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Bold Believers in Syria

Bold Believers in Syria includes stories, history and culture facts, activities, and recipes that help children understand the daily lives of people in a country where civil war has driven more than 750,000 Christians from the country. The 48-page book is available free from the Downloads section of this site.

Spotlight Story

Prayer During Ramadan

“Today in New York City, there are places where everyone is speaking Yemeni Arabic. They are on their phones talking to people back in Sanaa or Jibla or some other part of Yemen. And about 60,000 Afghan Muslims live in and around Fremont, California,” said David Garrison, an author, former missionary, and leader of an organization called Global Gates. Garrison recently spoke with Todd Nettleton on VOM Radio.

“What is different today is that when people come to America, they are opening up highways of communication. They are staying connected with their families in ways that weren’t possible 20 to 30 years ago,” Garrison continued. “The Internet, global communication, WhatsApp, and Skype — they are talking to their families every day, and when we share the gospel with them here, it is flowing back to the ends of the earth.”

So what is Garrison’s advice for Americans who want to reach into Muslim communities?

“I tell people the beginning of everything is prayer,” he said. “Many people feel threatened by the Muslim world, and that is understandable. I don’t treat people like they are lesser because they have fear. But when you begin praying for people, it changes things.

“Some folks ask me, ‘How can we pray for the Muslim world?’ I tell them that every year, during the month of Ramadan, hundreds of thousands of Christians are praying for Muslims. I also tell people, ‘Just pray for Muhammad.’ We ask God to save Muhammad because about 20 percent of the whole Muslim world is named Muhammad.”

(Source: vomradio.net. Edited for length and clarity.)

Facts About Ramadan
This year, Ramadan began on Sunday, May 5, and will end on the evening of Tuesday, June 4 (dates may vary slightly).

Muslim adults and older children are supposed to fast from food and drink during the daylight hours of Ramadan. During Ramadan, some Muslims read the entire Quran, give extra money to charity, and try to avoid saying harsh words. Many Christians pray that the hearts and minds of Muslims will be opened to the truth about Jesus during their Ramadan month of spiritual reflection. Can you pray for Muslims during Ramadan?

Learn more about Ramadan here and in the book Learning About Islam, available in the Downloads section.


Spotlight Story

Mother’s Day Prayers

Santa and Sien

Soman and his wife, Santa, trusted in Christ as their Savior about seven years ago. They started a house church in their home in Bangladesh and invited their friends and neighbors. Many more people came to the Lord and were baptized.

But not everyone in their village welcomed the good news. A gang attacked the little village store that Soman and Santa owned, and they beat up Soman. They warned him to stop following Jesus.

(It’s not illegal to be a Christian in their country. In fact, more than 7 million people in Bangladesh have watched Christian videos on YouTube, and some have come to Christ. But Muslims do not approve of other Muslims leaving their religion, Islam, and becoming Christians.)

Soman’s leg was injured in the attack. He developed complications and, sadly, he died a few years later. After he died, family members took away Santa’s land. They said she couldn’t keep it because she was not a Muslim. They tried to force her to follow Islam.

Now Santa and her 4-year-old son, Sien, live in a “safe house” operated by The Voice of the Martyrs. (See the photo.) They will be safe there, and will be able to gain strength from other Christians in the house.

On Mother’s Day, pray for Santa and other mothers who are taking care of children alone.

Also remember:
*Mothers who are in jail for their faith.
*Mothers whose children were taken from them when they became Christians.
*Mothers who are raising their children as Christians in non-Christian places.


Spotlight Story

India: A Movie Changes Hearts

Christian kids in India

Tessie DeVore leads the Lumo Project. The project distributes gospel movies in different languages to people all over the world. DeVore shared the following story with Todd Nettleton at vomradio.net.

A man and woman in Kolkata, India, were not Christians, but Christians had been praying for them. Someone brought a movie about Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John to their village and said to them, “I have a film. Can we show it at your house?” The visitor wanted to share the gospel with people in the village.

The man and woman said, “Great! It’s a film! Let’s do it.” They invited neighbors and others to watch the movie with them.

