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Youth in North Korea

North Korea
A North Korean youth looks at a map of North and South Korea

The North Korean government is very rough to any citizen who is discovered to be a Christian. Some Christians in North Korea leave the country to places like China or South Korea. VOM contacts talked with Christian youth who escape from North Korea and are now living in South Korea:

Question: Do you have family still in North Korea?

Answer: I have a big brother, but I don’t get to see him anymore. He still lives inside North Korea. People in North Korea and South Korea can’t talk to each other because the countries are separated. If I tried to contact him, the North Korea government would likely put him in prison as a punishment for my “crime” of leaving North Korea.

Question: What is it like to live as a Christian child in North Korea?

Answer:I have a memory from my time as a child in North Korea. I remember praying desperately to the Lord. As I look back in this, I was very happy. My happiness was not because God gave me what I asked for. It was because I knew I could pray to the Lord and He would listen.

I always had a little bit of fear as a Christian. I also felt satisfaction and joy, which are very rare in North Korea. But I knew something that others didn’t know. I knew that God existed, and that He was present right where I was.

I had always thought that being a Christian meant I could be happy, live well, and help other people. But then I realized that I would suffer if I followed Jesus.

If the North Korean government discovers you are a Christian, they will punish you and your family. I think that [Christian children in freer countries] must be very happy because they know God and can go to church freely with their parents. In North Korea we were not able to go to church with our family. Christian families have to worship secretly.

Question: What do people in North Korea eat?

Answer: When I lived in North Korea, many people were starving. The government did not give out food to the people.

There are many dogs in North Korea because people have to protect their homes from thieves. Starving people steal from anyone’s house. There are many orphans who steal things, too.

Question: What games do kids in North Korea like to play?

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Learning to Forgive

The Philippines

“Then God said to Jonah, ‘Is it right for you to be angry…?’ And he said, ‘It is right for me to be angry, even to death!’” (Jonah 4:9, NIV.)

Gracia Burnham was angry. A gang of violent Muslims had kidnapped her. Gracia did not even like to go camping. But the group forced Gracia and her husband Martin to live with them in the jungle. The jungle had no beds, bathrooms, stores, or air conditioning.

Gracia and Martin were missionaries in the Philippines. Before the men kidnapped them, Gracia homeschooled their three kids: Mindy, Zach, and Jeff. Martin, a pilot, flew mail and supplies to other missionaries in hard-to-reach places.

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Indonesian Love Story

Indonesia
Sini reading her Bible

Sini grew up in a Muslim family in Indonesia. When she was a child, she went to a party at her aunt’s house in another village. She met Ismail, a Christian boy, at the party. They became friends, even though Ismail was a Christian. After Sini returned to her village she and Ismail kept in touch by writing letters.

Sini was a devoted Muslim. Following Muslim customs, she prayed memorized Muslim prayers five times a day.

Several years after she met Ismail, Sini had a scary illness that caused her legs to become paralyzed. Her parents looked for people to heal her: they took her to doctors, who used medicine, and shamans, who used magic, but she remained unwell. In his letters to her, Ismail suggested that Sini pray in the name of Jesus.

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No Longer a Messenger of Hate

Colombia
Elmer before he was a Christian

Parents and Teachers: The May 2014 issue of The Voice of the Martyrs magazine features stories of front-line workers who serve God in the face of danger and persecution. To subscribe to the free monthly magazine, visit our subscription signup page. As you read the magazines, you may want to share similar stories from this site with your children. Then pray together for the people in the stories.

Elmer joined a group of guerrillas in Colombia when he was 13 years old. Guerrillas are people who carry out acts of war, even though they are not part of a regular army. The group that Elmer joined is called “FARC” (rhymes with “dark”).

FARC and other groups commit violent acts against each other as they try to get more power. They also have attacked Christians.

Elmer didn’t like Christians. He thought they were weak and powerless because they didn’t fight like the guerrillas. “I persecuted them, and I wouldn’t allow them to come together in their churches,” Elmer said.

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Laos Khmu Widows

Khmu children
Khmu children with Bible coloring pages

The Khmu are a tribe of people who live mostly in Southeast Asia. Traditionally the Khmu people are spirit worshipers, but many are becoming followers of Christ. Officials in some parts of Laos try to stop the spread of the gospel among the Khmu.

VOM received the following report from a Khmu Christian who shares the love of Jesus with other Khmu people in Laos.

“Many Khmu men become strong drinkers and heavy smokers before they trust in Jesus, which causes them a lot of health damage. That is why there are lots of Khmu men who die early and leave their wives and children.

“So there are many widows in the Khmu house churches. They are very strong believers and are trying to take care of themselves and their children.

“Many of them cannot send their children to school because they are so poor. But even though they are so poor, they are at the church services before anyone else with their children, even if their stomach may not have enough food.

“In one village there are more than six widows. They have only one radio. Every time a Khmu Christian program is on the radio, they all come together and really pay attention.

“When the speaker on the program says that he loves the widows, and that pastors should take care of widows according to the Bible, the women shout, ‘Hallelujah,’ and ‘Praise God!’”

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