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Secret Rules

China
American girl eating in China

Missionaries to other countries may have trouble learning all the customs and unwritten rules of the people around them. For example, in some countries, it is not polite to eat with the left hand, and in some places, it is insulting to show others the bottom of one’s shoe.

Divide into two teams. Have teams meet separately where they can’t hear each other while discussing their strategy. Ask each team to make up a very simple imaginary secret rule about eating a snack. Examples: Use only your right hand to eat. Or everyone must sit with their right foot crossed over their left. Or every spoken sentence must end with “please” or “thank you.” Or girls must look down at their food and never raise their eyes.

Then let the teams interact while a simple snack is served. Try to discover the other team’s secret rule within a certain time limit. (If you do not want to serve a snack, teams can think of a rule to follow while listening to a story.)

To Think About

  • What are some “unwritten” rules or customs of your country that others might have trouble understanding?
  • With an adult, attend a church that follows customs with which you are not familiar. Talk about how it felt to be in a place with different “rules.”
  • How can you welcome and help new people who come to your church and might not understand how things are done at your church?

The Wurmbrands: Potato Stories

*August 19 is National Potato Day

*Richard Wurmbrand was the founder of The Voice of the Martyrs. Before he started VOM, he was imprisoned in Communist Romania because of his Christian activities. His wife, Sabina, was also imprisoned for a time.

The stories below come from The Tochlighters Ultimate Activity Book. Find more information here.

Questioned About Potatoes
After the Wurmbrands were imprisoned, generous Christians helped take care of Richard and Sabina’s son, Mihai. But it was very risky to help the families of imprisoned Christians. One woman traveled many miles facing great difficulty to bring him a sack of potatoes — all she had to offer. The police discovered her kindness, took her to the police station, questioned her, and treated her harshly, just for feeding a child. Food was scarce in Romania during Richard Wurmbrand’s time in prison, both inside and outside of prison. Sometimes people outside of prison ate the same simple food three times a day. In prison, they had much less.

Try This
Richard Wurmbrand often said that the prison guards ate the potatoes and the prisoners only had the peels made into a soup. Make your own “potato peel soup” by peeling a potato and then putting the peels (only) into a saucepan. Add two cups of water. Bring the water to a boil for 5 minutes, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Let the “soup” cool, and then taste some. Romanian prisoners were thankful for even a potato peel meal!


China Word Squares

Print the puzzle boxes below, or draw a 4 by 4 block of squares like the ones below on a piece of paper. Solve the puzzles so that each word square reveals the same words vertically (up and down) and horizontally (across).
Across and Down

  1. China built a Great ___ to keep out invaders; rhymes with “ball.”
  2. In ___, China is the fourth largest country in the world.
  3. A colorful plastic toy building brick.
  4. ___ is China’s neighbor. It is between Burma (Myanmar) and Vietnam.
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2
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4
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2
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4
Across and Down

  1. China is all in one time ___; rhymes with “tone.”
  2. China used to be closed to outsiders; now it is more ___.
  3. Many people in China now know they ___ Jesus; rhymes with “heed.”
  4. Jesus said His disciples would be His witnesses to the ___ of the earth (Acts 1:8, NIV).
Across and Down

  1. Almost ___ of China ’s people follow no religion; same as 50%.
  2. A sea east of China ; “lara” spelled backwards.
  3. The last volcano eruption in China was in 1951; melted rock from a volcano is ___.
  4. The ___ of China has five yellow stars.
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  1. Wall, area, Lego, Laos
  2. zone, open, need, ends
  3. half, Aral, lava, flag

Arabic

Arabic is the official language of many Muslim countries. Muslims believe that Arabic is the language of Allah. The majority of Muslims in the world do not speak Arabic as their first language. But it is customary for all Muslims to say their daily prayers in Arabic, even if they do not understand the language well.

Unlike English, Arabic is written from left to right. Here is how to pronounce some words and phrases in Arabic. (Pronunciations are approximate.)

Praise the Lord. [MAHG-duh lah rahp]

Jesus saves. [Yah-SOO-ah yoo-KHAH-liss]

Yes [nahm]

No [lah]

Jesus loves you. [Yah-SOO-ah yoh HEH-back]

Do you know Jesus? [Hahl-tah-reef yah-SOO-ah]

My name is ___. [IS-mih ___.]

Thank you [SHOO-krahn]

Torchlighters DVDs tell stories of real-life Christian heroes from the past. Click here to see part of an Arabic version of the Torchlighters DVD The Gladys Aylward Story.


Suzanis from Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan
Click the image to open the coloring page

In the past, girls in Uzbekistan prepared for marriage by making decorations for their future home. Families encouraged their sons to marry a girl who could sew well and work hard.

Suzanis are one kind of embroidered decoration girls learned to make. One suzani could take as long as 18 months to finish. The design on the suzani identified the part of Uzbekistan where it was made. Today more girls go to school and do not have as much time to sew. Shops in Uzbekistan sell suzanis made by both men and women.