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More News from Iran

Saudi Arabia

Iran used to be called Persia. The body of water between Iran and Saudi Arabia is commonly known as the Persian Gulf. But most Arab countries call it the Arabian Gulf. In 2010, Iran threatened to ban or seize airplanes of any airline flying over Iran that called the gulf the Arabian Gulf.

Now some Iranians are upset again because the Internet site Google Maps left out the name of the gulf entirely. A government spokesman in Iran said Google is “fabricating lies.”

Lawyer Arrested

Pastor Youcef is a prisoner in Iran because he protested a government rule that said children must study the Quran in school. The Quran is the Muslim holy book. Pastor Youcef, a Christian, did not want his 8 and 9 year old sons to be forced to study the book. (You can read more about Pastor Youcef at

Recently Pastor Youcef’s lawyer was reportedly sentenced to nine years in prison for “acting against national security.” Now other lawyers may be afraid to help Pastor Youcef, fearing they might be imprisoned.

Two Million Scriptures

Chinese boy with a Bible

People who support The Voice of the Martyrs’ projects make it possible for VOM to deliver Bibles and New Testaments into countries where Scriptures are not easy to get. During two recent years, VOM distributed a total of more than 2 million Bibles!

How much is 2 million? A gardening website says that the average square foot of lawn has 3,000 blades of grass in it. So 667 square feet would, on average, contain about 2,001,000 blades of grass, just a little over 2 million. Measure off a 22-foot by 30-foot grassy area to form a 660-square foot space.

Pick up a blade of grass from the space to represent one person who has received a Bible or New Testament. Look at all the other blades left in the measured-off area. They represent people who now also have Scriptures they can read for themselves. Many also share their Bibles with others.


Ropes, Tarps, and Poles Form a Church in Indonesia

Setting up a tent in Indonesia

Police in Indonesia sealed a church in Indonesia and would not let the members enter. So the congregation met for worship beside the road in front of the church. “The pastors who brought the sermons spoke about loving those who hate you,” said a church member. The church continued meeting outside for more than a year.

“When it looked like we would have rain on our church service, we used ropes, plastic tarps, and bamboo poles,” one church member said. “We would tie the big plastic tarps to the fence and run the ropes through the door handles of cars, making a big tent where we could worship. Then our photocopied hymn sheets would not get wet.”

Fact: Indonesia is the most populated Muslim nation in the world.

To Try: To make a “pole church,” tie or tape the corners of a sheet to four long poles. Secure them with rubber bands. Anchor each pole through the supports on a chair. Tape one end of each pole to a chair leg. Sit under the sheet and sing Christian songs as the Indonesian Christians do in their outdoor church. Pray for Christians in Indonesia.

Kids of Courage Get Prepared

In the Bible, God says that those who follow his Son Jesus will have trouble sometimes. Kids of Courage trust God to help them in hard times. Kids of Courage get prepared so they will be ready when hard times come.

One way to get prepared is to pray every day. If you have a habit of praying about what’s going on in your life, prayer will come naturally to you in times of trouble. Another way to get prepared is to read the Bible to find out what men and women of God do when they have problems. You can also read stories about missionaries and others who follow God even when life is difficult.

Kids of Courage can get prepared by memorizing Bible verses. Many Christians are comforted by reciting verses when they are sick, lonely, can’t sleep at night, or are even when they are in prison. I Corinthians 16:13 is a verse that encourages people to stay strong in their faith.

Make a “Refugee Shelter”

Guerrillas in Colombia sometimes force Christians out of their homes. The Christians move to refugee camps, where they live in simple shelters made of sticks, trees, and dirt, with bed sheets for walls and sheets of plastic for roofs. Some shelters are nothing more than four long sticks and a sheet.

Needed: 4 long poles, 1 bed sheet, 4 chairs
To make a “refugee shelter,” tie or tape each corner of a bed sheet to one end of a long pole about the size of a broomstick. Stand the poles upright, tape the other end of each pole to the leg of a chair, and spread the four chairs apart so that the sheet forms a roof. Eat a Colombian snack or pray for Colombian Christians as you sit in the shelter.