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Explaining Ramadan

Heather Mercer was a prisoner in Afghanistan because of her Christian activities. During a visit to The Voice of the Martyrs, she talked about the meaning of Ramadan to Muslims, and about how Christians can pray for the Muslim world during Ramadan. Ramadan is a month on the Muslim calendar. Muslims fast between sunrise and sunset every day during the month.

This year, Ramadan occurs from late April through late May.

To read more about Heather and her time in prison, see Bold Believers in Afghanistan in the Downloads section.

Ramadan Media

TV stations in Muslim countries broadcast new shows during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Viewers can watch dramas, comedies, and quiz shows that are on TV only during Ramadan. On one quiz show from Muslim Bahrain, the host visited neighborhoods, businesses, and mosques to ask questions of the public.

Recent news reports say that Facebook users in the Middle East and North Africa spend an extra 57.6 million hours on Facebook during Ramadan.

To Do: Pray that Muslims who watch more TV and access more social media during Ramadan will find Christian programs and information that will lead them to Jesus.

Muslim Duties

A Muslim Boy in Uzbekistan

Muslims are people who believe the teachings of Islam. They do not believe that Jesus is the son of God, or that God sent him to save those who trust in him.

Muslims worship Allah, and their holy book is the Quran. They believe that an angel dictated the words of the Quran to Muhammad, the founder of Islam. Muslims are required to perform five duties called “the Five Pillars:”

  1. Recite, “There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is his messenger.”
  2. Pray memorized prayers five times a day at set times while facing the city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
  3. Fast from sunrise to sunset during the Muslim month of Ramadan.
  4. Give money to help the poor.
  5. Take a pilgrimage to Mecca at least once if possible. A pilgrimage is a trip to a holy place.

Muslims around the world will be observing Ramadan from April 23 to May 23 in 2020. (Dates may vary slightly from location to location.)

To Do: Check “Their Beliefs” on this website for comparisons of Islam with biblical Christianity.

Uncle Monnie’s Story

Recently, Todd Nettleton of VOM Radio interviewed “Uncle Monnie,” a missions pastor who encourages pastors all over the world, including countries where Christians are persecuted.

Uncle Monnie told a story about 700 Christian youth who met together for a retreat in the Soviet Union. At that time, in the 1950s, Christians were often put in prison.

The retreat leaders told the youth, “You are not in prison yet. We want you to get in small groups and write out all four of the Gospels.” [The four Gospels are the Books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.] The leaders wanted the students to be prepared in case they found themselves in a situation where they wouldn’t have a Bible.

“They all got together and they worked on it, and they had so much fun they decided to do the Book of Acts as well,” Uncle Monnie said. There were only seven places where they were a little fuzzy; where they didn’t exactly get every verse. But otherwise, they had all first five books of the New Testament from memory.”

In December of 1991, the Soviet Union fell apart as a nation and broke up into smaller countries. The citizens in most of the countries had more freedom after the break-up.

Uncle Monnie continued the story: “They did that same event about five years after the Soviet Union broke up. They did the same thing again, and none of the kids could even write even one verse from any of the books. Because once they got freedom, they forgot everything. They didn’t need to memorize it.

“So that is going to be one of the great problems for a pastor in working with young people and those that want to go into missions. Most of them don’t know the Bible, and they are not prepared for where they need to go….The hardest part about being a missions pastor in an American church is not getting discouraged because everywhere you see there are church members who are biblically illiterate.”

To Talk About
*Someone who is “biblically illiterate” lacks knowledge of the basic facts and teachings of the Bible. Why is it important for missionaries to know the Bible?
*By yourself or with a group, choose a chapter of the Bible that you don’t know very well. Read the chapter, then share three things you learned about the chapter that you didn’t know before. Memorize one verse from the chapter.

China: No Internet Church

[Photo: Authorities have removed crosses from some churches in China.]

The government of China is making more rules to limit Christian activities. Learn about some of their rules here and here.

Chinese officials have even closed some churches. So, the congregations of many of the churches moved their services online.

Now China’s government has ruled that all livestreamed preaching must stop. After the coronavirus began making people sick, more churches wanted to hold services online. But the new rule forbids them from doing so.

Below are some ways you can pray about the situation.

*Ask God to give church leaders wisdom as they try to continue serving their congregations.
*Ask God to help Chinese children and adults who want to learn more about Jesus but don’t know how to find people to help them.
*Pray that God will encourage Christians in their faith when they can’t gather with other believers.