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Mexico: Children in Chiapas

Mexico

Manuel Mendez was 12 years old. He was in the first grade at a school in Chiapas, Mexico.

Manuel was still in first grade because he had been expelled so many times. He struggled to stay in school.

Getting an education was important to him. “I want to be a teacher,” said Manuel, “so I can teach my mother and father how to read.” (Many adults in Chiapas never had the chance to go to school or to learn to read.)

Manuel had not been expelled for bad behavior. Instead, he was one of many children who had not been allowed to stay in school because of his parents’ faith.

Over the past few years, traditionalists have stopped evangelical children from registering for school, or have gotten them expelled. Traditionalists follow some Catholic teachings mixed with unbiblical practices of the ancient Mayan religion. Evangelicals believe in the truth of the Bible and in sharing the Good News of Jesus with others.

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Eritrea: No More Church for Joseph

Eritrea

“No more church,” said Joseph, an 11-year-old Christian boy in Eritrea. “Now we worship in a secret place hidden from the police.” Members of church groups that are not approved by the Eritrean government can be arrested for meeting together.

Joseph also has problems at school. “Whenever there is talk about Christians, the children insult me and try to bite me sometimes,” said Joseph. “When I pray to God, He gives me strength to handle the situation.

“I found Christ in Sunday school when I was 5,” said Joseph. “My father was always teaching me about my Lord.”

But Joseph never sees his dad anymore. His father was in danger of arrest because of his faith, so he secretly escaped from Eritrea. Joseph and his mother cannot escape. “It is a very dangerous route through the desert,” said a Christian friend of the family. “For a woman and kid, it would be impossible to try.”

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Indonesia: “My Jesus Has Been Broken”

Indonesia
Agus

Agus is a 12-year-old Christian boy. He lives in Indonesia.

One Sunday, Agus tried to pick up his little sister from her Sunday school teacher’s house. Radical Muslims have destroyed 900 churches in Indonesia. So, church groups and Sunday school classes often meet in the homes of pastors and teachers.

But outside the teacher’s house, a group of men began to kick Agus!

The men had a Bible. “Spit on the Bible!” they told Agus.

Agus saw that the men had a machete. (A machete is a big knife used to cut crops and bushes. Machetes are also used as weapons.) The men did not look afraid to use the machete.

But Agus said, “No.” He would not spit on the Bible. Thankfully, God protected him, and Agus got away from them.

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India: Three Brave Sisters

India

Poonam, age 16, decided to follow Christ. Her older sisters, Kusumam and Kalpana, also became Christians after they were invited to church by their Christian uncle.

Like most of the people in India, the girls grew up in a Hindu family. The only Christian in the family was their uncle.

Hindus are people who follow the religion called Hinduism. Hinduism does not agree with many of the truths in the Bible.

Many Hindus do not like violence. But radical Hindus sometimes try to get more power by threatening Christians. They especially do not like other Hindus to leave Hinduism and become Christians.

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Turkey: Miriam Hopes to Go to Jail

Turkey

Miriam was sad. Her father had died and she missed him.

A reporter wrote about her father’s funeral. “Throughout most of the ceremony, only the smallest girl, Miriam, broke down in tears,” said the reporter.

Miriam, age 8, lived in Turkey with her parents, her 13-year-old sister Michal Janina, and her 10-year-old brother Lucas. Her father, Tillman, and her mother, Susanne, had come to Turkey from Germany in the 1990s. They hoped to live as followers of Christ among Muslims who did not know Him. (See the photo of the family above.)

Tillman was helping other Christians prepare a new Turkish Bible for Turkish people to read. The children attended school in Turkey. They spoke German, Turkish, and some English.

On Easter in 2007, some young Turkish men came to the worship service that Miriam and her family attended. They pretended to be interested in learning more about Jesus. Later, still pretending, they visited Tillman and two other Christians.

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