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“Love My Enemies? No thanks!”

The previous post told about Dan Baumann, a Christian worker who was imprisoned in Iran for nine weeks. He experienced the love and presence of Jesus helping him endure the harsh treatment.

But Jesus taught Dan another important lesson. “One day, I felt God spoke to my heart,” Dan said. “[God said] ‘Dan, I want to teach you to love your enemies.’ I remember thinking, ‘No, not now, thank you.’”

Every day, one of Dan’s captors hit him, Dan was not interested in loving the man. But he felt God saying to him, “Dan, ask me what I think of him.” Dan realized that God loved his attacker. So every day, he prayed, “God, change my heart.” Little by little, Dan’s heart began to change, and he began to care for his captor.

One day, Dan said to the man, “Sir, why don’t we become friends?” The man answered, “You are crazy! We will never be friends.” Dan asked his twice more, and said, “Let’s start by exchanging names.” And he reached out his hand to shake the man’s hand.

“It was then that he froze,” Dan said. “Then he starts looking around, and then he took his hand out of his pocket and shook my hand. He said, ‘I would love to be your friend.'” The two men told each other their names.

Then the man asked, “Is there anything you want in the prison?” Dan had been living in a 6-foot by 9-foot cell. He asked his new friend if he could have a bigger cell.

“I never saw that man again in my life,” Dan said. “But later the night guards came to my cell and said, ‘We have orders to move you to a bigger cell.’ I knew that God had changed the man’s heart.”

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

To Think About
At first, Dan was not willing for God to teach him to love his enemies, but he became willing to be made willing. He asked God to change his heart, and in turn, his obedience helped change his captor’s heart.

Is there anything that you know God wants you to do that you have been unwilling to do? Will you ask God to help you become willing?


Jesus in Prison

A teacher at a Christian school in Virginia recently wrote The Voice of the Martyrs and told what happened when she shared stories of persecuted Christians with her eighth grade class. “They were stunned, shocked, horrified, and moved,” the teacher said. Many openly cried as we read. One child said, ‘I don’t think I have that kind of faith.’

Do you ever think you might not have enough faith to withstand persecution?

Dan Baumann, a gospel worker with Youth with a Mission, recently talked with VOM staff about his time in prison in Iran. He was taken to prison after he talked about Jesus with Muslims. Every day, the prison guards treated him harshly, often beating him. Dan thought he could not put up with the bad treatment anymore. He wanted to give up.

He told what happened as he lay on the floor with no more strength to endure.

“In my broken state, I felt something and the room starts to shake. As it starts to shake I lifted my head from the floor. I had the normal lighting from the light bulb, but there was something very different. The room was a glorious white light, is how I can describe it.

“Then I had a vision, I have had a few visions in my life and this one was really clear. It was Jesus standing in front of me, like we might have seen in movies or in books. It was the same picture of Jesus standing in front of me, but what I saw was His face, which was filled with love, kindness, and caring. And then I felt His hands come underneath me, and I felt like God spoke right to my heart with loving words, ‘Dan, I love you and I promise I will carry you through this time.’

“In the midst of my brokenness, in the midst of me having nothing, God was still good and He met me and He gave me hope. I fixed my heart and mind on that, and with that came a growing reality that God was not only good, He was really, really, really good — like He was actually better than I thought.”

Dan was released after nine weeks in prison. He had lost 55 pounds during his imprisonment. Today he continues to serve God and to teach others about Jesus.

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


Helping Christians and Seekers in Uganda

Most of the people in Uganda are Christians. But in some Muslim areas of the country, Christians are persecuted. In those areas, “When a Muslim child or family converts to Christianity, they are no longer welcome at the school,” said a VOM worker. Sometimes people who become Muslims get special treatment from the local leaders.

The Voice of the Martyrs distributes Bibles in Uganda to strengthen Christians and to help those who are seeking the truth to find Jesus — the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6).

Watch the video clip from the Kids of Courage archives to see someone in Uganda who was very happy to receive a Bible from VOM.


Chiapas: Daniela and Her New Book

Copying Bible verses in Chiapas

Daniela had a beautiful new book. She brought the book to school, where it got a lot of attention from the other children. Many students asked if they could borrow it.

The book was a children’s Bible, and Daniela had received it from a man who distributes Bibles for The Voice of the Martyrs in Chiapas, Mexico.

(Learn more about Chiapas and the bold Christians who live there in Bold Believers in Chiapas, available for free from the Downloads section.)

Daniela became a one-person library. She made a list of everyone who wanted to borrow the new book, and she checked it out to each child for one day.

“As a mom, I’m very happy to see what my daughter is doing,” said Daniela’s mom. “Many kids in her classroom had no knowledge of the Bible. Some of them had never even see a Bible before.”

The Voice of the Martyrs’ contact in Chiapas will now provide Bibles for all Daniela’s friends who have been borrowing the Bible.

Daniela’s mom said, “Thank the brothers [Christians] who had the idea of printing the Bibles and giving them away. This year has been a blessing for my kids and I’m sure for the many other kids who have received Bibles, too.”


Stuck in a Barn

Todd Nettleton of VOMRadio.net has interviewed Dale Rhoton from the mission organization Operation Mobilization on several occasions. During one interview, Rhoton told a story about smuggling Bibles in secret compartments in his van. He and the other Christians with him were taking the Bibles into a country where distributing Bibles was against the law.

“We were always looking for secret places where we could unload our vehicles — where the police wouldn’t stumble upon us and find out what we were doing,” said Rhoton. “One of the best locations is a farm way out in the middle of nowhere.”

The smugglers found such a place on a farm owned by Christians. They drove into the barn and unloaded all the Bibles from the secret compartments in the van. Then it was time to drive back out of the barn.

“We couldn’t do it,” said Rhoton. “We had unloaded hundreds of Bibles, so the van set much higher than it did before.” It wouldn’t fit through the barn door.

“We needed to do something. How in the world were we going to get the van out without putting the Bibles back in?” said Rhoton.

[Middle-of-the-story question. What would you do?]

The smugglers went into the farmhouse and told the family, “Before we drive off, we would like for all of us to get together for a time of prayer in the van.”

“Grandmother is not that well,” said a family member. It would be difficult for her to get into the van.”

But the smugglers needed everyone in the van to replace the weight of the Bibles. A smuggler said, “We have a couple of men who can help her.”

The family saw that the smugglers really wanted the grandmother, too. So everyone joined them in the van to pray. As they prayed, the driver backed the van out of the barn.

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


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