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God’s Missionary: The Faith of Thomas

Thomas

Parents and Teachers: Please preview this book before sharing it with children.

After Jesus died, Thomas and the other disciples were afraid, and they hid. Then one day, some of the disciples came to see Thomas.

“Thomas!” they shouted, unable to contain their excitement. “We just saw Jesus! He’s alive!”

Thomas shook his head in disbelief. “Impossible,” he thought as his eyes narrowed into a scowl. “He’s gone forever.”

“I don’t believe you,” he snapped.

“But Thomas, we saw him!” the disciples repeated.

Thomas replied, “I’ll only believe if I see the scars from the nails and put my fingers into them.”

No Longer Doubting
Eight days later, the disciples were hiding in a locked room. Jewish leaders roamed the streets hunting down anyone claiming to follow Jesus. Suddenly Jesus appeared to them.

“Put your finger here in my hands,” Jesus said, looking right at Thomas. “Don’t be a doubter. Believe!”

“My Lord and my God!” cried Thomas. Seeing Jesus’ scar was the proof he needed.

“You believe because you just saw me,” said Jesus. “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.”

From that moment on, Thomas no longer doubted that Jesus had risen from the dead. He was full of faith — a faith that he would need when he and the other disciples took the gospel to India, where tradition says he was martyred for the faith. He gave his life for those who had not seen Jesus and yet believed.

(Source: God’s Missionary: The Faith of Thomas available from VOM Books.)


Easy Clues Sudan and South Sudan Facts Crossword Puzzle

Crossword
Download the puzzle grid

Instructions:
Print the puzzle grid and clues to solve the puzzle. If a clue has an underlined word in it, write that word in the correct place on the puzzle grid. If the clue asks a question, write the answer to the question in the puzzle.

Across
1. Cotton is an important crop in Sudan.
5. The government tries to rule Sudan with Muslim law called Shariah law.
8. The Nile runs through Sudan. Is the Nile a river or an ocean?
9. The continent west of Africa is South America. Is the abbreviation for South America “S.A,” or “N.A.”?
10. Some people in South Sudan are animists. Animists believe there are spirits in everything, and they may place their faith in a superstition or omen.
11. Many Christians in South Sudan have lost everything they own in attacks by Muslim radicals.
12. What is “tap” spelled backwards?
13. Millions of men, women, and children in South Sudan have lost their homes.
14. What country is the subject of this puzzle?
18. Food is scarce in camps for the homeless in South Sudan. Is it not “easy,” or not “hard” to get enough to eat.
19. A visitor to South Sudan saw a boy crying from hunger. What is another word for “crying:” “weeping” or “hurting”?

Down
1. A Christian in South Sudan will sometimes decorate his hut with a cross.
2. Sudan is sometimes said to be in the Indian Ocean Rim region. Find the Indian Ocean on a map.
3. Is Egypt “over” or “under” Sudan on a map?
4. Homeless children in South Sudan sometimes ask for paper and a pen instead of candy or toys. They love to learn.
6. The Aswan Dam is north of Sudan.
7. Psalm 23:1 says, “I shall not _____.”
11. Some school classes in South Sudan meet out in the open instead of in a building.
13.Ma” is short for “mother” in some places.
14. What is “was” backwards?
15. Some children in South Sudan use oilcans to make musical instruments.
16. Some Sudanese brides decorate their hands with a dye called “henna.”
17. Elephants and ostriches live in South Sudan. Are elephants “big” or “small?”


“I Forget About My Troubles”

Woman and baby in Laos
Woman and baby in Laos

Li is a woman in Laos who has had a very hard life. Her husband was arrested for using illegal drugs. When he went to prison, she was left alone to care for her 2 year old child and 2 month old baby. Christians at her church try to help her, because she has few clothes to wear and little food to eat. Li can’t get a job, because she has no one to take care of her children.

But Li loves the Lord!

A team of Bible teachers came to her community recently to help the Christians learn more about their faith. It’s hard for Christians to gather in parts of Laos where the government does not want Christianity to spread among members of some tribes. So Christians from different places sometimes in meet one place to study God’s Word.

