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John, a Living Sacrifice

When Peter saw [John], he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?” Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!” So the saying spread abroad among the brothers that this disciple was not to die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he was not to die, but, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?” John 21:21-23

A false rumor spread among the followers of Jesus that Jesus’ disciple John would never die.
According to tradition, enemies tried to kill John on more than one occasion, but he survived by the grace of God. The Roman Emperor Domitian then sent him to Patmos, an island where Roman leaders sent people who had beliefs that didn’t agree with the main Roman religion.

After Domitian died, John returned to Ephesus, where he lived until his death two years later. John did die more peacefully than Jesus’ other disciples. But he didn’t live a peaceful life. His life was a “living sacrifice.”

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God….Romans 12:1

Why are Christians a living sacrifice?
Christians give their lives completely to God because He saved us from sin and death. (See John 3:16.)
How can we be a living sacrifice?
We are living sacrifices when we follow in the footsteps of Jesus.
How do we follow in the footsteps of Jesus?
We follow in the footsteps of Jesus when we obey His teachings and seek to be like Him.

Parents and Teachers
The Witnesses Trilogy includes three animated, feature-length films that cover the time from the birth of Jesus through the birth of the early church, told from the viewpoint of John. Following in Christ’s footsteps, early Christians spread God’s message to the ends of the earth while facing pressures and persecution from every side.

Learn more here.

Find a Following His Footsteps craft here.

Kids in Jail


Police in Somalia recently put a mother and father in jail. And they put the couple’s two children in jail with them! One of the children is a two-month old baby.

The police said, “[The couple] should be fully aware that they won’t escape the hand of law enforcement officers and that the spread of Christianity will not be allowed.” Now other Christian families are concerned that they might be arrested, too. Some have fled the country.

The Voice of the Martyrs sponsors safe house where Christians can take refuge from people pursuing them. The safe house has been overwhelmed with new families seeking safety.

Read more about life for Christians in Somalia and how to pray for them here.

Photo: Muslims in Somalia. Muslims in some countries believe that women and girls should be well covered. Learn more in the book Learning About Islam, available in the free Downloads section.

The Gospel in a Taxi

(Source: VOM Australia)

Some of the best evangelists in Iran are taxi or Uber drivers. (An evangelist is someone who spreads the gospel of Jesus. Most of the people in Iran are Muslims and many have not heard about God’s love for them.)

Two Passengers
One day, an Iranian taxi driver picked up a husband and wife who both worked in a hospital. The man and woman sat in the back seat talking about how bad the COVID situation is. They were tired, stressed, and frustrated. Soon they began saying that they were angry with God about the virus.

The driver listened patiently and then gently offered his thoughts. He agreed that the country is in a sad and difficult situation. But he told them he has peace and hope in the midst of the trouble. He talked about how he knows God as a God of love, compassion, and peace.

Seeing Things in a New Light
The driver probably earned less money on his taxi-driving job that day. He spent three hours explaining the truth about God, Jesus, and the Bible to the passengers. Then the couple trusted in Jesus as their Savior!

The driver gave them a Bible and kept in touch with them. He found out that they share the gospel on their job now, offering a Bible to everyone they talk to and praying for them. (See the photo above.)

To Do
*Praise God for the taxi driver’s faithfulness in sharing the gospel! Ask Him to strengthen the new Christian couple in their faith.
*With a family member or classmate, role play what you would say if someone told you that they were scared about the coronavirus or another situation. Ask a mature Christian to help you prepare an answer. (Read 1 Peter 3:15.)

Ten Sports from Around the World

Read about the 10 sports below. Then enter the name of a country where they are played in the Search box to learn more about life for Christians in those countries. Find ways to pray for the countries in The Voice of the Martyrs’ Global Prayer Guide.

Buzkashi is a favorite sport in Afghanistan. It is a difficult and dangerous sport played by two teams on horseback. As in football, the players try to get control of an object and take it to a scoring area. But the object is not a ball; it’s a dead, headless goat or calf. Players compete to win money and prizes, and some fans dream of seeing the sport played in the Olympics someday.

