VOM’s Courageous Series books highlight the lives of faithful Christians throughout history, including the stories of biblical heroes Stephen, Thomas and Paul as well as three additional stories of well-known Christians Nicholas, Patrick and Valentine, whose faith informed their actions. Learn more here.
Published on January 15th, 2021
Eric Liddell was born on January 16th, 1902. Learn more about Eric and 15 other Christian heroes in The Torchlighters Ultimate Activity Book and DVD set, available at VOMBooks.com. The book includes 144 pages of stories, devotionals, coloring pages (see the image to the right), extreme dot-to-dots, crafts, and activities related to the 16 heroes on the accompanying Torchlighters DVDs.
Eric Liddell didn’t look like a champion when he ran, and people mocked his strange running style. But Eric was super fast. In fact, he was the fastest runner in all of Scotland. He had become a national hero, and his country was proud of him. They waited eagerly to see him compete against the world’s greatest athletes at the 1924 Olympics in Paris, where Eric was expected to win the gold medal for Great Britain in his event. Then the whole world would know that Scotland had the best 100-meter sprinter anywhere.
Eric did his best to win races, but he had a bigger goal for his life. Following his parents’ example and God’s call, he planned to be a missionary in China. Eric’s faith was even more important to him than the Olympics.
Then as the time for the Olympics approached, Eric decided not to run the 100-meter sprint — his best event! He had learned that the trials for the race were scheduled for a Sunday. Eric had always set aside the Lord’s Day for rest and worship, as the Bible teaches (Exodus 20:8-11). He refused to change his habits for the Olympics.
The people of Scotland were furious! Eric had crushed their hopes for a win for their country. It’s hard to imagine today how much importance they placed on Eric’s winning a gold medal. It seemed to Scotland that Eric was sacrificing loyalty to his country, fame, victory, and glory for a reason they didn’t understand. He was called a disgrace, a traitor, and a “letdown to his own people.”
Eric ran in the 200-meter and 400-meter races in the Olympics instead of his usual race. They had never been his best events. But he surprised the world with a gold medal and a new world record in the 400-meter event, and a bronze medal in the 200. Again he was a national hero.
Because of his fame, people listened to Eric. He used speaking opportunities to witness about his faith, and his fame continued to spread. He sacrificed his comfortable life in Scotland to serve with his wife as a missionary in China for 20 years. Then, as World War II reached them, Eric sacrificed the opportunity to leave China, staying instead to help the wounded and to share his faith. He died in China in 1945.
Published on January 14th, 2021
1. Find out about Action Packs here. Tell your friends about the project, and make a plan to help them order and pack Action Packs to send to a country where Christians are persecuted.
2. Pray for persecuted Christians while waiting in line or riding to school or church.
3. Take The Voice of the Martyrs magazines to your next doctor or dentist visit. Ask if you can leave them in the waiting room.
4. Let a children’s pastor know about the Witnesses Trilogy, Torchlighters resources, and Courageous book series described here.
5. Visit VOM’s icommittopray.com site and make a list of three people you can pray for this week during mealtime prayers.
6. Read about Family Med Packs here. Ask your parents or teacher if you can participate in providing a Med Pack for victims of attacks by radical Muslims.
7. Visit prisoneralert.com and learn about writing letters to persecuted Christian prisoners.
8. A family in Utah put spare coins in a jar for a year, then sent the money to VOM to help persecuted Christians. They called the jar “the jar for the unknown soldier” in honor of Christians around the world who need encouragement. Decorate a jar to set in your house or classroom. Invite your family or classmates to help you collect spare change for a project to help struggling Christians.
9. Tell three friends about a story you read on this website and encourage them to visit the site to learn more about persecuted Christians.
10. Download the “One Hundred Ways Poster” from the Downloads section of this site to share with other Christians.
Published on January 13th, 2021
(Source: VOM Radio. Edited for length and clarity)
In 2020, COVID-19 hit Iran hard. Then millions of locusts invaded the land, and an earthquake hit Tehran, the capital city.
Recently, Todd Nettleton of VOM Radio interviewed Brother Ali, a Christian who shares the Good News of Jesus in Iran, even in hard times. “What is the attitude of the Iranians?” Todd asked Ali. “Do they feel like it’s one thing after another, after another, after another?”
Ali replied, “The average person on the street feels like they are cursed.” Most Iranians are Muslim, and the government tries to keep Christians from sharing their faith with non-Christians. But more and more Iranians are finding hope in following Christ, and no longer feel “cursed.”
“We Are Out of Here”
Ali told Todd the story of two Iranians who did not know Jesus. Both had a serious case of COVID-19, but they were in different hospitals.
“They were feeling really bad,” Ali said. “The crazy part of this story is, both of them received the same dream. Both of them saw Jesus, and Jesus came and gave them living water. He said to them, ‘Get up, you are healed.’
“They both came to my house, just hours apart. They were completely healed of COVID, like, no signs of COVID. They went and got a test the next day, and they were negative.
“Their families had already come to Christ, so everyone was happy and singing and dancing. Iran has a lot of people dying because we have no medicine for COVID, and we can’t even get vitamins. So they were very happy [that the men were alive].
“The men left the next day and started going to smaller towns and villages and serving [the Lord]. They were like, ‘We are fine, we got healed, we are out of here.
“Pray that in the chaos [in Iran], the Lord will move.”
Published on January 12th, 2021
Todd Nettleton of VOM Radio recently talked with Jonathan Ekman, The Voice of the Martyrs’ Vice President for International Ministry. Read part of their interview below. (Edited and condensed.)
Todd: Jonathan, are there some good news stories?
Jonathan: How about surprising news?
Jonathan: We are just in the middle of a global pandemic, and that had a tremendous impact on our work. But one of the kinds of unanticipated good news stories out of that was Bible distribution. We really thought when all the lockdowns started we are in trouble, how are we going to move Bibles?
What we found, almost without exception, is that we have still been able to distribute Bibles. In one unique case, there is a country where we have had Bibles staged for a couple of years and have been unable to get them into the target country. Now with the COVID lockdown, suddenly the borders were much easier to cross, and we were able to move 40,000 Bibles into one of the most restricted countries in the world during the lockdown because of COVID.
Jonathan: I think for me that was one of the best stories of the year for me, that even in the midst of all of those things we were able to see that happen.
To Think About
What are three things that happened in 2020 that you would like to thank God for?
Published on January 11th, 2021
Mary Slessor was a missionary to Africa more than 100 years ago. The story below tells about some of her experiences serving the Lord among people who had never heard of Him.
Note: To learn about the NEW Torchlighters DVD featuring Mary Slessor, and to find related activities, click here. Parents and Teachers: Please preview before sharing with younger children.)
“Lord, give me strength,” Mary Slessor prayed silently. She smiled at the tribal hosts who had invited her to a feast in Calabar. (Calabar was a part of what is now called Nigeria.)
To please her hosts, Mary knew that she must eat whatever she was offered. She wanted to make friends with them so she could tell them about Jesus. But the soup looked like tar to her. Another dish was filled with plants and fish heads. She prayed for help.
“Excellent!” she exclaimed as she sipped the soup. “Superb!” she said as she tried the fish dish, trying not to look at the fish eyes.