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Merdan: Believing is Good

(The story and information below come from Stef, the children’s publication of SDOK, a ministry that is part of The Voice of the Martyrs’ family of missions. SDOK is in the Netherlands.)

Hi! I am Merdan and I am 7 years old. My father is a Kurd from Iraq. He fled to the Netherlands where he got to know the Lord Jesus and my mother. I have two brothers and one sister.

We have visited my relatives in Kurdish Iraq. My relatives live in a very beautiful part of Iraq with high mountains and beautiful rivers. Kurdish food is also very tasty: chicken and a lot of rice!

I liked many things but some things I did not like. Few people there believe in Jesus. One of my relatives believes now, but he doesn’t dare talk to anyone about it. Otherwise, he may not come home anymore. People always say that he must become a Muslim again.

The Kurdish children really don’t have a nice life. Some children are paralyzed and have to beg for money. Many children also work, for example as a street vendor. In Iraq we could also go to church, but it was a super long drive. Christians find a church service in the city way too dangerous, so they look for a quiet place in nature.

My father tells everyone he encounters about Jesus, and many people have come to believe in Him. I believe in the Lord Jesus; that is the most beautiful thing in my life. I sometimes dream about God. He says softly, “Merdan, Merdan!” And puts His hand on my head. I really like that. I want to be close to Him. Children in the Netherlands are blessed. We don’t have to flee because there is war in our country or because we believe in Jesus.

More About the Kurds
Many Kurds do not live in the Middle East, but in other countries.
Germany: 530,000
France: 84,000
The Netherlands: 75,000
America: 52,000
No country: The Kurds are the largest people in the world that have no country of their own.

Kurds in the Middle East: There are 35 million Kurds living in northern Iraq and Syria, eastern Turkey and western Iran.
Religion: Most Kurds are Muslim, around 95%.

[Photo above: Merdan. Can you tell what game he is playing?]

To Do
Hospitality is very important to the Kurds and in the Bible. At Merdan’s house, people eat with them every day. His parents tell their guests about the gospel.

Can you invite someone to dinner this month? Maybe you can tell that person about God’s love.

Iran in the News

Parents and Teachers

Government leaders and the news media have focused much attention on the nation of Iran in recent days. But what do the increasing tensions and violent exchange mean for the church in Iran — our Christian brothers and sisters serving Christ amid the upheaval?

The Voice of the Martyrs has written a special report on the church in Iran, explaining how government oppression and internal tensions within the country are affecting our Christian brothers and sisters. The report also offers specific ways to pray for Iranian Christians during these tumultuous days.

Request a free copy here. After you preview the report, you can share any age-appropriate information with your kids and students, and pray with them for Iran.

Imran Ghafur: Still in Prison

Ten years ago tomorrow, on January 11, 2010, Imran Ghafur Masih was sentenced to life in prison in Pakistan.

VOM encourages you to send a letter to Imran, letting him know you are praying for him. Also pray for his persecutors. Tell your friends about Christians suffering in Pakistan, and encourage them to pray for Imran and to write to him as well. Your letters make a difference; they can result in shorter prison sentences for those accused. Please write to Imran and encourage our Pakistani brother.

To Do
Go to to read more about Imran, and follow the instructions to send him a note of encouragement.

10 Ways Your Family Can Use Torchlighters DVDs

Have you watched the animated Torchlighters DVDs about real-life Christian heroes who withstood persecution? Enter “Torchlighters” in the search box of this site to find reviews, trailers, and stories from the DVDs.

Torchlighters also has a blog that you can read here. A recent post told ten ways you can use Torchlighters in your family.

Visit to find out details of the ways listed below that your family can use the DVDs.

1. Family fun night
2. Hold a conversation
3. Serve together
4. Curl up with a book
5. Watch anywhere
6. Empower kids
7. Explore online activities
8. Watch a documentary
9. Learn on the go
10. Apply scripture

Birthday Prayers

Tomorrow is Kim Jong Un’s birthday. Kim is the leader of North Korea. It is not certain whether he was born on January 8, 1983 or 1984.

Kim rules his country strictly and often with cruelty. Read below what it means to follow Christ in North Korea. Then pray for Kim on his birthday. Ask God to make a way for Kim to follow the truths in the Bible.

Note: The following overview is from VOM’s 2020 Global Prayer Guide. Find out how to get a copy at

What It Means to Follow Christ in North Korea
Christians are sent to concentration camps, where they are starved, overworked and tortured. North Koreans have a saying: Whenever two or three people are gathered together, one of them is a spy. This is true even in family settings, as children are taught to spy on their parents from a young age. Therefore, North Korean Christians must be extremely careful in what they say, what they do and how they pray; all must be done in secret.

When a Christian is discovered, the government punishes the entire family. Despite the threat of persecution and heavy social pressure, Christians in North Korea hold firmly to their faith. For example, one North Korean defector told VOM that her mother continued to shelter orphans even after they stole from her. Christian and secular analysts estimate that about 30,000 Christians are suffering in prison and labor camps.

Access to Bibles
It is very dangerous to own a Bible in North Korea. Owning even a few pages of a Bible can result in detention in a concentration camp, but there are still secret ways to obtain one. Most North Koreans have found that memorization is the safest way to keep God’s Word.

VOM Work
VOM provides Bibles via balloon launches, broadcasts Christian teaching over a special radio network and ministers to North Koreans wherever they are found.