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The Perpetua Story

Elise Wixtrom writes reviews of VOM resources for readers of kidsofcourage.com. Enter “Elise” in the search box to read about Elise and to find more of her reviews. Read below her review of the Torchlighters DVD, The Perpetua Story. Torchlighters DVDs are available at vombooks.com.

[Preview is recommended before showing the DVD to younger children.]

Perpetua, a woman who lived in Roman times, just like Augustine,  became a Christian soon after she gave birth to her baby son. She was very young when she accepted Jesus Christ, but she became an active participant in the early church.

At that time, the Romans did not accept Christianity as a true religion. They instead wanted everyone to pledge allegiance to the emperor and to their gods. So they made it illegal to become a Christian. Anyone who professed to love Jesus was fed to wild animals. The Christians were shunned and hunted, as if they were not even people.

Perpetua took a great risk by becoming a Christian in this era. In fact, the danger of becoming a Christian was so great, the believers had to gather in homes under the veil of night. Still, the Roman army would come through the streets and raid the houses, looking for gatherings.
One night, Perpetua and her friend Felicity (who was a slave), were attending church just as usual, when the Roman army raided her pastor’s house. The soldiers arrested everyone who attended, including Perpetua and Felicity. The two women, Felicity’s husband, and Perpetua’s baby son were all thrown in jail. In the morning, they would be asked to burn incense to the emperor as a sign of loyalty.

Perpetua and her friends were afraid of what was going to happen to them in the future, so they prayed without stopping until they fell from exhaustion. As the Christians were sleeping, Christ Jesus came to Perpetua in a dream, where he handed her a cup and told her to drink. “This is a taste of sweet things to come,” he said. Perpetua knew then that she would go to be with the Lord soon.

When morning came, Perpetua told her friends about what had happened in the dream. “We will be delivered and go to the Lord as martyrs,” she explained. And they were all at peace.

When the time came, Perpetua and her friends were thrown to the wild animals because they refused to bow down and worship the emperor above God. Because of their faith and steadfast assurance that God would deliver them (even if that meant death), they became an example for all other Christians to follow. That is, they told the world that they would not back down when choices got hard. They told the Romans that they would not bow down to false gods. And they told the Church that God will not abandon you even if you feel like He has. As followers of Christ, they met their end with grace and love – and entered into a new beginning as bright as the morning sun.

Learn more and watch a clip from The Torchlighters: The Perpetua Story here.


Iran: God’s Help in a Dream

Dr. Mehrdad is a Christian leader from Iran, where most of the people are Muslims. He recently talked with VOM Radio about how fast the church in Iran is growing. With the growth of the church comes persecution. But God is faithful to encourage His people who suffer.

Dr. Mehrdad told the following story about an Iranian Christian who was taken to the police station several times and interrogated harshly. (To interrogate is ask someone many questions, sometimes using threats or violence.)

One night, the Christian started praying for his interrogator. Then God showed him in a dream an elderly lady who was very sick. In the dream, God asked the Christian to pray for this sick, elderly lady and said, “This is the mother of your interrogator, so pray for her.”

The Christian started praying for the woman every day. The next time he was taken for questioning, his interrogator was treating him very badly. The Christian felt something inside him saying, “Tell him, tell him.” If he was wrong and the interrogator didn’t have a sick mother, it would be very embarrassing. So he had to trust the voice inside him.

The Christian asked the interrogator, “How is your mom? How is your mother doing?”

The man said, “What business do you have with my mom? Why are you asking about my mother?”

The Christian answered, “God has shown your mother to me a few nights ago. She is very sick, and He asked me to pray for her. I have been praying for her.”

The interrogator was shocked and said, “Yes, my mom is really very sick. Please continue to pray for her.” As a result, the interrogator began to like the Christian, left him alone, and didn’t bother him anymore.

(Source: vomradio.net. Edited for length, clarity, and age-appropriateness.)