Langdi is a traditional game from India. Would you like to try it? Here are the basic rules. Two teams play on a square field. Players from one team stand in the square. The other team sends one player at a time into the square. That player must hop on one foot. Whoever is touched by the hopping player is out of the game. If the hopper puts his raised foot down, he is out and the teams change positions. The game is over when all the players on one team are out.

Kabaddi is another popular sport in India. The rules are similar to the rules of langdi. But in kabaddi, the “raider” who enters the opposing team’s territory must repeat the word “kabaddi” [kah-buh-dee] over and over as he tags players. His goal is to tag as many players as possible—all in one breath. If he takes a second breath, he is out of the game.

Children in Nepal play dhandi-biu [DAHN-dee byoo]. The equipment for the game includes a long, flat stick and a large seed or small stick. The seed (or small stick) is placed on the ground. A player hits the end of the seed with the long stick, flipping the seed into the air. When the seed flies up, the player then taps it lightly into the air two or more times with the long stick. On the last hit, the player hits the seed as far away as he can.

Cricket is somewhat like baseball. (See the photo above.) It is played mostly in countries that are British territories or used to be British territories. The bat looks a little like a boat oar. The fielders do not wear gloves. Unlike in baseball, after the “bowler” (pitcher) throws the ball, it may hit the ground and bounce up to the “batsman” (batter) before it is hit.

Kho Kho
Kho kho was invented in India. It is a form of tag played on a field between two teams. One team is the chasers and the other is the defenders. They switch roles after seven minutes. The team that tags out the defenders the quickest wins.

Chinlone is the national sport of Burma. Players stand in a circle. They try to keep a rattan ball (see the photo) in the air for as long as possible. The players may kick the ball up or pass it to another player with their feet or knees, but not with their hands.

Jaegi [JAY-ghee] is a Korean game similar to hacky sack. You can find instructions for making a jaegi here.

Netball is played in many countries, including Malaysia and Tanzania. It is a popular sport for women and girls. As in basketball, two teams try to shoot the ball through a hoop. But players do not dribble the ball. They may take only one step while holding the ball, and they must pass it to another player within a few seconds. Defenders who are trying to stop a player from shooting must stay at least three feet away from the player with the ball. The goal has no backboard.

Tent Pegging
According to legends from long ago, soldiers in some parts of the world had an unusual way of attacking enemy camps. While racing through the camp on horseback, the soldiers speared the pegs holding up their enemy’s tents, causing the tents to collapse. Perhaps that is how the sport of tent pegging began.

In modern tent pegging, players on horseback compete to see who can best draw a wooden block out of the ground with a sword or lance and carry it across a field. The sport is played in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and other countries.

Safe to Ask Questions

Todd Nettleton of VOM Radio recently talked to Brother Mark, a Christian worker in North Africa and the Middle East, where most people are Muslims. One way his ministry reaches Muslims with the Good News of Jesus is through the Internet.

Todd asked Brother Mark how things are going in his countries since the coronavirus began. Read some of Mark’s answers below. (Edited for length and clarity.)

Brother Mark said:

The coronavirus has affected our region in a very intense way. I even have two brothers who have been affected badly, but they are OK now.

Asking Questions
But parts of our ministry have really expanded in amazing ways, especially in our Internet ministry. People fear the coronavirus. They start to ask, “What would happen if I passed away? Which [religion] is right?”

Muslims often can’t ask questions like that directly or in front of other Muslims. Now they think, “I have the opportunity to be by myself and ask any questions of anybody [online] and nobody will stop me.” One of our leaders said [Muslims] are more interested in asking questions [about Christianity] online than offline.

Also, the [Muslim] government encourages the Internet in amazing ways. They want to keep the people busy online instead of putting pressure on the government to reopen the country.

To Talk About
*Why are Muslims in some places spending more time seeking the truth about Christianity online?
*How are Muslim governments helping spread the Good News of Jesus?
*Read the chart here. What is one difference in Muslim and Christian beliefs about heaven?