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445 Days in Prison

Petr (left) with another prisoner

One night, Petr Jasek had a troubling dream. In the dream, he was locked in a prison. He saw the prison door shut, and he heard the lock click into place.

Petr was still thinking about the dream the next morning at church. A friend even noticed that he looked upset and asked him what was wrong.

The Dream Comes True
Shortly before Christmas about two years later, Petr was at an airport preparing to leave Sudan. As part of his job with The Voice of the Martyrs, he had been meeting with Sudanese Christians to discover how VOM could help them.

Suddenly an airport security officer tapped him on the shoulder. Authorities took away his camera and laptop, and questioned him for almost 24 hours. They knew about his Christian work in Sudan. But they falsely accused him of spying and other crimes, then they put him in prison at 1:30 in the morning.

At the Sudanese prison, Petr was amazed to see the same prison door and to hear the same lock clicking that he had seen and heard in his dream! The memory assured him that God had known what would happen to Petr in advance, and that He was in control.

Unfriendly Cellmates
Petr’s cellmates were sleeping on the floor when he arrived. They squeezed closer together to give Petr a small space to sleep. The next morning, they asked him for news from the outside world. He told them about an attack on innocent people in Paris by radical ISIS Muslims. When they heard the news, the prisoners jumped up and shouted for joy. Petr realized that his new roommates were also radical Muslims.

Day by day, the Muslims grew harsher toward Petr. They called him “filthy pig” or “filthy rat,” and they hit him when he didn’t answer to the insulting names. Petr prayed to be released.

A New Purpose
One night, 14 new prisoners from Eritrea were stuffed into Petr’s cell. Petr shared his testimony with them and told them the good news of Jesus. Two of them decided to follow Christ!

“From that day forward, I dedicated my prison time to the Lord,” Petr said. “I prayed, ‘If You will allow me opportunities to share the gospel, I will stay here as long as You want!’ I even stopped praying that I would be released from prison.”

Note: Petr was released after 14 months in prison, and he returned home to his family in the Czech Republic.

To Talk About
*If you were in prison for your Christian activities, what would you want Christians on the outside to pray for you?
*Why did Petr stop praying to be released from prison?
*Think of a task or chore that you don’t like to do. How could God use you in that situation to help you know Him better or to be a blessing to others?
*Petr met 14 new people in prison. They stayed in his cell for less than a day. Ask two or three people to act as newcomers and to role play the situation with you. What would you tell people about Jesus if you had only a short time with them?


“I Was a Beast”

A girl in India

The Voice of the Martyrs USA is part of a worldwide family of missions that were started through the influence of Pastor Richard Wurmbrand. SDOK is VOM’s sister mission in the Netherlands. Stef is SDOK’s children’s publication and website.

The following story comes from Stef magazine.

Hi, my name is Azra. I live in India and come from a normal family. At least I thought I came from a normal family. One day I discovered scary things. I will try to tell my story.

Religion
First, I have to explain that the oldest religion in the world, Hinduism, started in India. That’s why all the people in India are Hindu. To be honest, ALMOST all the people.

We were Hindu ourselves. I remember that my dad was always complaining about people who are not Hindu. In our neighborhood, there were people who called themselves Christians. I had no idea what kind of people they were. But my father did.

“They are bad,” he said. “The reason why there are so many sick people these days is because of the Christians. Yuk. I hate them,” he often said.

Attack!
At first my dad only complained about the Christians. But it gradually got worse. He started calling them names and wished all kinds of bad things for them. One day, he was in one of those moods again.

Then I heard shouting outside. It was a large group of young men and they had all kinds of weapons with them — knives, sticks, and even guns. I was scared. The men ran into our house and shouted at my father, “Will you join us? We are going to attack a Christian village. We will teach them a lesson!”

Right away, my dad joined their group.

Blood
It was already evening when my father returned. It was dark, but I’m sure of what I saw. He had blood on his pants and his shirt. In the following days, I thought my dad was different; he was much quieter.

Sick
I think it was about a week later when my mom and sister got very sick. My father made sacrifices to the gods, but nothing helped. After a few days, my father grew desperate.

“It’s my fault,” he said. “We are cursed. I have beaten innocent Christians and burned their houses and destroyed their churches. I acted like a beast.”

