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Thankful in Prison

Children in Myanmar

Pastor John Cao did not spend Thanksgiving last year with his wife and two sons in North Carolina. Instead, he spent the holiday in a Chinese prison.

“John committed the crime of doing good,” said a Christian friend of the pastor. Pastor John helped build 16 schools in Myanmar (Burma). The schools provide an education for 2,000 children in poverty. The students study the Bible in their classes, and many have come to Christ.

Pastor John’s wife and sons are American citizens, but he was born in China. He has kept his Chinese citizenship to make it easier for him to minister in Asia. In recent times, the Chinese government has increased control over Christian activities. Christians believe Pastor John may have been imprisoned because of stricter government rules.

Pastor John has been sentenced to seven years in prison. He is allowed to write only one letter a month. He misses his wife, children, mother, and siblings. He has several physical ailments.

But this is what Pastor John said in a letter to a family member: “Rejoice with me because I count this as kind of a privilege to suffer with my Lord. I am serious. I am not joking. This is a privilege.”

Pastor Cao hopes to be back at home with his family soon. But like the apostles in Acts 5, Pastor John is thankful for the opportunity to endure hard times for the name of Jesus.

This Thanksgiving, remember Christians who are in prison (Hebrew 13:3), and thank God for their faithful example to us and to those in prison with them.

(Sources include: vomradio.net and prisoneralert.com.)


Smiles and Sunshine

“If you see someone without a smile, give them yours.”

Pastor Richard Wurmbrand endured suffering and sadness in his life. He spent 14 years in Romanian prisons for his faith, where he witnessed and experienced cruel and harsh treatment. But Pastor Wurmbrand trusted God and looked for ways to share God’s love with others. He told the following story in a devotional book he wrote.

At a party at my house, some Christians were talking about their friends. They considered some of their friends to be “good believers.” They called other friends “weak.” And they said some of their friends were “unbelievers.”

An old missionary from India said to them: “Don’t put people in categories. Our judgments might be wrong. Instead, whenever we speak, let us better spread the love of Christ.

“When we spread the love of Christ:
It will gladden the strong believer.
It will strengthen the weak believer.
And it will bring the unbeliever to Jesus.

“So we will have done something good.”

Pastor Wurmbrand explained, “Spread sunshine among others instead of judging how much sunshine they have in their lives.”

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


Christian Kids Forced to Leave Town

Christian students

Village leaders and police are persecuting three Christian families at a village in Southeast Asia.

*Enemies poisoned the Christians’ cows, pigs, and goats, and pulled their orange trees out of the ground. The Voice of the Martyrs helps the families, but can’t provide them with new animals or trees, because villagers would steal or kill them.

*At school, other students mocked and bullied the Christian children. Sometimes they stole their bicycles or cut their tires. Then the children had to walk home — a four- to five-hour walk.

*Teachers refused to give the Christian children grades.

*When the government sent pens, notebooks, and backpacks to help schoolchildren, no one gave the gifts to the Christian children. The teacher said, “You believe in Jesus, so let Jesus help you.”

The families do not have enough money to move to another village and buy new houses. In any case, no one in nearby villages wants to sell land or houses to Christians.

So, about two years ago, the families decided to send their children to another area to go to school. They live with an uncle of one of the children. The Voice of the Martyrs provides them with some food, school supplies, and fees. The photo above shows the children today.

After reading the story above, can you suggest five things Christians can pray on behalf of the children and their families?


Torchlighters Documentaries

Amy Carmichael documentary

Parents and Teachers
Would you like to study the heroes featured in the Torchlighters DVDs in more depth? Torchlighters documentaries, available online, help viewers take the lessons learned in Torchlighters’ animated children’s DVDs to the next level.

Learn more here.

(Please preview the documentaries before sharing them with children.)


Mama in Prison

(The story below comes from Stef, the children’s publication of SDOK, a ministry that is part of The Voice of the Martyrs’ family of missions, and from the Kids of Courage archives. SDOK is in the Netherlands. The story has been translated then edited for length and clarity.)

Dad had always thought that one day he would be taken prisoner. But then Mom was arrested.

My father, Du Hongbo, worked for the church in the city where we lived. My mother, Cheng Jie, was director of a kindergarten. Agents came to our house and they took Mom with them. Dad was not at home at that moment. We were all very shocked by the arrest. The kindergarten schoolbooks did not mention anything about God or Jesus. In the kindergarten, the children did learn important Christian rules such as loyalty and honesty. The government says that the kindergarten did not follow the Chinese education law.

Dad Does His Best
My father found it very difficult that my mother was not there. He said: “Every time I looked at my children, I felt sad. I do not know how to take care of children. When they asked me something, I did not know what to say.”

But I thought he was doing his best. My brother was still a baby when Mom was arrested, so he did not remember her. But I missed her very much. I always asked for Mom.

Hard Work
Mom was sentenced to two years in prison. Dad was furious at first. But then he got peace. “I believe that God has everything in His hand,” he said. “This event teaches me to trust in the Lord. All I can do is pray and wait for God’s time.”

Mom had to work hard in prison. She got up at 5 am and worked until 10 pm! She got little food. Dad was allowed to visit her for half an hour a month. But Mom remained courageous. She told the Gospel to fellow prisoners and some of them believed.

I Keep Talking About Jesus
Mom was released in 2016! But she was closely watched. We have therefore moved to another province. My parents do not stop with their work for God. Dad says, “I always want to serve God. Wherever we are, I tell others about Jesus.”

I am proud of my parents.