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Libya: Pray for Bible Smugglers

Brother Hannu is the leader of The Voice of the Martyrs office in Finland. He recently talked to Todd Nettleton at VOM Radio about some of his past Bible smuggling adventures. Brother Hannu had taken Christian literature hidden in special underwear into a hostile country, and his youth group wrapped videos about Jesus in gift wrapping paper to smuggle them into another country. But he still hesitated when he felt God calling him to share Jesus among Muslims. “We had practically no Muslims in Finland,” he said on VOM Radio.

A Vision
“I’m not one who dreams dreams and sees visions,” Brother Hannu said. “I was not raised like that at all. But one day I saw in front of my eyes a curtain opening….There were faces of people shouting, ‘We need help!’ I understood that the people were Muslims.”

Brother Hannu shared the vision with his pastor. He hoped to convince the pastor that he had not seen a vision. “You know I have a very lively imagination,” he reminded the pastor. The pastor wasn’t convinced. “I feel that God is calling you to the Muslim world,” he said.

A Trip
Brother Hannu decided to visit a Muslim country, Libya, to see what one was like. “I had heard about the threat of Islam and terrorists. So I had fear,” he said. [Islam is the religion of Muslims.]

He planned to visit Libya with a group of Christians. “I thought it was a nice, small trip,” he said. “We’d get to know how is the food, what is the weather like.

“But then I found out that this group was packing their suitcases with Bibles. I was shocked. I said to them, ‘Hey, what are you guys doing? This is dangerous. You understand this is very dangerous. You should not do that.’ They said, ‘Don’t you understand, Brother Hannu, they need Jesus in Libya.’ In fact, I heard at that time there was not a single known Libyan Christian in the country. There were some other from other countries, but not Libyan Christians. I thought, ‘Oh my goodness what kind of fanatics am I with right now?’ I was not so happy, but I could not return home because the church paid my trip.

Read the next post to find out what happened to Brother Hannu in Libya.

(Source: VOM Radio. Edited for clarity, length, and age appropriateness.)


Fifteen Years in Prison

Fifteen years ago today, at 5:00 in the morning on May 23, 2004, police in Eritrea arrested Dr. Kiflu Gebremeskel and Mr. Haile Nayzgi. The men, who were leaders in their Christian churches, did not belong to any of the Eritrean government’s approved religion groups. Eritrea imprisons hundreds of people because of their religious beliefs.

Dr. Gebremeskel and Mr. Nayzgi have been in prison for 5,480 days. In the past, Dr. Gebremeskel earned a degree in mathematics from the University of Chicago. He has a wife and four children.

Dr. Gebremeskel

Mr. Nayzgi used to be an accountant. After his wife was warned that she might also be arrested, she and their four children escaped to a safer country. In a message smuggled out of Eritrea, Mr. Nayzgi thanked The Voice of the Martyrs for helping his family. He is happy that they are safe.

Mr. Nayzgi

Visit prisoneralert.com to learn more about these courageous Christians and to find out how to send messages of encouragement to Dr. Gebremeskel and Mr. Nayzgi.

To learn more about Christians in Eritrea, download Bold Believers in Eritrea from the Downloads section.


Six Additional Torchlighter Resources and Features

Have you enjoyed the stories about Christian heroes on the Torchlighter DVDs? Get the most out of your DVD collection with the Torchlighter supplementary resources and features below.
(Source: Torchlighters.org)

1. Documentaries
The 30-minute animated Torchlighter episodes share the main parts of each faith hero’s story, but there’s so much more to tell! Torchlighter documentaries are intended to equip adults to answer questions kids might have, but once their interest is piqued, many children also enjoy the documentaries. Livestream the documentaries here.

2. Leader’s Guides
Free Bible-based lesson plans help teachers and parents make the most of the Torchlighter videos. The lessons begin with a Scripture focus, then weave together the elements and tools to make lesson planning easy. The guides include ice-breakers, applications, and everything in between. Find them in the Downloads section or on Torchlighters Curriculum Page.

3. Student’s Guides
Torchlighter student’s guides coordinate with the leader’s guides, but can also be used independently by kids. The guides feature puzzles, crafts, thought-provoking questions, coloring-pages and more. Find them in the Downloads section or on Torchlighters Curriculum Page.

4. Spanish Language Tracks
All Torchlighter episodes come with a professional Spanish language track. Many are translated into additional languages as well, with more to come. The producer of the Torchlighters is from Costa Rica, and many of the episodes are hand drawn in a studio there.

5. Subtitles
Torchlighter DVDs include subtitles in both Spanish and English, allowing you to use them in multiple ministry settings. Native speakers are cast for in-country roles as often as possible, which means some characters have accents that may be difficult to understand on the first viewing. Subtitles make it easier.

6. Quizzes, Puzzles, and Coloring Pages
Find online quizzes and activities on the “Heroes” pages on Torchlighters.org.


A Lesson from The Story of St. Patrick

Katherine P., a homeschool mom, blogger, and co-op teacher in Virginia, recently sent this comment to Kids of Courage about the books in the Courageous Series.

“I teach a class of 5-7 year olds every week, and every time I’ve brought out these books, I’ve asked, ‘Are they going to be able to handle this?’ And every time, they have such a beautiful response to these stories. So… I will continue to spread the word and teach them.”

Katherine has developed lesson plans based on some of the books in the series. “Friends, I want my kiddos to learn to do hard things,” Katherine wrote in her plan. “As a Christian, I pray for a revival of the gospel in our land, I truly do. But at the moment, it looks like Christians and all that we believe are increasingly being made fun of, mocked, and rejected. This is the world our children are growing up in. They’re going to face the darkness soon enough, why not show it to them early, and let them hear of these heroes of the faith who faced the darkness head on with Christ, and triumphed victoriously. And I will tell you – they can handle it. They really can.”

To Talk About
Part of Katherine’s lesson plan about The Story of St. Patrick  included the following comments and questions to share with kids.

*Patrick grew up in a Christian family that loved Jesus. But even though Patrick’s parents loved Jesus, Patrick hadn’t discovered Jesus for himself yet. Your parents take care of you and tell you about Jesus, but one day, you are going to have to decide for yourself, “Am I going to follow Jesus even when mom and dad aren’t around?

*Well, Patrick basically ignored God and didn’t think much about Him. Until something really bad happened. His choice: Just because you have a Christian family, doesn’t make you a Christian. At some point YOU must choose on your own to become a Christian. This is what Patrick did when he was alone on the island.

Share Your Ideas
Click on “Contact Us” at the bottom of this page to send your ideas about sharing The Voice of the Martyrs/Kids of Courage resources with children.


Kids of Courage VBS

Parents and Teachers

The Kids of Courage VBS connects your students to other young Christians around the world. The curriculum introduces students to real Kids of Courage at risk for their faith today in five countries: China, Egypt, Nigeria, North Korea, and India. Students learn how bold believers around the world live, worship, and play.

The lessons teach children how to pray for those who risk everything for their faith, and how to become Kids of Courage themselves. They learn that Kids of Courage: Trust God, Get Prepared, Remember Persecuted Christians, Forgive Others, and Witness Boldly.

For more information and feedback from VBS directors, visit kidsofcouragevbs.com. The curriculum is also appropriate for Sunday schools, homeschool co-ops, and other kids’ groups.