Help
After that, my father put his sandals on and said, “I’m going to get help. I have heard that Christians pray when you are sick. I’m going to them and ask for forgiveness.”

The Pastor
That same evening, a pastor came to our house. He read beautiful things from a big Book and then got down on his knees. We also knelt down.

The pastor prayed for us, and my big strong father prayed, too. He promised he would never persecute Christians again. When I opened my eyes, for the first time I saw a dad who had joy on his face.

Peace
The next day, Dad said he had had a special dream. In the dream, he saw all the Christians he had persecuted standing in a circle in our room. They prayed for us to have healing and peace. It was so special!

My mom and sister were healed the next day, and on Sunday we went to church. Not long after, our whole family was baptized.

So that was my story, and I’m very glad that we have learned a lot about the Lord Jesus.

Good bye.

Prayer and Thanks
*The people in Azra’s village think it’s strange that her family are Christians and do not want anything to do with them. Pray that the villagers also get to know Jesus.

*Thank God for Christians who forgive their persecutors. And thank God that Azra’s father no longer persecutes Christians, but that he and his family became followers of Jesus.

(Source: SDOK. Translated and edited. To protect their identities, the names of some of the people on this website and some identifying details have been changed.)


Ten Facts About Life for Christians in Sudan

Sudanese girls

Parents and Teachers: The July 2017 issue of The Voice of the Martyrs newsletter includes stories about courageous Christians in Sudan. To subscribe to the free monthly newsletter, visit our subscription signup page. As you read the newsletters, you may want to share stories from this site with your children. Then pray together for the people in the stories.

1.    Since 2012, the government of Sudan has dropped 4,000 bombs on Christians and others in the Nuba Mountain region of Sudan. Do the math: Is that more or less than one bomb a day? Watch a video of children in Sudan hiding from danger.

2.    Four of the most dangerous places to be in the Nuba Mountains are church buildings, schools, hospitals, and fields of crops. Bombers target the shiny roofs of buildings and crops that produce food.

3.    Christians continue to worship and encourage each other. Watch a video that tells what some Sudanese Christians did after their church was bombed.

4.    Only two doctors and three medical facilities are left to help more than one million people in the Nuba Mountain region. One of the medical facilities is a tent.

5.    The Voice of the Martyrs brings medical aid and medicines to the people.

6.    Thirteen VOM staff members have traveled to the war zones. One of them, Petr Jasek, was jailed for 445 days because of his Christian work in Sudan. Read more about Petr.

7.    VOM also brings Action Packs and other aid to the area. Watch videos about Action Packs here and here.

8.    Some Sudanese Christians feel forgotten. VOM’s visits are as important as the gifts they bring. “We don’t look at what you’re carrying,” said a Sudanese pastor, “but how often you come.”

9.    Sudanese Christians have a request. “Please tell the American church to pray for us,” said a patient at a VOM-supported clinic. “And also don’t forget us.”

10.    Sudanese Christians share aid they receive with their neighbors, even Muslim neighbors. Some Muslims are opening their minds and hearts to Jesus. “The Muslims in the region are so open to the gospel right now,” said VOM’s Africa Regional Director, Sean Paton. “All the support they receive is coming from Christians.”


Stories from the Past: Joy in Jail

Chinese girl

Pastor Richard Wurmbrand started The Voice of the Martyrs in 1967. VOM has helped and encouraged persecuted Christians for 50 years. Pastor Wurmbrand told the story below more than 25 years ago.

Where: China
When: 1990

One afternoon, I heard a young girl in a prison cell near mine crying. “I don’t like it here!” she said as she cried.

The girl, Joy, was about 5 years old. She and her mother, Mrs. Lee, had just arrived at the jail. Mrs. Lee had spoken out against the government for arresting her pastor. She was rewarded for her loyalty with a prison sentence.

“Don’t cry, Dear,” I heard Mrs. Lee tell the girl. “Jesus will take care of us.” But Joy continued to weep.

“What’s going on?” I heard another prisoner say. “What is such a young kid doing here? What have you done?” she demanded of Mrs. Lee.

