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Afghanistan: New Life Brings Risks

Afghanistan

New Drivers
Change comes slowly in Afghanistan, but new things are starting to happen in the Muslim nation.

For many years only Afghan men drove cars. Radical Taliban Muslims ruled Afghanistan until 2001, and the Taliban forced women to cover themselves from head to toe in long robes called “burqas.” (See the photo at left.) It is not possible to see well enough to drive safely in a burqa.

Delawar, an Afghan driving teacher, had only one woman student at his school in five years. But now many women are signing up for lessons. He has taught 60 women to drive in the past six months.

Afghan women drivers still have many struggles. Some men don’t think women should drive. The men sometimes stare or yell at women drivers or block them from moving by parking in front of them.(Source: Independent News, 1-15-05)

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Laos: U.S. Student Visit

Laos

Obstacles
In Laos, the official language is Lao, but more than 90 different languages are spoken. With all the different languages, teaching people about Jesus can be very difficult!

Two groups of people who speak different languages are the Khmu and the Hmong (pronounced “kmoo” and “mong”). We praise God that many Khmu and Hmong people are following Jesus! But others are animists. Animists believe that spirits are in everything, and they fear the spirits. They do not understand, or have not been told, that the truth of the gospel sets people free from fears. (See John 8:32 and 1 John 4:18.)

The communist government of Laos tries to control the spread of the gospel. Christians are sometimes put in prison, just for believing in Jesus.

How will those who don’t know Jesus in Laos find out about Him with so many obstacles to the spread of the gospel? God is making ways.

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Russia: Is Communism Dead?

Russia

At the end of the 1980s, communism began to collapse all over Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. Before the collapse, communist governments had tried to destroy Christianity. They tore down churches, burned Bibles, made laws against teaching children about Jesus, and jailed Christians.

In communist Romania, brave Christian heroes found ways to spread the gospel to communists who did not believe in God. Some Christians threw Gospel booklets through the windows of moving trains carrying communist soldiers. Soldiers seeking the truth grabbed the Gospels and quickly hid them under their uniforms before their leaders caught them.

Many Romanian Christians were put in prison for sharing the gospel. Two of them, Richard and Sabina Wurmbrand, later escaped Romania and started The Voice of the Martyrs (VOM). VOM helped, and still helps, Christians in the communist countries of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.

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Uzbekistan: Standing Firm in a Muslim Land

Uzbekistan

Ruth, a 10-year-old Christian, lives in a country in Central Asia. She is shown in the photo with a worker from The Voice of the Martyrs (VOM). The worker is sharing notes with Ruth from Christians who are praying for her. Ruth speaks Russian and a little bit of three other languages. Her favorite game is hopscotch, and she loves to sing and read.

Ruth’s father is the pastor of a church that meets in Ruth’s house. Most of the people in Ruth’s town are Muslims. Some of them learned the truth about Jesus from Ruth’s family. But other Muslims were angry when the church began to grow.

Very late one night, someone started a fire in Ruth’s backyard. They set the fire on purpose. Whoever started it was probably trying to stop Ruth’s father from preaching the truth.

The fire spread to the house church, and then it was put out. In the morning, church members began to rebuild the church and repair the damage.

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Colombia: Trapped in Violence

Celso and his three Christian friends arrived at the camp at noon. A group of camp residents met them. Celso gave each member of the group a Bible and a radio. He had more gifts with him for others at the camp.

Not everyone at the camp was happy with the presents. They were not used to getting gifts, and unexpected visitors did not often show up in the area.

Celso and his friends had bravely dropped in on some guerrillas at their camp in the Colombian jungle. Guerrillas are people who carry out illegal acts of war and terrorism.

Many of the guerrillas in Colombia are part of a group called “FARC” (rhymes with “dark”). The letters in FARC stand for the Spanish words “las Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia.” In English, that means “the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.” FARC members are not part of a regular army.

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