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Lessons from the Jungle

Young woman in Burma

(Source: VOM Radio. Edited and paraphrased from the interview)

Ron Morse is a gospel worker in Southeast Asia. Recently Todd Nettleton of VOM Radio interviewed Ron about his experiences growing up on the mission field.

Ron’s parents and grandparents were missionaries in Asia, and Ron lived with his parents in Burma (Myanmar). When he was 13, his family needed to leave Burma because of new government policies. But it was almost seven years before they got permission to leave. During those years, they lived with the Lisu tribal people in the jungle.

“I believe there was a reason for all that,” Ron told Todd. “My generation had to grow up. We grew up to really face the facts of life in the jungle.”

Life in the Jungle
“Salt and blankets, shoes, socks, changes of clothes, soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste. All of that did not exist after the first few months,” Ron continued. “We had to clear fields and farm, surviving with the worst food you can imagine. We had jungle cakes made of rotten trees.

“We learned from parents and grandparents not to complain. Instead, ask, ‘Lord, what do you want me to learn from this?’

“We started a school for the kids. We made blackboards using battery black and egg whites, and we made chalk sticks that worked. Airplanes that had crashed in World War II were scattered all over. Melted-down aluminum from the planes became pots and pans.

“I taught Sunday school in the Lisu language for three years. We went through the whole Bible three times. Some of the students were as old as I was. To this day, a lot of the people who were in those classes are in ministry.”

Getting Through it Together
“I think God allowed those seven years in the jungle for us to come to terms with what is involved in serving God,” Ron said. “It’s not just glamour. It’s the actual nitty gritty daily work of survival.

“We learned that life can be tough, but everything will pass. It just may not pass as quickly as you want it to…. But you know what? When you are in it together and you have a sense of humor, you can get through anything.”

To Talk About
*Instead of complaining, what did Ron say we should do when we face difficult situations?
*What do you think would be the hardest part of living in the jungle?
*What have you learned from challenging situations in your life?

Enter “Burma” in the Search box to find stories of Christians in Burma or download “Bold Believers in Burma” from the Downloads section.


Sports and Games: What Do You Think?

(Source: The Torchlighters Ultimate Activity Book.)

We know that when John Bunyan was a young man, he enjoyed playing a game called “tipcat” and engaging in other pastimes, but sometimes he felt guilty for doing so. Is it OK for Christians to play games? What do you think?

Most Christians today believe they can play games that encourage good behavior and build character. Some Christians use sports and games as an opportunity to witness about their faith to non-Christian players. What do you think?

How Much Is Too Much?
When is watching or playing games a distraction from more important activities? An American pastor said, “Anyone who spends more time playing video games than seeking God in prayer has no right to call Jesus Lord.” What do you think of the pastor’s statement? (Read some Bible verses about prayer in 1 Thessalonians 5:17, Matthew 6:7, and Matthew 6:9–13.)

In the 1500s, King Henry VIII of England banned a number of games because he believed they would distract his soldiers from their duties. Do you think it would be wise for government leaders to tell people how much time they could spend on sports and games? Is it effective for parents and teachers to make rules about playing games at home or in class? What do you think?

What games do you like to play or watch others play? Do any of those games ever take time away from your Bible reading, prayer, homework, household chores, commitments, or opportunities to serve others?

Make a Rule
What do you think would be a good rule for time allowed to spend on games? (For example, “I can play games for 30 minutes after my homework is done, if it’s not time for bed yet.”)


John Bunyan’s Birthday

John Bunyan was born on November 28, 1628. His 391st birthday is this week. Read below what Elise Wixtrom, the Kids of Courage student reviewer, wrote about his life.

John Bunyan lived in the mid-1600s, during the time of the most violent conflict on English soil, the English Civil War. At that time, there was a group of people called the Puritans. The Puritans followed strict religious rules. They believed in the Bible wholeheartedly, though at one point they became very legalistic and forced their authority on others. Early on, though, the Puritans were bastions of Christian kindness and purity. John Bunyan was one of their most faithful members. A writer, theologian, and preacher, he stood steadfastly by his faith even though his country was in turmoil.

