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Iraq Then and Now


Sumeria, called Shinar in the Old Testament, was the lower part of Mesopotamia, the area between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. The southern part of Mesopotamia was later called Babylonia. Daniel and his friends were taken to Babylon, the capital of Babylonia. (See Daniel 3.) Babylonia was in the region that is now called Iraq.


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The Real Santa Claus

The Real Santa
From the book The Story of St. Nicholas: More Than a Reindeer and a Red Suit

The character of Santa Claus was based on a real man named Nicholas. But Nicholas did not wear a red suit and fly with reindeer.

Nicholas lived in a place that is now part of Turkey. He was born in the town of Myra about 200 years after the birth of Jesus. At that time, Myra was part of the Roman Empire.

Nicholas grew up as an orphan after his parents died. As an adult, he became a Christian leader.

An evil Roman leader named Diocletian decided that Christians were bad people. Since Nicholas was a leader in the church, Roman officials sent him to jail. Other Christians also suffered in prison under Diocletian’s rule.

Later, an emperor named Constantine came to power, and he liked Christians. He freed Nicholas and other Christians from prison. Nicholas continued to help orphans and others in need. But his troubles were not over.

Later Nicholas spoke out against Arius, a church leader who was spreading a false belief.

During the Christmas season remember Christians who are still persecuted for their beliefs in Turkey and other countries today.

The information above is from the book The Story of St. Nicholas: More Than a Reindeer and a Red Suit, by The Voice of the Martyrs with Cheryl Odden. To learn more about our resources for children, visit the resource page on this site.


Teacher Becomes a “Bold Believer”

The Bold Believers’ class Colombia “shelter”

The Voice of the Martyrs received the following email:

“Hi. I’m trying to find some recipes for Colombian desserts to use in a drama. If you have some, or know where I could get some, that would help. Thank you. Anne M.”

Note: Most of the Bold Believers activity books in the Downloads section of this site include recipes from the featured countries. Read an edited excerpt below from another recent email to find out how a teacher in Michigan used the recipes, activities, and information in the Bold Believers books — and what she learned.

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Happy Indonesian Children


The Voice of the Martyrs recently distributed Bibles to Indonesian Christians. The Bibles were provided through VOM’s Bibles Unbound project.

The photo shows some children who were very happy to receive the Bibles.

Read below the information about Indonesia from the Bibles Unbound site.

Description of the Area
Indonesia has the largest Muslim population in the world. Many Muslims hold fast to conservative or extremists’ beliefs that conflict with other religions, specifically Christianity. In past years, churches are forced to close and Christian individuals are even attacked.

Still, there is a religious revolution in Indonesia. Christianity is booming! As more hear about the freedom of the Gospel, they turn to Christ and surrender their lives. With the growing number of Christians, the need for Bibles is great. The Bibles encourages Christians to focus on God in the face of today’s persecution. The Voice of the Martyrs is working to help this need, but can’t do it alone.

A Teacher Learns a Lesson


A Story from the Kids of Courage archive

Several years ago, Margaret S. led a children’s Bible Club in an area of the U.S. where many families are poor. “The children face problems that seem impossible even for adults to face,” Margaret wrote to The Voice of the Martyrs.

“This year we read a story about Sudan as our mission lesson,” Margaret continued. “From VOM materials, I learned what we could do to help the people in Sudan. We decided to send blankets.

“So I asked the children, ‘How many blankets would you like to send?’ They decided 10 blankets, because there were 10 children at the club that day.

“Now 10 is a lot for a poor neighborhood. I said to the children, ‘Oh, maybe [we can get] 10 by the end of the year.

“We prayed for the people in Sudan. We prayed for the blankets.

“I was worried. Where would we get 10 blankets? I didn’t want the children disappointed. I forgot how big God is, how he hears and answers prayer. The children were not worried!

“The next week, a friend I hadn’t seen for several months called on the day of the club meeting. She told me she found some money in a store parking lot. She said she had read the book In His Steps by Charles Sheldon.” [When making decisions, the characters in the book ask, “What would Jesus Do?”]

“She turned the money in at the store. After six weeks, the store had not found the owner, so they sent the money back to her. She prayed and asked God what to do with it. She decided to send it to the children of the club. It was 60 dollars!…I bought 10 blankets….

“In one week, God answered our prayers! Only he could have organized all these events.

“I told the children how God answered their prayers. They clapped and shouted!

“I hope this story encourages you to expect great blessings from our faithful and loving heavenly Father – a Father who has a lesson for all his children!”

Note: Learn about VOM’s “Blanket and a Bible” project here.