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Day of the Christian Martyr — June 29, 2019

Standing with today’s persecuted Christians is central to our mission. But it is also important for us to draw inspiration from those who have gone before us…We have established this date, coinciding with the anniversary of the martyrdom of the Apostle Paul, as an annual day of remembrance called Day of the Christian Martyr. — Cole Richards, President of The Voice of the Martyrs

Your group or class may want to practice and perform the skit below as part of the observance of Day of the Christian Martyr.

In the following skit from the Kids of Courage VBS curriculum, a Christian prisoner recognizes that he is a link in the chain of faithful Christians from the past who have sacrificed for Christ.

Links in the Chain

Characters
Narrator
Prison Official
Prisoner
Several Links in the Chain

Props
Small table and chair
Paper and pen
Several signs with the name of a Christian martyr on one side and the student’s name on the other (see below)
Optional: strips of construction paper, partially completed paper chain, tape

Suggested Costumes
Old torn clothes for Prisoner
Uniform for Prison Official

(The Prison Official is seated at a table. A pen and paper are on the table. The Prisoner is standing by the table.)

Narrator: Several years ago, police locked a Christian in prison in a country where Christians were persecuted. The prison officials asked the prisoner to sign a statement. The statement accused other Christians of breaking the law. If the prisoner signed the statement, the other Christians would be arrested.

Prison Official: Sign this statement! Things will go easier for you if you just do what I say.

Prisoner: The chain keeps me from signing this.

Prison Official: But you are not in chains!

Prisoner: I am. I am bound by the chain of witnesses who gave their lives for Jesus throughout the centuries. I am a link in this chain. I will not break it.

(Prisoner and Prison Official exit.)

(Optional: Provide background music that includes a song about faithfulness to God.)

(Students, Links in the Chain, enter single file and stand in a line across the stage. As students take their places one by one, they recite the name of someone who sacrificed for Christ, and if desired, a phrase about that person’s sacrifice. Each student may hold up a sign with the name of a Christian on it. Examples include: “Stephen, the first martyr for Christ” and “Paul, who said ‘the word of God is not chained.’” Others can include heroes from Christian history and modern persecuted Christians.)

Narrator: The apostle Paul asked his friends to “remember his chains.” We may not be called to die for our faith. But we can be links in the chain by remembering those who are persecuted and by praying for them. We, too, are bound by the chain of witnesses who gave their lives for Jesus throughout the centuries.

Links in the Chain: (speaking one by one) I am a link in the chain. (As they speak, they may turn their signs over, revealing their own names on the back.)

(Optional: The audience can be allowed to respond by coming forward at the end of the skit, lining up, and saying one at a time when recognized, “I am a link in the chain.” If desired, have available a short paper chain made of construction paper and give students strips of paper for each to add to the chain as they say it. A teacher may help by taping the links as they are added.)


National Donut Day

The story and recipe below are from The Torchlighters Ultimate Activity Book, available at VOMBooks.com.

National Donut Day is celebrated on the first Friday in June every year. Some donut shops offer free donuts in honor of the day. But donut companies didn’t start the event. The Salvation Army created the celebration in 1938.

The first Donut Day raised funds for poor people. Since then, the Salvation Army has observed the day in honor of Salvation Army women who made donuts for American soldiers in France during World War I. Salvation Army workers again served donuts to soldiers during World War II and the Vietnam War. Following the example of the founder of the Salvation Army, William Booth, the organization serves millions of free meals — including donuts — every year to people in need.

Try the recipe below if you want to share homemade donuts with someone who needs encouragement.

Donut Recipe
Ingredients:
1. Package of large canned biscuits
2. Peanut or vegetable oil
3. Icing or cinnamon sugar (optional)

Instructions
• Use a 1-inch round cookie cutter or bottle lid to cut a hole in the center of each biscuit.
Keep the dough you removed from the biscuit.
• In a large pot or deep fryer, heat about 2 inches of oil over medium to medium-high heat,
about 350 degrees. (Make sure an adult helps.)
• Fry the donuts and holes until they are golden brown on one side, then turn them over
and cook the other side.
• Drain on paper towels. If desired, spread icing on them, or coat them in cinnamon sugar.
• Deliver to someone with a note or word of encouragement!

Click here to learn more about William Booth and the Salvation Army, and to watch a video clip from the Torchlighters DVD, The William Booth Story.


