Donate | VOM Resources

Ukrainian Children Encourage Prisoners

Christian children in Ukraine have been writing letters of encouragement to Christian prisoners and former prisoners. They are mailing the letters in the yellow mailbox to Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan. (See the photo.)

The Soviet Union (also called the U.S.S.R.) used to be the world’s most powerful Communist country. It split up into smaller countries in the early 1990’s. Ukraine, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan are four of the smaller countries. The Ukrainian children want to encourage Christians who have not been treated fairly by their governments.

You can also encourage Christians in prison for their faithful spreading of the gospel. To send greetings to a Christian prisoner in another country, visit Click on the name of a prisoner, then on “Write a Letter.” Follow the instructions to complete the process.

Or, to send your own greeting, continue the process until you get to the step in which a prisoner’s address is shown. Then instead of finishing the process and printing the letter, use the address provided to mail a greeting. (Find more instructions here.) Go to a post office to ask how much postage you will need to mail the letter.

Inside a Vietnamese Prison

Prison cell in Asia

The previous post told about a pastor in Vietnam who spent time in prison because of his work for the Lord.

Read below about conditions in Vietnamese prisons and try the activity. You can find the activity and more about Christians in Vietnam in Bold Believers in Vietnam, available in the Downloads section.

Outside Work
Some Christian prisoners in Vietnam are forced to make bricks or to work in the fields outside the prison 12 to 16 hours a day, seven days a week. They get very little food, and guards may beat them if they don’t work fast enough. “But they’d rather go outside, because inside is even worse,” said one Christian.

Crowded Cells
The prison cells are dark, crowded, and noisy. Larger cells hold 100 or more people. In smaller cells, six to eight people may be kept in a space about 8 feet by 10 feet. The prisoners don’t have mattresses, blankets, or pillows. Sometimes they are not allowed to have Bibles.

Try This
Mark off an 8-foot by 10-foot empty space. Stay in the space with five other people for about 15 to 20 minutes. Talk about where you would sleep and how you would live if you had to stay in the space all the time. Pray for those in prison for Christ. Share any Scriptures you could recite if you didn’t have access to a Bible.

To Talk About
If you had to live in a Vietnamese prison, what would you say about life there? Read below what some Vietnamese prisoners said about their time in prison.

*“Being in prison gave me more time to have a deeper relationship with God.”

*“I learned more about the true values of life.”

*“It was an honor to serve the Lord in this way.”

*“Going to prison encouraged me to continue my Christian work when I got out. After being in prison, I was more willing to risk going back to prison again.”

*“In prison, I had the opportunity to lead my cellmates, and even guards, to Christ.”

Count in Filipino

Filipino and English are official languages of the Philippines. Filipino is said to have come from Tagalog, a language of the Philippines. Sometimes people call Filipino “Tagalog.” Filipino may also be referred to as “Pilipino.”

Learn to Count in Filipino
(Pronunciations are approximate.)

The first word in each group below is the English word, and the second is the Filipino word. The third part tells how to pronounce the Filipino word.

One. Isa. ee-SAH
Two. Dalawa. dah-lah-WAH
Three. Tatlo. taht-LOH
Four. Apat. ah-PAHT
Five. Lima. lee-MAH
Six. Anim. AH-neem
Seven. Pito. pee-TOH
Eight. Walo. wah-LOH
Nine. Siyam. shahm
Ten. Sampu. sahm-POO

(Source: Bold Believers in the Philippines. Read or download the book here.)

To Do
Count the number of Filipino children in the photo above using Filipino numbers.

A Treat from the Philippines

Bold Believers in the Philippines

Bold Believers in the Philippines, available in the Downloads section, is the newest book in the Bold Believers series.

The champorado recipe below is from the book. Children in the Philippines enjoy champorado for breakfast, snacks, or dessert.

2 cups of freshly cooked rice
½ cup of chocolate chips or a chocolate bar cut in pieces
1 to 2 tablespoon of sugar (optional)
Yogurt, milk, cream, whipped cream, or coconut milk

1. Add chocolate to hot, freshly cooked rice, and stir until the chocolate is melted. Add sugar if desired.
2. Scoop ½ cup of the mixture into a bowl. Top with yogurt, milk, cream, whipped cream, or coconut milk.

Swahili Time

Tanzanian baby and big sister

People in Tanzania have two ways of telling time. Many follow the same system of telling time that people use in the United States. They call it “English time.”

But some Tanzanians go by “Swahili time.” Tanzania is near the equator, so days and nights are about 12 hours long all year around. In Swahili time, days start at 6 a.m. English time (sunrise), and nights begin at 6 p.m. English time (sunset). So at 7 a.m. English time, it is 1 a.m. Swahli time.

The first time in each pair below is “English time.” The second tells what time it would be in Swahili time.

6 a.m. 12 a.m. (sunrise)
8 a.m. 2 a.m. (2 hours after sunrise)
12 p.m., noon. 6 a.m. (6 hours after sunrise)
3 p.m. 9 a.m. (9 hours after sunrise)
6 p.m. 12 p.m. (sunset)
7 p.m. 1 p.m. (1 hour after sunset)
12 a.m., midnight. 6 p.m. (6 hours after sunset)

To Think About
• Why are days and nights about 12 hours each in locations close to the equator?
• Farther from the equator, the times of sunrise and sunset vary between winter and summer months. Why would it be harder to use Swahili time in places far from the equator?
• People who live by Swahili time think it is strange that the day starts at 12 a.m. in English time. So midnight is morning, even though people are in bed. What do you think?

Try This
At 9 a.m. English time, it would be 3 a.m. in Swahili time. Children in Tanzania might be going to school. Answer the questions below, then pray for the children and for what activity they might be doing at that time.

At 11 a.m. English time, it is 5 a.m. Swahili time. What might children in Tanzania be doing at that time?

At 1 p.m. English time, what time would it be in Swahili time?
At 4 p.m. English time, what time is it in Swahili time?
At 2 p.m. Swahili time, what time would it be in English time?