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Make an Advent Prayer Train

Needed
30 mini raisin boxes, or other small boxes
Red and green acrylic paint
Glue (or tape)
Fine tip marker
Small photos of children from countries where Christians are persecuted from VOM publications or websites. (Or print and cut out the photos here.)

Instructions
*Cut off the tops and flaps of 24 of the mini boxes.
*Paint 12 of the boxes red and 12 of them green.
*Paint three of the remaining whole boxes red and three green.
*Let dry, and repeat if necessary.
*Glue sides of the boxes together to make a train, alternating red and green boxes. (See the photo above.) Number the odd numbered boxes with the marker.
*Make a train engine, arranging the remaining boxes as shown in the photo, and number one of the engine boxes with a 25.


*Glue or tape photos of children on the front of the boxes that are not numbered. Write the name of a country where Christians are persecuted inside each box with a photo on it, or make small labels and attach them to the inside of the boxes. (See the photo.)


*Add candy canes or mini candy bars to the boxes if desired.

Pray
Starting on December 1st, pray every day until Christmas for children around the world, especially children in countries featured on the train boxes. You can find prayer suggestions here or in downloadable Bold Believers books here. You can also enter the name of a country in the Search box on this site to find stories and prayer needs for that country.

Share the treat in each box with someone, and encourage them to pray also.


Thankfulness Bag

You can make a bag to help you remember the blessings God has provided for His children.

Needed
*Brown or white paper lunch bag
*White glue
*Brown, yellow, red, and orange craft foam
*Twine
*Hole puncher
*5 mm wiggle eyes
*A Bible verse about thankfulness printed or written on thick paper or cardstock
*10 or more 3-by-5 index cards or small cards cut from thick paper or cardstock
*Pen or marker

Instructions
1. Fold down 1¼ inches of the top of the bag to the inside of the bag. Optional: Glue or tape in place.
2. Punch two holes on the front and back of the bag about an inch from the top and an inch to each side of the center of the bag.
3. Form a loop with two lengths of twine. Thread the ends from the outside to the inside of the bag through the holes. Knot and glue the ends on the inside to form handles.
4. Cut the following shapes from the craft foam: 5 teardrop shapes (feathers) approximately 2¼ inches long from 2 or more colors, 1 brown circle about 2½ inches in diameter, 1 brown piece about 1½ inches wide and 1¼ inches tall in the shape of a rounded three leaf clover, 2 feet about an inch wide, a rounded yellow triangle about ¾ inch across at the top and ½ inches tall, and a turkey wattle about ¾ inch long.
5. Glue the ends of the feathers to the back of the larger brown circle. Assemble and glue the remaining pieces and the eyes together as shown in the photo. Glue the Bible verse to the bag.
6. Write one thing you are thankful for on each card. Consider including some of the following.
*I am thankful that nothing can separate us or persecuted Christians from the love of Christ.
*We are thankful for Christians who share the gospel in difficult places.
*Thank God that He never leaves or forsakes those who are suffering.
*Praise God for the “cloud of witnesses” described in the Book of Hebrews.
7. During Thanksgiving week, draw cards out of the bag during mealtimes or devotions
and thank God for the blessings listed on the cards.


National Bible Week

The week of Thanksgiving is National Bible Week in the United States.

Suggested Group Activities for National Bible Week

In a country where Bibles are hard for some Christians to get, a broadcaster reads parts of the Bible on a radio program. He reads very slowly so listeners can copy the verses by hand. The listeners use the written verses as their “Bible.”

Have someone read Matthew 19:29 out loud very slowly while others in the group write the verse on paper or type it on a computer.

Crossing the Border Game
Guards in some countries also try to keep people from sneaking into their country, especially if they are carrying Bibles. The governments of some countries do not want their citizens to learn about Jesus. Christians in one place found a way to take Bibles into those countries in the winter. Guards near the border looked for footprints in the snow. They sent attack dogs in the direction of the footprints. So the Christians walked backwards in the snow at night to take Bibles into the countries that did not allow Bibles. When border guards looked down at the footprints from their towers in the morning, they sent their search dogs in the wrong direction!

How to Play
Divide into two teams with an equal number of players. Give each team a bag of three or four books. Make a starting line and a finish line several yards apart. Line up the teams behind the starting line. When a leader says, “Go,” the first player on each team walks/runs backwards to the finish line, carrying the bag of books. The player drops the books behind him beyond the finish line. The second player walks/runs backwards to the books, picks them up without turning around, then runs back to the starting line. Play continues until all the players on one team have finished the task. That team wins.

To Discuss
Smuggling Bibles into a country where Christians are persecuted can be risky. Smugglers can be arrested or attacked. They are willing to sacrifice their safety and take the risk. Did anyone have to sacrifice so that you would be able to read the Bible in your language?


Malaysia and Indonesia: Batik

Batik is a method of applying color and designs to cloth. It is an art form that has been practiced in Malaysia and Indonesia for centuries. Traditional artists use wax on the fabric as part of the process. You can use washable glue to make designs an easier way.

First, use the glue to draw pictures or designs on muslin or other light-colored fabric. Let the glue dry completely. Apply fabric paint in one or more colors where there is no glue. Wash the fabric in the washing machine to remove the glue.

To learn more about Christians in Malaysia and Indonesia, download Bold Believers in Malaysia and Bold Believers in Indonesia from the free Downloads section.


IDOP Prayer Reminders

Note: The International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP) is this weekend.

To make clothespin magnets that remind you to pray for persecuted Christians all year long, glue decorations on one side of a clothespin. (Or decorate it with colorful, patterned duct tape.) Attach a piece of peel-and-stick magnetic tape on the other side.

Create decorative labels that include the name of a country where Christians are persecuted. (Or cut out small photos of persecuted Christians from The Voice of the Martyrs newsletters or printed from this site.)

Fasten the labels or photos with the clothespins, and display the clothespins on a refrigerator or another magnetic surface. Change or add to the items as you learn of additional prayer needs. Pray for one of the countries or Christians  on the clothespins during mealtime prayers or at other times when you notice the prayer reminders.

Enter “IDOP” in the Search box to find more IDOP activities, or check the IDOP lesson plans in the Downloads section.