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Erika and Gracia

Erika and Gracia

The Voice of the Martyrs Advance conferences share personal testimonies of God’s faithfulness in the midst of persecution. Gracia Burnham is a speaker at some of the conferences. Gracia and her husband, Martin, were missionaries in the Philippines. They were kidnapped by a gang of radical Muslims who took them into the jungle. The Burnhams lived with the kidnappers in harsh conditions for about a year.

Erika, a girl who attended a VOM conference and met Gracia, has been telling others what she learned. Read what Erika said below.

My name is Erika and I am 8 years old. I am also in the 2nd grade. On Saturday we went to Georgia and went to the VOM conference. There was a lot of people there. They sang a lot of songs and had a lot of speakers. The last speaker was Ms. Gracia. She was a very good speaker.

She went in the jungle and they laid on rice sacks, and one morning when she woke up there was a snake crawling out of her rice sack. She also found some old boots for her hurt feet, and she found anything she could find to put on her feet because the boots was not comfortable. She got shot in the leg when fighting was going on, and her husband got shot in the chest and died. She and her husband were both missionaries. I learned it is important to pray for those who are missionaries and all people all over the world. I also learned to pray for the persecuted.

(Edited for length and clarity.)

Learn more about VOM Advance conferences here.
Read a story about Gracia here, or in Bold Believers in the Philippines, available in the Download section.


Christmas Gifts for Persecuted Christians

Christmas Care Packs
Every year, The Voice of the Martyrs and Kids of Courage readers sponsor Christmas Care Packs for children in countries where Christians are persecuted. This year VOM will again be distributing Christmas Care Packs to children throughout some of the more than 60 nations where VOM works. The packs will be customized for each region. But all will include a backpack, school items, hygiene items like toothbrushes, and Christian books.

To find out how you can sponsor a pack, see The Voice of the Martyrs newsletter or visit this site.

Village Outreach Kits

Village Outreach Kits provide Bibles, other Christian materials, and DVD players for pastors and evangelists in countries where Christians are persecuted. Jan S., a Sunday school director, wrote a letter to The Voice of the Martyrs about a project at her church.

“We are a small church in Idaho that just began a new Sunday school program last fall,” Jan wrote. “The children have been saving their Sunday school offering to purchase a Village Outreach Kit. They were excited when we finally reached the [full amount] mark on our chart!

“We hope that this Outreach Kit will bring the comfort of Christ to those who are suffering and lost…. I am crying as I write this letter, and I think of those who risk their lives to take the good news of God’s love to those who may later die for Christ’s sake.

“We have been in ministry nearly 40 years but have never shared in the sufferings of Christ in that way. May God’s comfort and love and protection go with you!”


“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?