Amy Carmichael’s “Scraps”

Amy Carmichael freed many children from captivity in Hindu temples during her time as a missionary in India. You can read more about her life in India here.

Before she moved from her home in Ireland to a continent across the world, Amy helped care for her six younger siblings. One of her projects was a family magazine called Scraps. Amy and the other kids wrote and illustrated the magazine.

(Source: On Asking God Why by Elisabeth Elliot)

VOM volunteer Ashley L. created a “Scraps” booklet with the theme of prayer. You can use or adapt the following instructions to make your own magazine or book.

Needed
*Sturdy paper, and thinner paper for tracing
*Scrapbook paper or other decorative paper
*Photos from The Voice of the Martyrs publications or other sources, or drawings you create
*Scissors
*Tape and a glue stick
*Markers or crayons, or watercolor paint
*Stapler
*Stickers, buttons, ribbon, missionary prayer cards, stamps, or other items for decoration

Instructions and Suggestions
1. Cut out four or more pages, measuring about 5 inches by 7 inches, from sturdy paper.
2. Glue words and photos from VOM publications to one or more pages.


3. Ask an adult to search online for a map of a country where Christians are persecuted. Place thin paper on the phone screen or computer. Gently and lightly trace the outline of the country on the paper with a pencil. Color in the outline with markers, crayons, or watercolor paint.


4. Write prayer points for the country on one page of the booklet. (Enter the country’s name in the search box of this site to find ideas for prayers.)
5. Write a prayer for persecuted Christians on separate paper and tape it to another page.
6. Add additional pages if desired. Choose a theme and title for your book, and write it on the cover with markers or crayons. Staple the pages together along the left side of the booklet.
7. Share the booklet with family and friends.


Follow the Leader

More than 10 ministries around the world trace their beginnings to the mission and testimony of Richard and Sabina Wurmbrand.  [Enter “Wurmbrand” in the Search box to find out more about the Wurmbrands.]

One of the ministries in The Voice of the Martyrs’ family of missions is VOM Australia. The activity below comes from their website.

How to play:

1. Ask each person to choose a partner. Partners stand facing each other a few feet apart. As one partner moves very slowly, the other person must try to mirror the motions. Do this for a minute or so and then switch and have the other partner lead.

2. Talk about: Would you rather be the leader or the follower? Why?

3. Discuss: Jesus asks us to follow His example in every way. This includes loving others, even our enemies.

4. Ask someone to read or quote Galatians 2:20 (NIV), “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

5. To think about: Think about people you may have a difficult time loving, such as family members, fellow students, teachers, or others. Pray for those people throughout the week, asking God to help you influence them for Christ.


Six Additional Torchlighter Resources and Features

Have you enjoyed the stories about Christian heroes on the Torchlighter DVDs? Get the most out of your DVD collection with the Torchlighter supplementary resources and features below.
(Source: Torchlighters.org)

1. Documentaries
The 30-minute animated Torchlighter episodes share the main parts of each faith hero’s story, but there’s so much more to tell! Torchlighter documentaries are intended to equip adults to answer questions kids might have, but once their interest is piqued, many children also enjoy the documentaries. Livestream the documentaries here.

2. Leader’s Guides
Free Bible-based lesson plans help teachers and parents make the most of the Torchlighter videos. The lessons begin with a Scripture focus, then weave together the elements and tools to make lesson planning easy. The guides include ice-breakers, applications, and everything in between. Find them in the Downloads section or on Torchlighters Curriculum Page.

3. Student’s Guides
Torchlighter student’s guides coordinate with the leader’s guides, but can also be used independently by kids. The guides feature puzzles, crafts, thought-provoking questions, coloring-pages and more. Find them in the Downloads section or on Torchlighters Curriculum Page.

4. Spanish Language Tracks
All Torchlighter episodes come with a professional Spanish language track. Many are translated into additional languages as well, with more to come. The producer of the Torchlighters is from Costa Rica, and many of the episodes are hand drawn in a studio there.

5. Subtitles
Torchlighter DVDs include subtitles in both Spanish and English, allowing you to use them in multiple ministry settings. Native speakers are cast for in-country roles as often as possible, which means some characters have accents that may be difficult to understand on the first viewing. Subtitles make it easier.

6. Quizzes, Puzzles, and Coloring Pages
Find online quizzes and activities on the “Heroes” pages on Torchlighters.org.