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2019 — 31,536,000 Seconds

In a New Year’s Day devotion, Pastor Richard Wurmbrand reminded readers not to hurry needlessly to save minutes, or to waste minutes we save on useless activities. (Pastor Wurmbrand was the founder of The Voice of the Martyrs.)

The pastor told the following story.

“An American urged a friend of his who had just arrived in this country, ‘Quick! Let’s run to catch the bus!’ When they were inside the bus, the happy American said, ‘We have saved three minutes!’ The visitor asked, ‘What do you plan to do with them?’

“People in advanced countries have no answer to this question,” Pastor Wurmbrand continued. “We do well to save minutes. Every minute is a jewel, but we often don’t realize its value until it’s too late….We hurry to save minutes, then squander what we have saved in unworthy activities, conversations, and amusements.

“Just as cashiers are answerable for every cent that has passed through their hands, a person who has lived 70 years will answer before God for 37 million minutes.”

What will you do with the 31,536,000 seconds in 2019?

(Source: Reaching Toward the Heights by Richard Wurmbrand. Edited for length, clarity, and age-appropriateness.)


Preparing for the New Year

One Hundred Ways Poster

Have you made any New Year’s resolutions for 2019? Have you included remembering persecuted Christians in your New Year’s plans?

Go to the Downloads section of this site and download the “One Hundred Ways [Kids Can Help the Persecuted Church]” poster in the “Other” category. Share ideas from the poster with others in your family, church, or class. Make plans to carry out the tasks, and ask others to help you with your plans.


10 Quotes from 2018

Strengthening the next generation

The following quotes were shared with or by workers from The Voice of the Martyrs during 2018. Most of the quotes were shared by Christians from countries where believers are persecuted.

1. “Never once in my heart did I feel the Holy Spirit leading me to keep silent about Jesus.” — former Muslim woman who now follows Jesus.

2. “Persecutors know if they get the next generation, they win.” — VOM worker

3. “There is peace and contentment in being where God wants you, even in the shadow of death.” — VOM worker, inspired by the faith of a Christian in the Central Africa Republic

4. “Persecution has never stopped, and neither will I.” — African Christian who was hospitalized after enemies attacked him

5. “Prayer has to be a custom for you before a crisis comes.” — Iranian Christian

6. “The kingdom advances when God’s people take small steps of obedience.” — VOM worker

7. “I know I’m going to die for Christ, but before that, I’m going to share the gospel with as many people as I can.” — persecuted Christian in a Muslim country

8. “Everyone coming to Jesus is the only ‘peace process’.” — persecuted Christian in a war-torn country

9. “Every 40 hours, another Christian is attacked [in India].” — Christian worker in India

10. “We serve the persecuted to reach the persecutors.” — VOM worker

(Source: VOM workers and contacts. Edited for length, clarity, reading level, and security.)

To Do
Choose five of the quotes above and say them in your own words. How many of the quotes do you agree with?


Review: The William Tyndale Story

In England in the 1500s, most parents could not read the Christmas story from the Bible to their children. Parents were not allowed to teach their children the Lord’s Prayer or the Ten Commandments in English, because it was against the law. Children did not learn the 23rd Psalm or any other Bible verses in English.
(Source: The Torchlighters Ultimate Activity Book, available at VOMBooks.com.)

Read below about one of the courageous Christians who made it possible for us to read the Bible in English today.

(The review that follows of the Torchlighters DVD The William Tyndale Story is by Elise Wixtrom, an American youth who 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.)

William Tyndale
In the early 1500s, the Church of England did not allow the Bible to be taught in English. Instead, all of the sermons and hymns were in Latin. None of the working-class, common people knew what the Bible really said. They had to take the priests’ word for it. Since it was a crime to translate and teach the Bible, many brave men and women died trying to get the Word of God into the hands of the people who needed it the most. William Tyndale was one of those brave men.

William Tyndale was a language scholar and member of the Church of England. He saw how much the people of England needed the Word of God in their day-to-day lives. He saw how, because they didn’t understand the Bible, they couldn’t truly live by it. William Tyndale knew Latin, Greek, and Hebrew very well, so he understood that the Bible said that, “All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). He began to translate the scriptures for the common man. He started with the Old Testament, which took him a very long time to complete.

Tyndale always hid from the Church the fact that he was translating the Bible into English, afraid that they would stop him from continuing. So when he finished his translations, he secretly passed them out to the people who wanted them. The government ordered book burnings of all the English translations they could find. At that point, Tyndale realized that he was no longer safe in England. So he fled to Germany with his New Testament translations, in order to complete the work that he had started.

While in Germany, he paid shipmen to smuggle New Testaments and other Christian literature back to England. It worked for a while, but soon enough King Henry of England found out about the work Tyndale was doing and sent someone to spy on him. The spy and his men arrested Tyndale for heresy. After many days of hearings, Tyndale was sentenced to death by burning at the stake. But he knew that he was doing God’s will by translating the Bible so that everyone could read the words of life.

William Tyndale was executed because he believed that everyone should have access to truth and wisdom. He believed that if a person did not have the right to gain knowledge, that person was enslaved. His story shows us how we all have a responsibility to defend the truth. We must not be quiet when we see something bad or untruthful happening. You must speak up when you know what is right.

Read more about William Tyndale and watch a trailer from The William Tyndale Storyhere.


Where Are They Now? Pauline

Pauline and her children

Read a previous post about Pauline and her children here.

Radical Muslims did not want Christians spreading their faith in Gaza. They kidnapped Rami Ayyad, the manager of a Christian bookstore. Rami’s wife, Pauline, and his sons George, age 2; and Wissam, age 1; hoped Rami would return home safely. But sadly, the kidnappers shot him, and he died.

A few months later in February 2008, Pauline gave birth to George and Wissam’s new baby sister, named Sama. Pauline said Sama means “heaven” in Arabic. She chose the name “because her father is in heaven.” Pauline was left to raise her three children alone, while working to forgive Rami’s killer.

Pauline and her children today

Update
About a year ago, the murderer was arrested. When Pauline saw his photo in the newspaper, at first she was angry. But the Holy Spirit gently reminded her of the forgiveness for which she had worked and prayed. In obedience, she shared the newspaper article on her Facebook page with the comment, “I forgive this man.”

(Source: The December 2018 The Voice of the Martyrs newsletter. Edited for length and clarity.)

Ask God to help other persecuted Christians also forgive their persecutors.

Read more about Christians in Gaza and the West Bank in Bold Believers in Gaza and the West Bank, available in the free Downloads section.