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Pray When You Are Cold

China
Children in China. The banner says, “The Savior Lord gives grace.”

[From the Kids of Courage archives]

Read 2 Corinthians 11:27 and 12:9-10.

Mr. Lu, a Christian from Asia, visited workers from The Voice of the Martyrs. Mr. Lu told the workers stories about persecuted Christians in his country.

One of the workers, Lorena, told about listening to Mr. Lu speak.

“I was cold,” Lorena said. “Normally I don’t get cold easily. But for some reason, the morning Mr. Lu was with us, I was cold. It was beginning to bother me. It’s hard to concentrate on what people are talking about when you’re shivering cold!

“Then Mr. Lu began to talk about a Christian in Asia. The Christian felt called by the Lord to collect clothes and to give them to the poor and needy. He was arrested and beaten [for doing Christian work].

“The police took the heaters from his house. The temperature was minus 14 degrees Celsius where he lived, and he had no heat!” [Minus 14 degrees Celsius is about 8 degrees Fahrenheit.]

Lorena continued, “I asked the Lord to remind me in my freezing cold state to pray for the Christian and his family and many others like him who are unnamed.”

“Pray,” said Lorena. “Pray if you’re feeling uncomfortable today, if you’re cold, hungry, or discouraged. Or if you have a headache or a stressful situation, ask the Lord to use it to remind you to pray for those who suffer for their faith in restricted nations.”

(The names of some of the people in the stories and some identifying details have been changed to protect their identities.)


Christians and Cows in India

Fact
McDonald’s restaurants in India do not serve beef in their burgers. Instead they sell vegetarian products, as well as chicken and fish.

Cows are respected and protected in India because they are honored in the Hindu religion and because they are useful to rural families. About 80 percent of the people in India are Hindus, though there are also more than 20 million Christians. Laws in some parts of the country forbid killing or eating cattle.

(Photo: Cattle in Uttar Pradesh, India, near the Taj Mahal. The Taj Mahal is one of the world’s best- known landmarks.)

Radical Hindu “cow protection” groups attack people who sell or eat beef products, including Christians. Through social media, they encourage others to join their attacks. Sometimes the police protect the attackers from arrest after the attacks.

Read more about Christians in India below and in the book Bold Believers in India, available in the Downloads section.

What It Means to Follow Christ in India
Radical Hindu informants live in nearly every village and report on the activities of Christians, resulting in attacks and arrests. Christians in India are open and visible. When they are attacked, they often drop charges against their attackers to show forgiveness.

Churches have been demolished and burned, worship gatherings have been disrupted, crosses in graveyards have been vandalized, Bibles and other Christian literature have been confiscated and burned, and more pastors are being beaten and jailed.

Christians are often arrested and held for up to three weeks after being falsely accused of forcing Hindus to convert to Christianity. With assistance, they are usually able to post bail or show that the charges are unfounded. (Source: VOM’s Global Prayer Guide and Global Prayer Journal)


Mango Dessert

Peel and slice one mango and two bananas, then mix them together. Sprinkle with 1 tbsp. lemon juice and 4 tbsp. orange juice. Serve over ice cream.

Source: Kids of Courage VBS curriculum. The Kids of Courage VBS curriculum introduces students to real Kids of Courage at risk for their faith today in five countries: China, Egypt, Nigeria, North Korea, and India. Students learn how bold believers around the world live, worship, and play.

The lessons teach children how to pray for those who risk everything for their faith, and how to become Kids of Courage themselves. They learn that Kids of Courage: Trust God, Get Prepared, Remember Persecuted Christians, Forgive Others, and Witness Boldly.


Prisoner Released!

(Sources: icommittopray.com and prisoneralert.com)

The family of imprisoned pastor Bakhrom Kholmatov were looking forward to his scheduled April 2020 release. In a wonderful Christmas gift for his family, Pastor Bakhrom was freed from prison in December, a little more than three months earlier than his original release date. Praise God, and pray for the family as they reunite.

Two years ago, in April 2017, the pastor was arrested after officials raided his church in Tajikistan. The officers beat members of the congregation and took away Christian books and the pastor’s computer.

[Photo: Bakhrom and his wife before his arrest.]

When the officials examined the computer, they found a collection of Christian songs. They claimed that the songs and the pastor’s books were “extremist.” The government said “experts” decided that the songs were calling people to overthrow the government. Pastor Bakhrom was in prison on the false charges for almost three years.

The pastor and his wife, Gulnora, have three children. Gulnora had health problems after her husband was arrested, and their daughter cared for her. Their two sons live in Russia.

Gulnora received letters of encouragement from Christians around the world while Pastor Bakhrom was in prison. You can read more about them here.

Thank you to all who prayed for the family and sent them letters of encouragement. If you would like to encourage another Christian in prison for their faith, visit prisoneralert.com to find out how.

 


Canadian Students Illustrate a Prayer Calendar

Each year, The Voice of the Martyrs in Canada holds an art contest for students 13 to 18 and adults. The winning artwork is used to illustrate VOM-Canada’s Prayer Calendar. Three of the artists chosen to illustrate the 2020 calendar are students. Read below what they said about their artwork.

Hannah Hoekstra describes her picture that appears on the May page: “A girl on a beach remembers that there are Christians who do not share the freedoms she has and recognizes they need prayer.” (See her picture below.)

Grace Waldner, whose picture is on the June page, wrote: “The praying prisoner represents the truth that persecuted Christians in captivity are not hopeless nor helpless; they are warriors. Prayer warriors. There is no weapon sharper than prayer. The angel standing over the prisoner represents Hebrews 13:6 (TLB): “That is why we can say without any doubt or fear, ‘The Lord is my Helper, and I am not afraid of anything that mere man can do to me.’” The Lord will never leave nor forsake His people. The cross represents the suffering Jesus endured and the reason Christians are able to stand up to their persecutors (Matthew 5:10).

The September illustration, titled “Hope in the Darkness,” is by Sophie Riley. “The artist was deeply moved by an article in VOMC’s publication about Christians in African countries, such as Eritrea, being kept in shipping containers because of their faith in Jesus,” Sophie wrote. “She wanted to communicate to them that they haven’t been forgotten; and that Jesus will always be their guiding light, no matter how dark the world looks.”

To Try
*Can you draw or paint a picture that illustrates a story about a persecuted Christian?

[Note: The VOM-Canada contest only accepts entries from Canadian citizens.]