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Turkey: Beren at School

(Source: VOM Australia. Photo: Turkish children playing)

Children at public schools in Turkey must attend Islamic education classes. (Islam is the religion of Muslims.) But Beren, a Christian girl, got permission to skip the classes, because she and her family are not Muslims. During the classes, Beren was allowed to sit in another room and do other schoolwork. She would also not need to take religious exams.

This seemed like a good solution. Then her Muslim school friends came to realize why she was not attending the classes. She was a Christian! At first, some of her friends snubbed her; they didn’t want to be associated with a Christian. Some kids decided that the situation needed to change. One day they grabbed her around the throat and shouted, “You need to be a Muslim!”

Beren was terrified. She became ill and did not want to go to school anymore. Her family tried to resolve the situation by meeting with the teachers and students. They were able to persuade the students to apologize to Beren, so she became more comfortable with attending school again.

However, this event has taken its toll. Beren is now afraid of telling friends that she is a Christian. She is still a faithful believer, but she has decided to attend the Islamic education classes to avoid being such an easy target in the future.

There are so few Christians in Turkey that many young people find they are the only believers at their school. Pray that God will comfort and encourage young people in Turkey who face bullying, and that He would provide Christian friends.


10 Quotes from 2019

The following quotes were shared with or by workers from The Voice of the Martyrs during 2019. Most of the quotes came from Christians in countries where believers are persecuted.

1. “This is the greatest gift I’ve received on earth. I’m thankful to get this before I leave this world.” — woman in Asia who received a Bible from VOM. She was a Christian for 20 years before she owned a Bible.

2. “I wish I could have been in there longer so more of the prisoners could hear the gospel.” — Christian in prison for his faith who was released after six months.

3. “If I would disobey God, I would not have persecution.” — persecuted Christian in India

4. “I don’t think courage is not to be afraid. It is to choose to do the right thing even if you are afraid.” — Christian in the Middle East

5. “God is not tame and safe. But He is kind and gentle.” — VOM worker

6. “They spread the virus; we have the antivirus.” — VOM worker who helps Christians spreading the gospel in a country where non-Christians are also spreading their false teachings.

7. “There are amazing blessings to be found that seem only to be found in times of suffering.” — VOM worker

8. “Just pray that we will not stop sharing [the gospel] until our last breath.” — persecuted pastor in India

9. “The nail that sticks out is the one they hammer down.” — persecuted pastor

10. “Following Christ means following risk, not just blessing.” — persecuted African believer

(Source: VOM workers and contacts. Edited for length, clarity, reading level, and security.)

To Do
Choose five of the quotes above and say them in your own words. How many of the quotes do you agree with?

To read additional quotes, click here and here.

 


Nicholas

By Elise Wixtrom, Kids of Courage Student Reviewer

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.

If you have enjoyed the traditional celebration of Christmas (the birth of Christ), then you certainly know who Santa Claus is. But do you know the true story behind the man in the red suit who brings presents to leave beneath your Christmas tree?

Nicholas was the son of two very rich parents who lived in the Roman empire. He lived about 300 years after the death and resurrection of Jesus.

When Nicholas’ parents died, he inherited a great deal of money, more than he really knew what to do with, and more than he could spend on his own. Now Nicholas was a believer in the gospel of Christ, and he believed in his heart that rich people should give to the poor as much as they could. In fact, he thought that those with money should give even more than they could spare. So he decided to give most of what he inherited to the poor families of the area where he lived. In order to do so and not be found out, because he did not want attention drawn to himself, he dropped bags of gold coins into unlit fireplaces, and that is where we get the story of Santa Claus coming down the chimney to put presents underneath the tree. However, the real Nicholas’ presents did not just make people happy for Christmas, they saved lives, homes, and families from poverty.

That is why we remember him, even today. God gave Nicholas riches, and laid on the young man’s heart the task that he was to carry out. And so, with the love of Christ in his heart, Nicholas gave his wealth to the people who truly needed it. God used Nicholas to give more than he could have on his own.

[Enter “Nicholas” in the Search box to read more stories about Nicholas. The book Nicholas: God’s Courageous Gift-Giver is part of The Voice of the Martyrs’ Courageous Series. The six books in the series are available at vombooks.com.]


Papel Picado

Paper cutout banners, called papel picado, are used in Mexico as decorations at Christmas and other celebrations.

To make a mini-banner, stack four 6-inch square pieces of colored tissue paper. Fold the stack once lengthwise, then once widthwise.

The folded squares will have two sides with folds in them and two sides without. Cut shapes out of the sides. (See the photo.) Leave one of the sides without a fold uncut. Avoid cutting within one inch of the uncut side.

Unfold and separate the squares carefully. Fold a half-inch strip at the top of each piece. Run a string or thick thread through the folded strip of all four pieces. Tape the strip down, leaving an inch of space between the pieces.

To learn about courageous Christians in Chiapas, a part of Mexico, see Bold Believers in Chiapas, available in the Downloads section.


Torchlighters in Wales

Can you find the country of Wales on a map? Hint: It’s part of the United Kingdom. In the past, a majority of the people in Wales spoke the Welsh language. Then English grew in popularity, and today about 20 percent speak Welsh.

Road sign in Welsh and English

Recently, 150 children from four Welsh-speaking schools gathered to watch the Torchlighters The Corrie ten Boom Story in their own language. The schools are not Christian schools, and most of the students had never heard Corrie’s story. But the schools were able to use the DVD for history and religious education lessons.

Welsh schoolchildren

You can read more about the Welsh version of The Corrie ten Boom Story and find a link to the video here.

Enter “Corrie” in the search box on this site to find stories and an English trailer from the DVD.