The story of John Bunyan’s life has many ups and downs. At one point he even got thrown into prison. For many years he stayed there among criminals and debtors, all because he defied the Anglican church by preaching outside of it. During the civil war, he and other Puritans were allowed to teach freely, but with the return of the English monarchy came the return of persecution for other theologies. Bunyan, along with his fellow church officials, was imprisoned for his beliefs. While behind bars, Bunyan had a lot of time to reflect, think, write – do what he loved best. He even taught the prisoners in Puritan theology, and eventually they thanked him for it.

Though in great emotional pain from being ripped away from the life he had built for himself, Bunyan never lost hope in Christ’s love. Instead, he wrote. At one point, Bunyan had a strange and vivid dream. In this dream, he embarked on a religious journey, called a “pilgrimage”, to find the meaning of life. Along the way, he met characters that represented different aspects of the world, God’s nature, the human heart, and sin. At the end of the journey, Bunyan arrived at the gates of heaven. Upon awakening, Bunyan was struck with the images of the dream and he decided to write it all down. He turned that dream into a novel called The Pilgrim’s Progress.

When he died in 1688, Bunyan left behind a legacy of many works of literature, including The Pilgrim’s Progress and books of written sermons. Their messages ring loud and clear – stay on the path that leads to Christ Jesus, and God will walk beside you all the way to His own doorstep, just as Bunyan found in his dream.

Bunyan found God’s voice in his prison cell. If you have been reading or watching the Torchlighters stories, you will know – that is where you hear God’s voice best. In the darkest moments of your life. In your pain. In the prison cell that you have, whether real or in your mind. In the times where you think there is no more cause for hope, that is precisely the moment where you should look upwards, and there God will be, with the solution for your healing.

Learn more about Bunyan and watch the trailer from the Torchlighters DVD The John Bunyan Story here. Find out more about Torchlighters DVDs here.


Christmas Care Reminder

Christmas Care Pack

Every year, The Voice of the Martyrs and Kids of Courage readers sponsor Christmas Care Packs for children and Village Outreach Kits for pastors in countries where Christians are persecuted. Visit this site or check the December 2019 The Voice of the Martyrs magazine to learn how you can sponsor a Christmas Care Pack or Village Outreach Kit in honor of:

*A friend
*Your pastor
*A family member
*A Sunday school teacher
*A Christian worker in your community
*Or someone else

If you sponsor a gift before December 14th, the honored person will receive a personal Christmas card acknowledging your gift.

Parents and Teachers
To receive information about future project opportunities, subscribe to the free monthly VOM magazine here.


Central Asia: Pastor’s Son Bullied

Many people in the countries of Central Asia are Muslims. Some don’t take their faith seriously, but they still get angry when others in their country choose to follow Christ. They believe that Islam, the religion of Muslims, is part of their culture.

A VOM contact asked pastors in Central Asia about how their congregations get along with local Muslims. Some said they face serious persecution; others said they had not been persecuted — yet.

One pastor told the following story.

“Often I see that children here are left useless, unsupervised, without care and love, which makes them angry. In the beginning, when we moved to this city, my son was not well received by the local children, because they knew he was a Christian. They began to bother him, tried to hurt him in any way, threw stones, and called him names. One day the children surrounded him and tried to set him on fire, saying, ‘You are a Christian, so you will go to hell.’

“When we heard about it, we invited them to visit us. We saw that they were just abandoned and unwanted children in need of love. We just started to care for them and love them, and that changed their attitude toward our son. Now most of these children are friends of my son. Please pray for believers in Central Asia – they need wisdom from above.”

To Think About
*Why were the bullies angry?
*What do you think of the pastor’s decision to invite the bullies to his house?
*Read about Muslims’ beliefs about heaven here.  What are the differences between their beliefs and biblical Christian beliefs?

Learn more about Christians in one Central Asian country in Bold Believers in Uzbekistan, available in the free Downloads section. The photo above is from that book.