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Tired in the Middle East

A growing number of Muslims in the Middle East are leaving Islam to follow Christ. (Islam is the religion of Muslims.) Muslim friends, relatives, teachers, and bosses may persecute the new Christians for leaving their faith. Christians in the Middle East are fired from their jobs, expelled from school, and kicked out of their homes.

The Christians know that the Bible says, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:10). And like the Christians in the Book of Acts, they know that it is a privilege to suffer for the name of Christ (Acts 5:41).

But Amin, a new Christian in a Middle Eastern country, told VOM contacts that he is exhausted from the persecution he began experiencing about six months ago. Sometimes he feels like he can’t take another step forward in his life. Some other Middle Eastern Christians feel the same.

Please pray that God will restore the strength of tired believers in the Middle East.

Note: Not everyone agrees about what countries make up the Middle East. One common definition includes the countries in southwestern Asia from Iran to Egypt. Egypt is included even though it is part of Africa, not Asia.


Cao Stays in Prison

A previous post told about Pastor John Cao who was arrested in March 2017. Cao is a Chinese pastor known for his work helping poor people in Myanmar (Burma). Pastor Cao is married to an American citizen, and they have two sons, Benjamin and Amos. He lives with his family in North Carolina when he is not on mission trips or in prison. You can read more about Pastor Cao here.

Update: ChinaAid reports that a Chinese court failed to grant Cao an appeal, and his seven-year sentence will continue. Only Cao’s 83-year-old mother, his sister, and his lawyer were allowed in the court.

The story of his arrest and imprisonment is told on prisoneralert.com. The site also provides instructions for writing to Cao and other prisoners.

Please continue to pray for Pastor Cao and his family.


Remembering to Pray, Remembering to Read

This summer, VOM Voice Becky J. taught a Kids of Courage class at her church for a month. The children learned that Christians in some countries don’t have Bibles of their own because it is illegal or because there is nowhere to buy a Bible.

Becky taught them about some of the ways Bibles get into non-Christian countries — such as in Scripture balloons, on audio Bibles or phones, and by motorcycles under challenging conditions. (See the photo above.) The kids watched video clips from kidsofcourage.com and played Crossing the Border to help them understand the risks of getting Bibles into countries where the government tries to restrict Christianity.

Becky encouraged her students to read the Bible every day since they are able to do so without fear. To help them remember to read their Bible and to pray for those who don’t have Bibles, the class made bookmarks with Hebrew 4:12 written on the front, and “Pray for Christians in countries where they can’t have a Bible” on the back.

To Do
*Read Hebrews 4:12, and tell what it means in your own words.
*Make a bookmark for your Bible that will encourage you to read your Bible every day and to pray for people who don’t have Bibles.


Egypt: Happy Anyway

(The story below comes from Stef, the children’s publication of SDOK, a ministry that is part of The Voice of the Martyrs’ family of missions. SDOK is in the Netherlands. The story has been translated, then edited for length and clarity.)

I am Christine, and I am 11 years old. I would love to go to school, but unfortunately, it is not possible. My parents say it is not safe for me and my sister.

We are Christian, but there are no Christian schools where we live. My sister accidentally told a friend that we were baptized. The friend told the teacher about it. It became a hassle.

Our relatives are also angry that we have become Christians. So our parents find it safer that we keep moving. That way nobody can find out where we live.

I really don’t like it at all. And yet I am happy. Strange, huh? It’s because I feel that Jesus is very close. He gives peace to my heart. I hope and pray that something special happens so that I can go to school safely. Will you pray with me?


Kids of Courage VBS

“I chose Kids of Courage this year for our VBS. I tend to stay away from the commercial VBS curriculums and try to find more relevant and meaningful ones. This one caught my attention but I was worried about the heavy content.

“It turned out to be an excellent VBS! What I loved about it was its real life applications and the fact that the kids could learn, not just Bible truths, but learn about other countries and cultures.

“I also liked that it wasn’t coated in sugar…. It’s ok for children to know that there is evil in the world, that they are blessed, and that Christ calls us to make a difference.”

Click here to read more feedback from VOM’s Kids of Courage VBS curriculum.

The complete Kids of Courage VBS curriculum includes a director’s guide, crafts, activities, five teachers’ guides, skits, plays, photo and music CDs, games, snack recipes, The Voice of the Martyrs prayer map, and more.

Read “Ten Facts About VOM’s Kids of Courage VBS Curriculum” here.

Can you share information about the curriculum with churches in your community? Go to www.kidsofcouragevbs.com for more information and samples from the curriculum.