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“Jesus Is the Link”

Kids of Courage VBS

Shelley S., the Sunday school director at a church in North Carolina, wrote VOM a letter about her church’s Kids of Courage Vacation Bible School this summer. The VBS curriculum teaches kids about Christians in five countries.

“I painted a map of each country for the children to get a perspective of its location,” Shelley wrote. (See the photo.) “My husband made a ‘jail cell’ using PVC pipes. At the jail cell, we took pictures of each child in remembrance of this particular VBS and its meaning. [The Kids of Courage VBS curriculum provides instructions for constructing a “jail cell” and suggestions for using it to help students “remember them that are in bonds” (Hebrews 13:3).]

“The country speakers, crafts, and snacks, along with the songs, blended well together. [At] our Sunday morning presentation … we made a ‘chain’ of all the countries and gave a brief explanation of each one. I love that we are all part of this chain, which cannot be broken as Jesus is the link that holds it (us) together, to pray for and encourage one another.

“May God richly bless you and all of The Voice of the Martyrs, in all places.”


Closer Bonds Through Service

Shiloh and Natasha

What are some of the ways you grow closer to your friends? Do you play together, visit fun places, or watch DVDs? Have you ever tried working together on a project to benefit someone else?

Illinois homeschool student Shiloh D. wrote to The Voice of the Martyrs about her Classical Conversations group’s yard sale to raise money for VOM’s Village Outreach Kits. The kits help Christian workers in countries where Christians are persecuted.

“Working, visiting, and helping each other through this experience has created a closer bond deepening our friendships,” Shiloh said. She told how all the members of the group helped. “AJ offered to let us use his yard, and Tori made arrangements for an accompanying bake sale. The rest of us looked through our things for items [to sell]. Isaac helped move heavy objects. Nellie, Natasha, Tori, [and I] ran the checkout table in addition to making baked goods and sugar scrubs to sell. Nathan and AJ helped advertise. Mellissa placed a Bible on the checkout table with a sticker stating ‘free.’” [A woman later took the Bible, saying that she had lost hers the previous night in a house fire.]

Shiloh added some encouraging thoughts for others who may want to do a similar project. “We are just normal teenagers; there is nothing super special about us….All of us are under 16 and most of us don’t even know for sure what we want to be when we grow up….So, you are never too young, or too shy, or just too normal for God’s use. We are all too weak to do anything on our own, but the God we serve can move mountains. God can also use you to do incredible things if you just allow Him to.”

Village Outreach Kits
In some countries where Christians are persecuted, pastors and teachers do not have the materials they need for teaching others about God, Jesus, and the Bible. Village Outreach Kits include:
Bibles
Christian tracts
DVD players
Projectors
Study materials
More resources

Shiloh’s class raised enough money for 12 complete kits for Christian workers. The workers will be able to share the good news with hundreds of people who do not know Jesus!
Parents and Teachers: Watch upcoming VOM newsletters for future opportunities to sponsor Village Outreach Kits. You can subscribe to the free newsletter here.


United States: Radically Changed

A previous post this week told about an eighth grade class at a Christian school in Virginia. Their teacher, Heidi S., used The Voice of the Martyrs’ Global Prayer Guide in their geography class this year. The students learned about the countries listed in the guide and prayed for persecuted Christians there.

“As a class, they have created what they call ‘The Martyr’s Prayer Wall,’” Heidi said. “I printed out blank maps of each country. Each child wrote a prayer for that country on the map. They used the guides to determine the greatest needs of the persecuted people in each country and based their prayers on that. The maps are hung around the top of the classroom.

“In the front of the room, hanging with the maps, is a sign that says, ‘I will be the voice for those who have none.’ Each child has signed their name on it as a commitment to pray. The lives of these 18 children have been radically changed. Their prayer today was simply that the persecuted church would somehow know that they are not forgotten and that they are loved.”

Update
“Many [students] have asked what they can do since they’re all only 13-14 years old,” Heidi said. “Yet, just today I had several who came in saying everyone in their family is now using the [VOM] prayer app, another one said they’re going to sponsor a front-line worker, many families have decided to send Bibles, and many are using their prayer guides as part of a family prayer time, praying for one country every night. I pointed out that none of that would be happening if they hadn’t shared what they were learning with their families, so keep sharing.”

To Think About
Who can you tell about the needs of persecuted Christians around the world?

What country can you pray for today?


Unexpected Visitor

Nigeria

Sixteen-year-old Lailah S. wrote a story about an unexpected event that happened during her homeschool social studies lesson.

Read her story below.

Christian: The Man from Nigeria
By Lailah S.

In a kitchen in north central Georgia, three homeschooling women used Kids of Courage [materials] as their social studies curriculum for their seven children. That particular day while they were studying Nigeria, a man showed up to repair the refrigerator.

The women and their children were preparing to make the West African dish “chin chin.” As the women discussed the dish, the repairman overheard and, with an astonished and disbelieving air, asked them how they knew about chin chin. The women responded that [this was part of] their social studies lesson.

Every second more surprised, the man said his name was Christian, and that he had come to America as a child, and had grown up eating that dish. Christian asked how the women had found it. The women explained to him what Kids of Courage was. Christian was open to questions, and answered many as to the weather, the language, the food, the religion, and the culture in Nigeria. He also taught the children a few words in his native tongue. He commended the women for learning about Christians in other cultures.

As he left, he implored the woman who owned the house to request him as a repairman if her refrigerator ever needed maintenance again, emphasizing to her that he would love to come back.

Read the next post to find the chin chin recipe the families used.
Click here to read more about Christians in Nigeria.


How do North Korean Christians Pray?

North Korea
A secret meeting in North Korea

In North Korea, it is against the law to choose to follow Jesus or to own a Bible. A listener on VOMRadio.net asked the following questions.

  • In a country like North Korea, how do Christians pray?
  • How do they gather together?
  • What is a worship service like in North Korea?

Todd Nettleton, host of VOM Radio, asked Rev. Eric Foley the listener’s questions. Rev. Foley is the leader of VOM Korea.

Rev. Foley: A lot of ideas we have about North Koreans hiding under a blanket to read the Bible or sneaking out of their homes at night aren’t exactly accurate. And the reason why is that everyone in North Korea is required to spy on homes that are near their own.

Things like hiding under a blanket or sneaking out of your home would make the neighbors suspicious. So when things like that happen it is usually on the border of North Korea.

North Koreans who are in the interior of North Korea who have been Christians for generations actually worship very differently. They have developed ways of worship that they can do even when people who are not Christians are watching.

One of the ways is that underground [secret] believers pray with their eyes open. They look at the person they are with as if they are having a conversation with that person. And instead of referencing God, for example, they use a phrase like “Dear Leader.” [“Dear Leader” is a title used for the former leader of their country, who is now dead. In this case, Christians are using the title to talk secretly about God.]

So instead of bowing their heads and closing their eyes, they might look at the person sitting next to them and say, “I am so concerned about Sister Kim, who is sick. But I am thankful that our Dear Leader will show special care for her as she needs love and attention.” That would be how underground Christians pray.

The way that they have worship services is on a family level. People in the same family worship together. But people from different families typically do not gather together for worship in North Korea.

(Source: VOMRadio.net. Edited and paraphrased for length and clarity.)

Rev. Foley’s book about Christians in North Korea, These Are the Generations, is available at VOM Books.

Enter “North Korea” in the Search box on this site to find more stories about North Korean Christians.


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