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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.


Escape from Kidnappers

A Pakistani girlA Pakistani girl

The following story about Parveen, a girl in Pakistan, (not the same Parveen as the girl in this story) is from the Kids of Courage archives.

“I am 13 years old, and I live in Pakistan. My name is Parveen.

“My father believes in Jesus. But when I was a year old, my mother left my father, became a Muslim, and married a Muslim man. My father remarried, and now I have a stepmother.

“I go to a Christian boarding school in a large city. In the evenings, a pastor’s wife prays with us. She told us that Jesus sacrificed for us because he loves us. I started studying the Bible every day. After that I decided to follow Christ and got baptized. I was very happy.

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Thank You Note Day

Prisoner Alert

December 26 is National Thank You Note Day. (Source: Chase’s Calendar of Events) On that day, many people write thank you notes to friends and relatives who gave them Christmas presents.

Read below some suggestions for writing additional thank you notes.

  1. Go to www.PrisonerAlert.com and find out how to write a note to a Christian in prison for their faith. Thank them for encouraging other Christians to serve God no matter what the cost.
  2. Is there someone in your community who faces obstacles as they tirelessly serve God and others? Send them a note thanking them for their service.
  3. Thank someone who has helped you grow in your faith and in your desire to be a strong witness for Jesus.

A Holy Christmas Night

Christmas CakeMuslim converts to Christ in Iran celebrate Jesus’ birthday

By Pastor Richard Wurmbrand, founder of The Voice of the Martyrs, in the December 1994 VOM newsletter. (Edited and paraphrased for reading level.)

Christmas is coming. Many Christians will spend Christmas in communist, Muslim, or Buddhist jails.

But you might say, “Christmas is a time when we sing carols and hallelujahs. People give gifts to one another. Why can’t we just celebrate the season with others? Why bother us with sad words about suffering?

My answer is that at Christmas, we are supposed to remember not only that a Savior was born. We also remember that Mary had to give birth in a stable and to put her child in a manger for cattle.

What comforts did Mary have in the stable? Warm water? A midwife? Clean sheets? She did not.

Was it really true that there was no room in the inn? Maybe the innkeeper or some guest with no wife and child could have slept somewhere else. They could have given their beds at the inn to Mary and the Christ child.

When we think about Jesus’ family at Christmas, let us remember that after Jesus’ birth, they became refugees. They had to flee to Egypt.

There were no planes to take them. At best they might have traveled on camels through the desert. They must have suffered from lack of water in the heat of the day.

What kind of life did they have as refugees in Egypt? Today refugees in many countries live in much worse circumstances. Some don’t even have a tent. They are happy to receive blankets from us.

The greeting “Merry Christmas” is not only a seasonal greeting. It’s a reminder that at Christmas we may also give the poor, the refugees, and the persecuted at least some ray of happiness.

(Source: December 2013 VOM newsletter from the December 1994 newsletter)