Mrs. Lee quietly explained her situation. Other prisoners in nearby cells scolded her. “I think you’re a bad mother!” one said. Even the prison director came to the cell and tried to get Mrs. Lee to deny her faith and speak out against her pastor. “Give up!” he told her. “Then you and your child can go free!”

Mrs. Lee sounded miserable. But finally she agreed to stand in front of a crowd gathered outside the police station and say, “I am no longer a Christian.”

Later other prisoners told me what happened after Mrs. Lee and Joy went home. “Jesus is not happy with you,” Joy had said to her mother when they were safe in their house.

“Joy, you cried in jail. I had to say I was no longer a Christian because I love you,” her mother had answered.

“But I don’t want Jesus to be sad,” Joy said to her mother. “If we go back to jail, I will not cry.”

Mrs. Lee hurried to the prison director. She told him, “You talked me into saying wrong things so my daughter could be free. But she is braver than I am! She is a Christian, and so am I. Do what you want to with us. We are ready.”

Mrs. Lee and Joy came back to the prison. But Joy no longer cried.

(Based on a story told by Pastor Richard Wurmbrand, the founder of The Voice of the Martyrs.)

How VOM Helped in the Past: Help for Families of Prisoners
The Voice of the Martyrs helped provide for Chinese Christians whose family members were in jail, and still provides for prisoners’ families today.

Pray
*Pray for Chinese Christians whose pastors are in jail.
*Some Chinese people seek riches. Pray that they will put God first.
*Many Chinese people follow no religion. Pray that they will know Christ.
*Some Chinese Christian children are insulted at school. Pray for them.
*Pray that Chinese Christians will not be afraid to share the gospel.


North Korea: Girl’s Mysteries Solved

North Korean girl

Parents and Teachers: The March 2017 issue of The Voice of the Martyrs newsletter features stories about bold North Korean believers. Please preview the stories before sharing them with your children or class. Or share stories from this site, like the one below, with your children; then pray together for the people in the stories.  (Subscribe to the newsletter here.)

One night, five police officers burst into a two-room home in North Korea. Sixteen-year-old Hae-won and her family lived with her grandfathers in the tiny house. The police scattered the family’s belongings everywhere as they searched for — what?

“What could they be looking for?” Hae-won wondered.

After their rude search, the police ordered Hae-won’s grandfather’s arrest. But instead of taking her grandfather to prison, they took her father! In North Korea, entire families can be punished if the government doesn’t like the activities of one family member. After Hae-won’s father was imprisoned, the government sent Hae-won and the rest of her family to live in a mountain region far away.

Hae-won did not understand what was happening to her family. And there were other things she didn’t understand. Something unusual had happened when she was 10. She woke up in the middle of the night and found her grandfather sitting on the floor with his eyes closed. Was he talking to someone invisible? Hae-won didn’t know.

Sometimes she heard her grandfathers talk about “the Resurrection,” or “the Second Coming,” or “the Red Sea.”

“Silly old men talking nonsense,” she thought.

After Hae-won grew up and had a family of her own, she decided, like many North Koreans, to escape from her country. Conditions were harsh in North Korea, and often there was not enough food to eat.

Hae-won’s family faced many dangers and obstacles during their attempts to leave — they were even imprisoned for several months for trying to flee the country. Sadly, Hae-won’s husband died from the cruel treatment in the prison.

Solving Mysteries

Hae-won continued trying to get out. She finally succeeded in escaping to China, where a Christian invited her to church. Soon she trusted in Christ as her Savior. As Hae-won read the Bible and learned more about God, many mysteries were solved for her. She realized that her grandfather was praying to God when she discovered him in the middle of the night. He was a secret Christian! It was not legal to follow Jesus in North Korea, so Christians practiced their faith quietly.

Hae-won now understood that her grandfathers had not been talking nonsense, but were discussing the Bible. And the police had searched their home for a Bible. North Koreans can go to jail just for owning one.

Today Hae-won lives in South Korea. She teaches others who have escaped North Korea about Jesus. Many who leave North Korea also have childhood mysteries to solve.

Hae-won is thankful for her grandfather’s faithful secret prayers. She told VOM workers, “I realized that I came to Christ because of my grandfather’s prayers.”

(Source: VOM contacts. Edited for clarity, length, and age-appropriateness.)


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