To Talk About
Why do you think the Christian began praying for the interrogator? (Read Matthew 5:43-48.) Have you ever prayed for someone who treated you badly?


Small Steps of Obedience

(To protect their identities, the names of some of the people on this website and some identifying details have been changed.)

Isaac is a school evangelist. He tells his classmates about the prophets in the Old Testament and about how their prophecies and promises predicted Jesus. He shares the gospel one person at a time, telling one story at a time. And he’s only in the second grade.

In the country where Isaac lives, most people are Muslims. Christians are often persecuted, and even Christian adults are very cautious about sharing their faith. Aaron is a VOM worker who visits the country. He said, “Almost every Christian I talked to spoke in very hushed tones, even inside their home.”

The adults have reason to be cautious. Isaac’s parents, Abraham and Sarah, had to move their family out of a village because Muslim neighbors were destroying their home and threatening them with harm. Abraham has returned to the village for visits. He feels sad when he sees his broken down house and the greenhouse where he raised cucumbers to earn money to support his family.

But Abraham is also joyful, because his family has stayed faithful to God, and his son bravely tells others about Jesus, even when teachers and other Muslim adults are listening. “It’s like my son has no fear,” Abraham told Aaron.

“The Lord was telling me,” said Aaron, ‘Don’t focus on the big. Don’t focus on the large movements or big numbers of people. Focus on how My kingdom is spreading in small steps of obedience, one at a time.’ [I saw that happening] even through a second grader on the playground of the school.”

(Source: vomradio.net. Edited for length, clarity, and age-appropriateness.)

To Think About
Can you think of one small step you could take to advance God’s kingdom?


Canadian Kids’ Prayer Calendar

A group of homeschool co-op kids in Canada have created an illustrated coloring book prayer calendar. The students, ages 10 to 14, started with the daily requests from the VOM-USA prayer calendar. They then added drawings, designs, flag and map outlines, and explanations of the meaning behind their artwork.

“As the … students learned concepts that affect persecuted Christians worldwide, their drawings formed this prayer calendar so that we remember to pray,” the calendar says.

You can download the calendar to print and color here.

Thanks to the Canadian students for sharing their calendar with us!

Note: You may notice that some of the words on the calendar have Canadian spellings, and some of the holidays shown are Canadian holidays.


Uganda: Adam’s Search

Adam

Seventeen-year-old Adam was searching for the truth. During his search, he found an online video about Jesus. He watched the video with his Muslim friends, but most of them walked out before it was over. Adam watched the whole movie.

Adam used to live in Somalia, but after radical Muslims killed his father, he escaped to Uganda with thousands of other Somali refugees. Though he was a Muslim, he had bad feelings about Islam after his father’s death. [Islam is the religion of Muslims.]

Adam’s older cousin found out about Adam’s search for the truth. The cousin sent him to a Muslim boarding school to make him a stronger Muslim. When that didn’t work, the cousin took Adam back to Somalia and left him there among Muslims to encourage him to remain a Muslim.

Adam escaped to Uganda again, and this time, he enrolled in a Christian high school. But he still did not want become a Christian. His search for the truth online and among friends continued.

Eleven years after his search began, Adam trusted Christ as his Savior. By that time, he was married and had a son. When his wife found out about his new faith, she said their marriage was over. “I am no longer your wife,” she said. “And you will never speak to your son again.” She later changed her mind, and she now lets Adam talk to his son by phone. But she says she will never accept Adam back, unless he returns to Islam.

Today Adam receives threats from Muslims. “God has my life,” he said. “And if He wants me to live, I will live.”

Do you think some students in Adam’s Christian high school continued to pray for him even after he left the school? If so, they may not know that God answered their prayers. Can you pray for others even if you may not know the results?

How can you pray for the following?
*Adam’s wife
*Adam’s son
*Adam’s persecutors
*Adam

(Source: The January 2019 The Voice of the Martyrs newsletter. Edited for length and age appropriateness.)