue the dialysis treatments if she continued to bring her grandson to church. So, what a choice!” (Dialysis is a procedure that keeps people alive whose kidneys have failed.)

“Christians are worried,” said a VOM worker. “We have no good answer except prayer.”

What Can You Pray?
*What can you pray for churches and pastors?
*What can you pray for Chinese government officials?
*What can you pray for the grandmother?
*What can you pray for her grandson and other children in China?


Spotlight Story

Are You Prepared?

The previous post told the story of Samuel Morris, an African prince who trusted Christ as his Savior and developed a passion for sharing Christ with others. Read more about Samuel in the story below from The Torchlighters Ultimate Activity Book, available at VOMBooks.com.

“But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15).

Samuel Morris was left waiting in an office while the man he came to see, Stephen Merritt, went to a meeting. Mr. Merritt was a pastor Samuel had heard about in Africa. Samuel went to the office at Mr. Merritt’s mission in New York City when he first arrived in America. “I have come from Africa to learn from you about the Holy Spirit,” Samuel told Mr. Merritt.

What do you do when you have to wait in a doctor’s office or somewhere else? Do you read?
Fidget? Pray? Play a game?

Samuel had to wait a long time because Mr. Merritt forgot about him after his meeting! Later that night, Mr. Merritt returned to his office. What do you suppose he found Samuel doing? Samuel was faithfully giving his testimony to the men at the mission. While Mr. Merritt was gone, Samuel had led 17 of the men to Christ!

Samuel stayed with Mr. Merritt for about a month. One Sunday, Mr. Merritt took Samuel to a
youth Sunday school class. Samuel was different from the other students in many ways, and they laughed at him. But by the time Mr. Merritt came to get Samuel after the class, Samuel had shared his testimony with the group and they were weeping, sobbing, and repenting of their sins.

Can you think of some places where you could tell someone about Jesus?

Find resources about Samuel Morris here, here, and here.


Spotlight Story

A Review of Torchlighters The Samuel Morris Story

Elise Wixtrom writes reviews of VOM resources for readers of kidsofcourage.com. Enter “Elise” in the search box to read about Elise and to find more of her reviews.

Samuel Morris

In 1891, Taylor University, a small Christian college on the outskirts of Fort Wayne, Indiana, faced financial hardship. They were losing students. They were about to close. But before we begin that story, let’s go back. Two years earlier…

A young Liberian prince named Kaboo was taken captive by an enemy of his father’s, who demanded tribute every full moon in order to get the young prince home. But Kaboo’s tribe couldn’t satisfy his captors. So his enemies decided to kill the boy, at that time 14 years old, by throwing a spear at his heart.

However, just as they were about to kill him, a bright light appeared in the sky. The ropes binding Kaboo loosened, and he was able to escape. As he bolted, he heard a voice from the sky cry, “Run, Kaboo, run.”

And though he was confused, the young teen ran away as fast as he could through the jungle. He ran all night and all day, hunted by the many dangers of the rainforest, until he ran straight into a young man singing a spiritual – “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.” The young man brought him to a local coffee plantation, gave him shelter and work, and prayed with him.

Soon after arriving at the plantation, Kaboo attended church and heard a missionary woman speak about the apostle Paul. He heard her talk about the light that Paul saw and the voice he heard. She said he heard the voice of Jesus. At that moment, Kaboo understood. The voice he heard was the voice of Jesus, too. After discovering that his life had been saved by God, Kaboo accepted Christ as his Savior, and adopted an English name – Samuel Morris.

The newly christened Samuel, in order to learn more about God so that he could return to his tribe with the good news of Jesus, traveled across the wide oceans to New York City. He faced many dangers along the way, but he reached America safely and was enrolled at the closing Taylor University. The school administrators were hesitant to let him stay. However, after hearing the young man’s remarkable story, they caved. Soon, Samuel “Kaboo” Morris’ story began to spread, so he dictated a book. The book sold so many copies, Taylor University was saved by the money he made.