Other neighbors became extremely upset. The barged into the house and started beating the couple. They also called the police and reported the man and woman for showing a Christian film. The couple thought the police would surely arrest them and put them in jail. [Police in parts of India often do not take the side of Christians, even when Christians are victims of attacks.]

But when the police showed up, it was amazing! They asked the neighbors that beat the couple, “Why are you doing this? Let them be free to show whatever they want in their house!”

Not only that, but the police told the neighbors who complained, “If you do this again, we will arrest you for barging in and beating them up.”

The man and woman believed that it was a miracle that the police had not blamed them for the trouble. They looked at each other and said, “The God of this movie is the one who changed the hearts of the police.” They gave their lives to Jesus right then and there.

Since then, they have started a group at their house. About 20 people come every week to watch the film and to talk about the gospel!

To Think About
*If you share Christian books or videos with someone, will you have to fear that you might get arrested?
*Can you think of anyone with whom you could share a Bible or other Christian resource?


Activities Story

Remembering Mothers

On Mother’s Day this year, remember mothers you know, or mothers around the world, who have sacrificed to bring up their children in the Christian faith. Some mothers who live in countries where Christians are persecuted have lost homes, families, and friends after deciding to follow Christ. Others have lost their lives, leaving children who honor their memory.

You can make a reminder to pray for mothers and children.

Needed
Embroidery hoop
White, all-purpose glue
Scrapbook paper or other decorative paper
Buttons, ribbon, and other items for decorating
Photo of mothers and children from The Voice of the Martyrs’ publications or websites, or other sources

Instructions
1. Trace around the outside of the inner hoop on decorative paper.
2. Cut out the traced circle and glue it onto the top ring of the inner hoop. Let it dry.
3. Glue on a photo, ribbon, buttons or other items to decorate the reminder.
4. Display the hoop on a wall or bulletin board.

And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife, or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life (Matthew 19:29).


Spotlight Story

India: Living as Christians

Ritesh and his family

The three previous posts told about Ritesh, a father in India who came to Christ after months of seeking truth and peace. But in India, it’s not always easy to be a Christian. His family’s story continues below.

Kimaya, Ritesh’s oldest daughter, is known in her family as “the prayerful person.” But the whole family has a time of prayer together from 5 to 8 every morning. They pray, worship, and read their precious Bible before school.

At school, the children’s favorite subjects are languages and math. Ranbir likes to play volleyball, and the girls play a team tag game called kho kho, and another game like hopscotch.

But the children have to deal with more than games and classes at school. Students are expected to take part in Hindu rituals, and Ritesh’s children have refused to participate. Others at their school do not approve of their decision.

Their grandmother, who is not a Christian, tried to bribe them with money to stop going to church. “There is no Jesus,” she told them.

The family was kicked out of their house, and on two occasions, gangs of men dragged them to a Hindu temple and tried to convince them to deny Jesus. Gang members took Ritesh’s cell phone and called all his contacts, hoping they would tell the gang about any criminal activities Ritesh had committed. But everyone said, “He is doing good things.”

When villagers began to persecute the family for their new faith, Ritesh and his wife added another prayer time to their day at 11 p.m. after the children were in bed. Then they woke up at 5 to pray with the children. The family takes comfort in reading Psalm 91. (Read Psalm 91. Why do you think it comforts them?)

Once during a time of intense persecution, Ritesh prayed, “I am surrendering my life to You, Lord. If I die, I will die for You. If I live, I will live. It’s up to You.”

Ritesh told a VOM worker that he and his family have the following prayer requests.

“Our prayer is that we will grow more in the Lord and share Christ with other people so they will also come to know Christ. We want my whole family — brothers and sisters, siblings, and in-laws — to come to know Christ. We want all our family members to accept Christ and all the people of the village to know Christ.”

To Think About
*If someone persecuted you, what would you pray for them? What would you pray for yourself?
*For months, Ritesh searched for peace and truth. Read Matthew 7:7-9. What is God’s promise for those who search for Him?

(To protect their identities, the names of some of the people on this website and some identifying details have been changed. Some of the quotes and stories have been edited and paraphrased from the original sources for clarity, length, and age appropriateness.)