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Uygurs: Tornissa and the Unlikely Letter

China

Uygurs [also spelled “Uyghurs;” pronounced “WEE-gurz”] are a people group living mainly in northwest China. Almost all Uygurs are Muslim. China’s communist leaders want to control all religions in their country. Officials are often suspicious of Muslims or Christians who take their faith seriously.

Much has been reported in the news about internment camps for Uygur Muslims in northeastern China. However, Christians, Buddhists, Kazakh people, and other perceived threats to the Communist government are also imprisoned in the camps.

Learn more in Bold Believers Among China’s Uygurs, available in the Downloads section.

Read below the story of a Uygur girl who learned about Jesus from missionaries in the 1930s.

In the late 1800s, Swedish missionaries and other Christians worked among the Uygur Muslim people in Xinjiang, China. Then during the 1930s, a great persecution of Uygur Christians began. Missionaries were kicked out of Xinjiang.

Tornissa, a Uygur girl, was raised by Swedish missionaries in a Christian orphanage. She was 14 years old when the missionaries were forced to leave Xinjiang.

After the missionaries left, Chinese officials put Tornissa in prison for two years. She was treated badly in prison. She thought she would die from the harsh treatment. But God healed her after she was released.

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Stuck Inside?

Kids in many places are staying at home more, because they are on school vacation or because their family is avoiding illness. How do you spend your time when you have extra time at home?

Pastor Wurmbrand
The founder of The Voice of the Martyrs, Pastor Richard Wurmbrand, served a total of 14 years in Romanian prisons because of his Christian activities. Of course, he had fewer freedoms in prison than Christians living in free countries today. But we can learn lessons from his writings about how to use time wisely, even in less-than-perfect conditions.

A Schedule
Even in times of solitary confinement, Pastor Wurmbrand created a schedule. He had no pencil and nothing to write with, so he kept his schedule in his head. His schedule kept him busy as long as he was awake.

Exercise
In his tiny cell, Pastor Wurmbrand even exercised! He could walk two steps in one direction and three in the other direction, over and over. How many ways can you think of to exercise inside?

Games to Strengthen His Mind
Using tiny pieces of bread for chess pieces, Pastor Wurmbrand also played chess — with himself. He said he never lost a game!

Prayer
Pastor Wurmbrand also spent a lot of time in prayer. But after a while, he no longer prayed to be free. He said, “Which of God’s commandments could I keep better outside of prison than inside?” Keeping God’s commandments was the most important thing to him.

So Pastor Wurmbrand prayed for others — his family and friends, people around the world, and countries. He prayed for all the countries he could remember. How many countries can you name without looking at a map? You can find ways to pray for many countries here.

Comfort from God
God comforted Pastor Wurmbrand through all his struggles in prison. He enjoyed his time with God. When he was finally released, he prayed, “God, help me not to rejoice more because I’m free than because you were with me in prison.”


Bold Chinese Sunday School Students

China

[From the Kids of Courage archives.]

Secret Sunday Schools
Sometimes it takes extra courage just to go to Sunday school in China. Government officials do not approve of adults teaching children under 18 about God and Jesus. The Bible does not agree (See Deuteronomy 6:6–7.)

At times Chinese officials ignore churches that have Sunday school classes for children. But sometimes police raid the classes and then put teachers and parents of the students in jail.

In recent years The Voice of the Martyrs and other ministries reported about a number of bold young believers in secret Sunday schools.

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Patrick

By Elise Wixtrom

A very long time ago, when Rome ruled most of Britain, a young man named Patricius lived on the coast of the island now called England. Pirates and thieves swarmed the choppy sea of the nearby narrow strait and roamed the coast of Roman Britain. They captured slaves and captives, looted towns and estates, and brought their spoils to the island across the channel – Ireland.

It was on the shores of Roman Britain that one day teenage Patricius (known in English as Patrick), was kidnapped and enslaved by those thieves and pirates along the coast. He was taken to Ireland. There he became a shepherd, tending flocks along and over the rolling green hills. In captivity, Patrick began to think about God and the Bible verses and stories that he had been taught as a child. The story of Jesus’ sacrifice began to mean more and more as the young man grew. His heart was filled with peace, where before he had been frightened and lonely, enslaved on a foreign island.

As he matured, Patricius began to share his faith with other captives, but they scoffed at his Christian ambitions. One night, Patricius had a dream that a messenger said, “You will soon be returning home!” When Patricius awoke, he left the camp where he slept and quietly walked down to the shore, where a ship was waiting to sail away. With some reluctance, the sailors let this strange boy accompany them on their voyage.

As soon as Patricius returned home, this family welcomed him with open arms. Back in Britain, he began to study God’s word with greater vigor. Before too long, he knew that he was meant to return to the pagan land where he had been mistreated. Again in a dream, Patricius was called back to the island where he had been enslaved. He felt the most eager pull to return and to teach the people of Ireland — to love them as God would.

Patricius’ family expressed hesitation at their son’s calling, but he knew what God wanted him to do. He knew it so vividly, so strongly, that he returned even though his family was afraid for his welfare.

Patricius went on to evangelize the people of Ireland for many years. He was not always welcomed, but eventually his love for the people, and God’s will, prevailed. The message of Jesus’ sacrifice and resurrection resonated with the pagan people. Patricius died on March 17, 461. We now celebrate that day as St. Patrick’s day. Through this young Briton, God changed the face of Ireland for His glory. Though many resisted the message, many more lives were changed because Patricius returned to the land of his captivity.

Sources include Patrick: God’s Courageous Captive, one of the books in the Courageous Series, available at vombooks.com.


Somalia: Pray for the President

“One of every six African Christians is persecuted,” a recent visitor from Africa told VOM workers. Many people believe that the most serious persecution in Africa happens in Somalia.

Facts About Somalia
*Most Somalis are Muslim.
*Bibles are illegal.
*There are no church buildings.
*After years of drought and war, more Somalis live outside Somalia than in it.

(Source: VOM’s 2020 Global Prayer Guide)

Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed is the current president of Somalia. He was born on March 11, 1962. He went to college in the United States.

On his birthday, will you pray for the president?
*Pray that he will rule wisely.
*Pray that he will use his power to see that Christians are treated fairly.
*Pray that he and his family will know the truth about Jesus.

(Photo: Somali Christian secretly reads a Bible. Source: VOM Canada and CBN.)