Read below what a VOM contact said about the meeting.

“About 125 people attended the teaching, and 34 were women. Many of them carried babies on their backs and put them in their laps all day long for three days. None fell asleep, and hearts were full of joy. They all tried to write in notebooks what the teachers said.

“Through all three days, Li was able to smile because she was learning God’s Word and had joy. She said, ‘When I listen to God’s Word, then I forget about my troubles and sadness, and the problems in my life!’

“When the teachers saw her and heard her problems, they were encouraged by her willingness to learn God’s Word and keep her faith in the Lord. It was such a blessing to them!”

(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.)

How Can You Pray?
What are some of the things you could pray about for each of the following:

  • Li
  • Li’s children
  • Li’s husband
  • Christians in Laos
  • Christian teachers in Laos.

An Eight-Hour Walk and a Dream That Came True

Boys in Nepal
Boys in Nepal

The Voice of the Martyrs received the following report from a Christian in Nepal.

“My name is Bandhu. I am from a very rural and remote part of Nepal. I gave my life to Christ six years ago. All seven in my family are believers. I am very poor farmer.
“Two months ago, I heard that some believers are giving the Bible for free. But it was not in our village. The leader of our church mentioned that if we can go to the place where the Bibles will be distributed, we will get one. I knew that it would take me and my son eight hours to walk. I called my son and said, ‘Let’s go to get the Bible.’

“We walked eight hours and finally we arrived. The local pastors said, ‘All of you get in a line, we will bring the Bible to you.’ When the distribution started, I was watching the pastor move and thinking, ‘I will get the most valuable thing in my life.’

“When I touched the first time the Bible which both has Old Testament and New Testament, I knew that is it real. As distribution finished, I and my son sat together and checked our Bibles. We realized both are the same because we never knew that every Bible has the same words. I realized that our dream came true.

“We have now our own Bibles at home. We read them every day. We discuss them every day at home. I can see the blessing that came to our family after we got the Bible. I just want to thank VOM who made this possible for believers like us. We have started to pray that the VOM office will do more of this type of ministry, not only in Nepal but all over the world.”

(Source: www.persecutionblog.com)

(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.)

To Talk About

  • How far would you have to walk to get to the Bible that is nearest you right now?
  • Can you and a friend or family member agree to read your Bibles daily and to talk about what you read like Bandhu and his son?

Visit www.BiblesUnbound.com to learn about VOM’s program to provide Bibles for people in countries where it is not always easy to get a Bible.


Iran: On Dangerous Ground

Iran

Maryam Rostampour and Marziyeh Amirizadeh were Christian friends in Iran, where most people are Muslims. After they became Christians, they shared their faith with others and gave Bibles to people in their country.

But in Iran, it is a crime for a Muslim to become a Christian, and for Christians to encourage Muslims to give their lives to Christ. Men and women called the “basiji” help enforce the rules.

One day, the basiji came to Maryam and Marziyeh’s apartment to investigate. The woman and two men asked Maryam and Marziyeh a lot of questions and searched all their rooms. They searched for more than two hours and found hundreds of Christian CDs and many New Testaments in Farsi, Iran’s main language.

“We were on dangerous ground,” Marziyeh later wrote.

How do you think you might feel if dangerous people were searching your house for Bibles? What would you do?

Marziyeh told what she and Maryam did. “Maryam and I brought them New Testaments and CDs they had overlooked, and even helped to count them: 190 New Testaments and 500 CDs.”

“I will always trust the Lord,” Marziyeh had told friends before the basiji came to the apartment. Her calmness showed the Muslim officials that she was sure of her faith. Maryam even handed a New Testament to one of the basiji and said, “You should take one of these and read it.”

Maryam and Marziyeh were arrested and sent to prison. They were released after 259 days. God helped the stay strong in their faith during their imprisonment.

(Source: Captive in Iran by Maryam Rostampour and Marziyeh Amirizadeh. Available at www.VOMBooks.com. Preview recommended before sharing the story with children.)