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Ali: In Love with the Gospel

(Source: VOM Radio. Edited for length and clarity.)

“My family was very religious in Islam,” said Ali, who grew up in Iran. “However, my father was an alcoholic. When I got to be 11 or 12, I started drinking alcohol also. Then I started using drugs. That changed me into a very angry person. I didn’t have many friends.”

Note: Ali and his family were Shiite [SHEE-ite] Muslims. Imams are very important leaders among Shiites. Many Shiites believe that the 12th imam, who disappeared in the 800s A.D., did not die. They believe he will return as “the Mahdi” at the end of the world. Learn more about Shiites here.

Ali did not have peace. He searched for truth and peace through Muslim rituals. “Every day I read from the prayer book,” he said. “I was really interested in the Mahdi, the 12th imam.” Every Tuesday for five years, Ali visited a well where Iranians believe the 12th imam will appear at the end of time.

But nothing happened and Ali still had no peace.

Finding the Light
After a Christian relative witnessed about their faith to Ali’s parents, his parents became Christians, and Ali’s father quit drinking! “I wrestled with it for six months,” said Ali. “From the bottom of my heart, I prayed that the Mahdi would show himself to me.”

But still nothing happened. Finally, Ali prayed, “Jesus, Messiah, I don’t know You. But if You really died for me, show me something that shows You are real.”

That night, Ali dreamed of a bright light streaming into his room. Later he heard a voice saying, “Go to Tehran.” When he obeyed the voice and went to the capital of Iran, he visited a church in the city. “I fell in love with the gospel and became a believer there. Then I got on my knees, and I repented,” said Ali.

Persecution and Spreading the Word
Muslim relatives did not approve of Ali and his parents’ new faith. The relatives took all of their photos out of family photo albums. “My grandfather kicked us all out,” said Ali. “He got all our money, and he kept it.”

Even though they are persecuted, Ali’s family tells others about Jesus when they get the opportunity. “My goal, my desire, is to really share the gospel with Muslims who are under the control of Islam,” Ali said.

Learn more about Christians in Iran in Bold Believers in Iran, available in the Downloads section.


Tiny Sunday School

The government of China has been giving churches a hard time. So some Christians meet secretly in homes.

Recently a Chinese Christian visited The Voice of the Martyrs. He told VOM workers about a secret church that meets in a pastor’s house. About 35 children sit on the floor in the house to learn about God and the Bible. “The room is about the size of a small VOM office,” said the visitor.

The VOM office is about 11 feet by 15 feet. Measure off a space about 11 feet wide and 15 feet long. How many people could sit on the floor in your space? Do you think you could sit in the space with 34 other kids? Will you pray for Chinese children who attend house churches?

[Photo: Chinese Christians with audio Bibles]


Passing Through Deep Waters

Pastor Richard Wurmbrand of Romania, the founder of The Voice of the Martyrs, told the following story.

“Two friends took a walk along the shore of a river. One slipped and fell into the water. He began to yell, “Help! Help! I can’t swim!” His friend on shore answered, “You don’t have to shout like that. I don’t know how to swim either, but I don’t make as much noise about it as you do.”

Pastor Wurmbrand went on to say,

“We sometimes judge others harshly for their bad moods or rude behavior. We behave well, but could it be because we do not pass through the same deep waters as those who do not behave well?”

Pastor Wurmbrand practiced what he preached. He loved and prayed for people who invaded his country, police who arrested him for his faith, and guards who treated him rudely in prison. He led some of them to Christ.

To Discuss: What does the story about the man in the water mean? For what behavior was the man on shore judging the man in the water? Can you think of someone who does not behave well to pray for?

(Source: Reaching Toward the Heights, edited and paraphrased)


The Adoniram and Ann Judson Story

Elise

Missionary Adoniram Judson was born on this date, August 9, in 1788.

Elise Wixtrom travels with her family to help bring their music ministry to people who attend The Voice of the Martyrs’ Advance conferences. You can read more about Elise here.

Elise has grown up learning about persecuted Christians and reading VOM resources.

You can read her review of the Torchlighters DVD, The Adoniram and Ann Judson Story, and watch a trailer for the DVD below.

Adoniram and Anne Judson, missionaries to Burma (Myanmar), led very interesting lives. Even though many people told them they couldn’t go to such an unreached and dangerous country, the couple was successful in ministering to the native people of that land. The Torchlighters animated special about their life is equally fascinating.

The missionaries Judson have a calling in Burma, and that is to translate the Bible using the only known English-to-Burmese dictionary. However, along the way, they find much opposition to the message of the Gospel. The local Buddhist priests, especially, are afraid of what the missionaries will do.

Eventually, Adoniram is sent to prison under suspicion of spying for the British, who are enemies of Burma. As the prisoners and their guards, along with Anne Judson and their child, flee the British army, Adoniram loses the Bible translation – however, a recent convert and friend of the missionaries finds the sole copy of the Burmese Bible, wrapped in a pillowcase.

After Adoniram and Anne are released, they continue to translate and grow the Burmese church, even after the deaths of Anne and their child. This is a beautiful story, an example of dedicated missionaries to a lost world. I highly recommend the Torchlighters version of the story of Anne and Adoniram Judson; it is well-written and entertaining.

Find additional resources that include stories about the Judsons and Burma here, here, and here.


Pakistan: Benish

Benish had a problem. A Muslim boy liked her, and he decided he wanted to marry her. Benish and her family are Christians, but they live in Pakistan, where most of the people are Muslims.

On behalf of their son, the Muslim boy’s parents asked Benish’s parents for her hand in marriage. Her parents refused. They knew that Benish would be expected to become a Muslim before the marriage.

The boy was angry, and he didn’t quickly take no for an answer. He continued to pester Benish to marry him. When Benish still said no, he became enraged and pushed her off the second floor of a building!

Benish was taken to the hospital in critical condition. No one knew if she would recover from her injuries. And the police were not helpful. They urged Benish’s parents to drop their case against the boy.

Many Christians around the world prayed for Benish and by God’s grace, she did recover.

Every year, Pakistani Christian girls are pressured into marrying Muslim men they don’t want to marry. Pray that the police and government will take their cases seriously, and that Christian girls will not be mistreated.

(Source: VOM Australia)