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By Elise Wixtrom, Kids of Courage Student Reviewer

Elise Wixtrom writes reviews of VOM resources for readers of 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]

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.

Iran: Thieves Steal Bibles

(Source: VOM Australia)

A group of 10 thieves in Iran earned a living by taking things that didn’t belong to them. They had worked together for three years, so they were probably pretty good at their sinful activities.

One day, the thieves saw a woman carrying a big bag. Hoping the bag was full of money, they stole it and ran away.

The woman whose bag was stolen was so disappointed. Her bag had no money in it; instead, it was full of Bibles. The Muslim government of Iran makes it very difficult for people to get Bibles and other Christian books. By law, Bibles can’t be printed in the country or imported into the country. But the woman had managed to get 10 Bibles for her Bible study group. Now they were gone.

Better Than Money
Later, someone called the woman and said they had found her bag. “Come and get it,” the mystery caller said.

She really wanted the Bibles, but she was scared. “What if they turn me in to the police?” she thought. So she asked her pastor for advice. He told her he felt peace about her going to get the Bibles.

When she met the people who had her bag, they turned out to be the thieves! After they realized the bag had no money in it, they decided to read the Bibles and wanted to learn more about Jesus.

She answered their questions, and they trusted in Jesus as their Savior. Then they started their own Bible study and promised to pay back all that they had stolen from others. Praise God for our new brothers in Christ in Iran!

To Talk About
*The woman was sad that her Bibles were stolen, but happy that the thieves came to Christ. Can you think of a situation where something “bad” turned out to be good? (See Genesis 50:20.)
*If someone asked you to tell them about Jesus, would you be prepared to give an answer? (See 1 Peter 3:15.)

Cuba: Drone Persecution

Drones hovered in the air as the Cuban congregation left their church one day. The pastor believed the drones were meant to frighten the Christians.

Some Christians think that the Cuban government uses the drones to listen to pastors’ sermons and tell the authorities what the pastor says. “Christians have been threatened, there have been more attacks, and the authorities have threatened to demolish more church buildings,” a Christian leader said. “Pray for the Cuban church, because we are under strong attack,”

(Sources: The U.S. State Department International Religious Freedom Report and

Photo: A baptism in Cuba