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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.


Summer Activity 3: Martyr Testimonies

Children in North Korea
North Korean children

The previous two posts told about activities led by youth pastor Rusty R. from Illinois. Read about another of the group’s activities below.

Youth leaders rewrote 12 stories from The Voice of the Martyrs resources putting them in the first person.

[For example, one Kids of Courage blog post began, “One day Sung Mi, a 12-year-old girl in North Korea, discovered something scary.” In the first person it would begin, “My name is Sung Mi. I am from North Korea. I was 12 years old when this happened. This is my story.]

Leaders at the camp memorized the stories and recited them aloud to the campers as if they were the person in the story. At the end of each story, the reader would say, “My name is ______. I am honored to be a servant of Jesus.”

The leaders allowed three minutes after each story for the campers to reflect on the story. They read four stories every night for three nights. “It was even more powerful for the adult leaders who portrayed the Christians than for the students,” Rusty reported.

(Edited and adapted from the original for space and age-appropriateness.)


Summer Activity 2: Romans and Christians at Camp

Painting

The previous post told about Christian campers who learned about persecution at an adventure camp led by youth minister Rusty R. Read below about another one of their activities.

Romans and Christians Game
The campers played a game at night to illustrate persecution endured by the early church. The leaders set a time limit at the start of the game. The object of the game was for there to be more Christians hiding with the light (a symbol of Christ) than in jail when the time expired.

The game required:

  • Several adult jail guards
  • Several roaming “Roman” adult guards carrying pool noodles as “swords”
  • An adult Christian with a flashlight decorated to look like a candle
  • Student players
  • A safe outdoor space with places to hide
  • An area designated as the “jail”

The adult with the light hid outside. The campers tried to find the adult with the light and to join them in their hiding place as they “found the light.” If the students were caught by the guards, they had to go to the area designated as the jail. If they were caught with the adult with the light, the adult ran off to find another hiding place.

The only way to get out of the jail was to witness to the guards by quoting Scriptures and singing worship songs. If they found favor with the guards (showing that the guards were “converted”), the guards released them, and they tried to find the Christian with the light. The guards remained at the jail to take care of newly-arriving prisoners.


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