After Samuel tragically died of illness, Taylor took it upon itself to reach Samuel’s tribe in honor of his remarkable life. And though Samuel Morris had thought he was coming to America to learn to be a missionary, we now realize that he went to Taylor to inspire the small university to reach all unreached peoples. The story of Samuel Morris can be an inspiration to us all, to go forth with bravery and to not be anxious about anything (Philippians 4:6). Samuel Morris’ legacy was immortalized because of his simple love of others and faith in God. Our lives should be remembered for the same reasons.

Find resources about Samuel Morris here, here, and here.


Spotlight Story

Stephen: The First Martyr

Parents and Teachers
The following excerpt is from Stephen: God’s Courageous Witness, a picture book for children about Christianity’s first martyr. The book, and other children’s books about Christian heroes, are available at VOMBooks.com. Preview is recommended before sharing the books with younger children.

Stephen
When Jesus returned to heaven, He left behind His followers. But they were not alone or without help. As promised, Jesus sent His Holy Spirit. He knew the Holy Spirit would give His followers the strength and courage they needed to do His work. One of those followers was Stephen.

With the Holy Spirit’s help, Stephen courageously told others about Jesus and performed miracles. He was so good at convincing others to follow Jesus that in the end the Jewish leaders tried to stop Him….

[A group of angry Jewish leaders had Stephen arrested, taken to court, and executed.]

“Silenced for good!” one sneered. Soon, the Jewish leaders would learn that they were wrong. They may have silenced Stephen, but his death pushed the gospel outside the walls of Jerusalem.

Saul, one of the many who had witnessed his death, decided to go after the church….Many fled the city…As Christians fled and took the gospel throughout the region, an amazing thing happened. Saul was traveling to another town to arrest more Christians when Jesus appeared to him in a blinding light. He later became known as Paul, one of Christ’s most passionate messengers..

Today, Christians are arrested and sometimes killed in countries around the world for telling others about Jesus. In Pakistan, where most follow a religion called Islam, one young boy was courageous when he defended the Bible at school.

His teacher told him that the Bible had been changed. Standing among his classmates, he declared, “The Bible has not changed, but whoever reads it is changed.” Radical students yelled at him. But like Stephen, he stood firm.

[Read more about the boy in Pakistan here.]

Telling others about Jesus is not always easy. We may not be arrested or hurt, but others may not like what we say and may want to find ways to keep us quiet. Just remember, we may be their only chance to hear about Jesus. With the Holy Spirit’s help, we can be courageous like Stephen and pray that Jesus will change their hearts.


Spotlight Story

Bangladesh: No Revenge

Cricket ball

Cricket
Cricket is a game similar to baseball. The bat looks somewhat like a boat oar, and the ball is as hard as a baseball — but the fielders don’t wear gloves to catch it.

The wicket, which is like baseball’s home plate, is made of three tall, vertical sticks (“stumps”) and two sticks called “bails” on top of the stumps. The “bowler” (pitcher) tries to throw the ball so that it will hit the stumps and knock the bails off before the batsman (batter) hits it.

Wickets are at both ends of the field. A batsman stands in front of each one. Runs are scored when a batsman hits a ball thrown by the bowler, and the two batsmen run and change places. Unlike in baseball, after the bowler throws the ball, it may hit the ground and bounce up to the batsman before it is hit.

A Dangerous Cricket Ball
A Muslim teenager in Bangladesh decided to use his cricket ball as a weapon. He hit the ball into his Christian neighbor’s yard, and he seemed to be trying to damage their house or hit their child. His family joined him in bullying and threatening the Christians.

The Christian father, Nazmul, sent a letter to local officials telling them about the neighbors’ behavior. The letter also said that Nazmul would not take revenge, but would forgive his persecutors.

Nazmul’s kind letter softened the neighbors’ hearts. The Muslim father asked for a meeting to work out their differences.

VOM workers ask Christians to “pray that the Holy Spirit will continue to work on the heart of the family’s persecutors.”


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