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Underwater Christmas Tree

At Christmastime last year, a group of divers took a Christmas tree 37.5 meters (about 123 feet) into the water off the coast of Indonesia. Then they took ornaments underwater and placed them on the tree. The group was trying to break the world record for the deepest underwater Christmas tree.

An Iranian Christian who now lives in Indonesia led the group. The event brought attention to the struggles of people who are persecuted for their beliefs.

Check the “100 Ways Kids Can Help the Persecuted Church” poster under “Other” in the Downloads section for ideas about how you can make others aware of Christians who are persecuted.


Thanh

A Vietnamese girlA Vietnamese girl

“To be a Christian is to be persecuted,” said Thanh, the teenage daughter of a pastor in Vietnam. Thanh also told worker from The Voice of the Martyrs that she feels sad.

Thanh is sad because her father is persecuted for his Christian activities. When her father is mistreated, she and her mother cry together.

But her feelings don’t stop her from loving and serving God. “A young girl can do a young girl’s work,” said Thanh. “She can hand out Bibles; she can teach younger children.”

Punished and Blessed
Officials punished Thanh’s father by making him stand all day with his arms outstretched. They hung a full bottle of water on each of his arms to make it harder.

The authorities brought Thanh’s father to a community court and asked him to deny his faith in Christ in front of many people.

He refused. “That’s why the Lord is blessing him now,” said Thanh. The church that Thanh’s father has pastored since officials released him now has 300 members. Thanh believes the Lord has blessed the church because her father remained faithful to Jesus under pressure.

Thanh asks for prayer to help her not be afraid and for freedom for everyone in Vietnam to worship the Lord freely.

(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.)

Note: At Christmas time this year, remember children in Vietnam whose fathers are in prison for their faith.


Christmas Persecution

Laos
Children at a village in Laos

Brother K and his family live in Asia. After they gave their lives to Jesus, they were the only Christians in their village. The village leaders made a rule that no one in the village could visit or talk with the new Christians.

Last Christmas, Brother K invited Christians from two other villages to come to his house for a Christmas celebration. The village authorities were angry because Brother K had not asked their permission to have a Christmas celebration in the village.

“If I had asked permission, you would have said no,” Brother K said to the authorities. “All religions have their own celebrations, so what is wrong with me inviting Christians to come to my house for a Christmas celebration?”

“Brother K will not give up easily and leave his faith,” said a VOM contact in his area. “He is full of joy in the Lord. He will stay in the village until they force him to move.”

In some places, even having a Christmas celebration can bring persecution on a family.

If you live in a free country, thank God for the freedom to celebrate his Son’s birth.


Kids of Courage Witness Boldly

VBS

To witness means to give a testimony. A testimony is a statement of what you have seen or heard. A Christian testimony tells what you know about Jesus, and may include how you came to believe in Him and how He has changed your life.

Jesus told a man He healed, “Return to your own house, and tell what great things God has done for you” (Luke 8:39). Jesus was telling the man to witness for Him.

In Acts 4, the officials told Peter and John to stop talking about Jesus. Peter and John said, “We cannot but speak of things which we have seen and heard” (v. 20). They witnessed boldly. If someone acts boldly, they do not stop doing the right thing, even if it means someone will not like what they do.

Jesus said, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel” (Mark 16:15). He knew it would not always be easy. In some places, those who witness might be made fun of, bullied, or treated very harshly. Some countries don’t even allow Christian missionaries to come into their country. Bold witnesses might need to be creative in figuring out secret ways to get the Bible into those areas.

The curriculum teaches that Kids of Courage:

  • Trust God
  • Get Prepared
  • Remember Persecuted Christians
  • Witness Boldly
  • Forgive Others

Each kit includes:

  • Five teachers’ guides, one for each country
  • Director’s guide
  • Skits and plays book
  • Games, snacks, and activities book
  • Craft and classroom activities book
  • Photo CD; Music CD
  • Resource and project guide
  • VOM prayer map

The official VBS website has more information, samples of the curriculum, and feedback from VBS directors.


Young Ladies Christmas Celebration

Action Packs

Every year, Robyn and David F.’s family in Ohio invite their friends to a “Young Ladies Christmas Celebration.” Read below what Robyn wrote The Voice of the Martyrs about last year’s celebration.

“Each year, it is our three daughters’ joy to select a service project. We do this to bless our community and to share the love of Jesus. This year our daughters invited their friends to a Christmas party to pack Action Packs.

“In previous years, I had the privilege of teaching “Bold Believers in Other Lands” at different homeschool co-ops, in which I relied heavily on your Bold Believers [activity books]. Since that time, our family has been involved in ministry to the persecuted church worldwide and in our annual International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church at our church.

“Selecting the Action Packs as our girls’ Christmas outreach was a natural outgrowth of our love and concern for our brothers and sisters worldwide. However, it was a new concept for many of the girls who attended the party. It is my prayer that we planted some seeds with the young ladies and that they will grow into godly fruit in years to come.

“It is with delight that we inform you that the 15 girls were able to collect and stuff three Action Packs. We prayed over the packs and prayed for your ministry. May the Lord richly bless you all. Sincerely, Robyn F.”