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This Month

Parents and Teachers

The July 2020 photo issue of The Voice of the Martyrs magazine features dramatic photos of our Christian brothers and sisters around the world who daily face obstacles to their peace and their ability to spread God’s Word. They continue to follow Jesus joyfully in difficult circumstances.

You can share with your children photos of:
*Christians in India worshiping God after leaving a life of Hindu idol worship.
*Bible distribution in Colombia’s “Red Zones” that are controlled by guerrilla fighters.
*Christian refugees who choose to love the Muslims who robbed them of all their worldly possessions.

Find stories from the same countries on this site and pray with your children about the Christians in those countries.

Related Resources
* To subscribe to the free monthly The Voice of the Martyrs magazine, visit the subscription signup page.

*The Voice of the Martyrs’ Global Prayer Guide includes information about Christians in the featured countries.

*Download Bold Believers activity books for kids that highlight several of the countries here.

*Find information about lesson plans for India and Colombia here.

*Watch video clips about Christians from several of the countries in the Video section of this site.


June 29: The Day of the Christian Martyr

 

Todd Nettleton of VOM Radio recently talked with Cole Richards, the president of The Voice of the Martyrs, about The Day of the Christian Martyr. You can read Cole’s comments below. (Edited for length and clarity.)

Todd: The Day of the Christian Martyr is on June 29th. Each year The Voice of the Martyrs highlights the story of an individual who gave their life serving the Lord. Cole Richards, the president of The Voice of the Martyrs, will tell us more about this annual tradition. Cole, first of all, what is The Day of the Christian Martyr?

Cole: The Day of the Christian Martyr is one of the things we do at The Voice of the Martyrs to make sure that today’s Christians can be inspired by those who came before us. This day is just one of the ways we want to create awareness and understanding of this rich legacy of those who came before us.

First, I really hope people understand that our Christian faith is not just a bunch of ideas or teachings. It is about relationships. So first and foremost is our relationship with our Creator, Almighty God, but then it is about relationship with our Christian family. These are eternal relationships. We will spend eternity with the other members of the Body of Christ. On The Day of the Christian Martyr, we look at those who have come before us. It is tremendously uplifting and inspiring. It makes us strong. It gives us courage to be connected with these brothers and sisters in Christ from the past.

I want to challenge people to pray on two levels. One level is pray for the need that exists when a pastor is martyred and leaves behind a widow and children. We need to feel the human emotion of our brothers and sisters in Christ as they suffer well for God’s glory. That is one direction that our prayers need to take.

The second direction they should take is to pray for the advancement of God’s kingdom that these people were a part of, and that they still are a part of. We are going to pray for the widow and serve her, but we also are going to pray for the advancement of God’s eternal kingdom in that place because that is why these Christians gave their lives.


Police Raids and a Birthday

[Photo: Children in Turkmenistan]

Police Raids and a Birthday
Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow is the president of Turkmenistan. He was born on June 29, 1957, so today he is 63 years old. His government strictly controls the lives of Turkmenistan’s citizens.

*It is forbidden to criticize the government.
*Women with jobs at schools or government offices are not allowed to color their hair, use nail polish, or wear “extravagant embroidery” on the tops of their dresses.
*Men who work for the government must not have beards.
*Internet access is limited and controlled.

Life for Christians
Most people in Turkmenistan are Muslims. Government officials watch churches closely, so some Christian families worship together in secret. But they know that authorities could raid their homes to search for Christian books and materials.

VOM sources say that police recently raided several Christian meetings in private homes. One Christian homeowner was fined a week’s wages when police raided his home. Some Christians were held by the police for more than four hours and said they expect to receive fines.

Birthday Prayers
On his birthday, pray that President Berdimuhamedow will come to trust Christ as his Savior and will see that Christians in his country are treated fairly.


Honoring Pastor Jean-Paul Sankagui

Christians around the world will take time on June 29 to honor the legacy of those who have sacrificed their lives for the advancement of the gospel. This year, The Voice of the Martyrs will remember Pastor Jean-Paul Sankagui, who gave his life for Christ in the Central African Republic (CAR).

(Learn more about the CAR here and here.)

Pastor Jean-Paul planted a church in a Muslim neighborhood in his country. Danger and threats have increased for Christians during a civil war in the CAR. Pastor Jean-Paul’s church ended up being the only church left in the neighborhood. Many church members fled the area.

But Pastor Jean-Paul stayed in obedience to what he believed God called him to do. In 2017, Muslim fighters shot the pastor, and he died from his wounds. He and his wife, Mary, had been married for 48 years, and they had 11 children and 17 grandchildren.

Honoring Them All
A few days after the attack, a VOM worker visited Mary. Read below what he said about his visit.

“I expected that there would be a lot of despair. I went into a stuffy room, dark with no electricity, just candle light. About 30 people, including some of their children, surrounded Mary. There was a big smile on Mary’s face, and she was thankful that she had more visitors. I couldn’t believe it!

“Although there was sorrow over the loss of her husband, there was also a lot of joy. She recalled memories of Pastor Jean-Paul, and she smiled. They were both called to that area together, and they knew there was a purpose in being there.

“Pastor Jean-Paul represents hundreds of Christians in the CAR who have died for their faith. The other names we will probably never know until we are all together someday in heaven. Honoring him honors them all.”

(Sources include VOM Radio. Edited for length and clarity.)


Be Inspired by Those Who Came Before Us: Paul

Paul escaping prison

According to church tradition, June 29 is the date on which the Apostle Paul was beheaded on the Appian Way in Rome. This year, on the weekend closest to June 29, Christians around the world will gather to honor the legacy of those who, like the Apostle Paul, sacrificed their lives for the advancement of the gospel.

Paul: God’s Courageous Apostle
A review by Elise Wixtrom, KOC youth reviewer.
The book is part of The Voice of the Martyrs’ Courageous Series. The six books in the series are available at vombooks.com.

The apostle Paul was not always called Paul, nor did he begin his relationship with Christianity as an apostle. Paul, born Saul, was a Roman citizen by right of his Jewish parents, who were most likely granted citizenship by their former slave master. Paul became a Pharisee as his career. Jewish leaders at the time advised those under their jurisdiction to leave the Christians alone and to let them die out. But Paul pursued new converts to Christ with a furious, deadly energy.

Paul held an unmatched hate in his heart toward the Christian faith. But that all changed when he headed to Damascus to arrest Christians in their house churches and secret gatherings. Paul was nearing the city when a bright light flashed into his vision, and he fell to the ground.

He heard a voice ask, “Saul, why do you persecute me?”

“Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.

“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” the voice replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” Saul stood up, but when he opened his eyes, he couldn’t see anything. He had to cancel his mission to arrest Christians in the area and instead was guided to a house in Damascus.

Meanwhile, a man named Ananias who lived in Damascus was praying to God. Suddenly Jesus appeared to him and told him to visit the Pharisee called Saul and that through Ananias, this man would regain his sight. Ananias, with apprehension, obeyed God’s words and visited the house where Saul was staying.

Saul, after being visited by Ananias, regained his sight and immediately stopped persecuting the early Church. In fact, he became a strong Christian and began a mission that would continue until his death at the hands of the Roman government.

Before Paul’s death, he was shipwrecked, imprisoned, stoned, and chased out of cities and synagogues. All the while, he did not ever hesitate to tell those around him about the Gospel of Christ. The Apostle Paul also wrote many letters to the early Church that are now translated and make up much of the New Testament.

Paul’s story of redemption reminds us that no matter who we are, God can do great things if we give our lives to His purpose. It also reminds us that no matter what a person has done, they can always be redeemed through God’s grace.