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India: A Unique Marriage Proposal

Radha
When Radha was in the 12th grade, her parents began to search for someone to marry her. Like many parents in India, they planned to choose their daughter’s husband. They were looking for a man who worked hard, had a good job, and made lots of money. However, Radha told them, “I will not get married unless I marry a pastor.” She wanted to help a pastor in his work for the Lord.

Radha’s parents were Christians, but they did not agree with her plan. After many arguments and counseling from Christian aunts and uncles, her parents gave in to her wishes.

Arjun
When Arjun was a boy in India, he grew very ill. “He will not live,” the doctors told Arjun’s parents. An evangelist visited Arjun’s house, talked to his family about Christ, and prayed for Arjun. “If he lives, let him live for Christ,” said Arjun’s mother.

Arjun recovered from his illness! He gave his life to Christ and became a pastor. In the area where he lived, pastors were often threatened and attacked, so he knew the risks of sharing the good news of Jesus. Soon he, too, was attacked and warned not to continue his preaching.

Proposal
Arjun knew about Radha’s desire to help share the love of Jesus with those who don’t know Him. So he asked her to marry him.

[Talk to three couples who have been married a long time. Ask them what they talked about during their marriage proposal. Was their conversation anything like Arjun’s proposal below?]

“This is my life,” Arjun began his proposal to Radha. “I am a minister and have been attacked so many times. In the future, you may be attacked. I might go to jail. Sometimes we will have food, sometimes we will not. This will be the life. If you would like to marry me, you can. Otherwise, say no.”

Radha answered, “Live or die, I will live for Christ.”

Serving the Lord Together
Arjun was not exaggerating in his proposal. The couple has endured hardship, attacks, arrests, and threats. They now have a baby who may also endure hardship someday. (See their photo above. A Christian friend is on the left.)

“The problems, trials, tribulations, and whatever comes is nothing with God,” Arjun told a VOM worker. “God has made a new heaven house for us, so we have to wait and strive for that. That is what we are waiting for.”

To learn more about Christians in India, download Bold Believers in India from the Downloads section.

(To protect their identities, the names of some of the people on this website and some identifying details have been changed. Some of the quotes and stories have been edited and paraphrased from the original sources for clarity, length, and age appropriateness.)


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?