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The Source of Strength and Power

Khmu children
Khmu children

The Khmu are a tribal group in Southeast Asia. Most Khmu live in Laos. Many Khmu worship and fear spirits that they believe are in rocks, trees, water, and other places. The Good News of Jesus Christ is very good news to the Khmu! They are happy to learn that God loves them and that they no longer have to fear spirits.

But local leaders in some part of Laos try to stamp out Christianity. Officials sometimes arrest Christians and take away their land. But Khmu people continue to come to Christ.

A Christian leader who teaches Khmu people about Jesus shared the following information with The Voice of the Martyrs.

“My daily spiritual food is to wake up at 4:30 or 5:00 a.m. every day to read the Bible (eight chapters) and pray for at least one hour. I name both Khmu and non-Khmu people in my prayer, about 500 to 600 names that I remember. I don’t forget to pray for the nations of Israel, Jerusalem, Canada, the United States, England, etc.

“I asked my team to try to do what I’m doing. I believe strongly that prayer and Bible reading are the source of strength and power of Christian living.”

(Edited from the original source for clarity.)

To Think About

  • Why do you think Khmu people continue to come to Christ even though Khmu Christians are persecuted?
  • What does the Christian leader say are the strength and power of Christian living?
  • You may not be able to visit any countries where Christians are persecuted this year. But are there any countries that you can’t pray for? Do you have faith that God can use your prayers to help persecuted Christians around the world?

Uzbekistan Update

ShestakovThe Shestakov family

Dmitri Shestakov spent four years in prison in Uzbekistan for his Christian work. Pastor Shestakov has three daughters: Vera, Masha, and Sasha.

You can find previous posts about his family in the following stories:

Pastor Shestakov recently told a VOM worker about some of his experiences in prison. “[My wife] came to visit me, traveling a thousand kilometers [about 620 miles] even for very short visits when all we could do was talk through the phone separated by the thick glass wall.

“She brought food and other needed items, but most important, she brought with her memorized passages form the Scriptures. I did not have a Bible there. It was a blessing, a huge blessing.”

To Discuss and Do

  • What did Pastor Shestakov say was the more important thing his wife brought him in prison?
  • Find a Bible verse you would share with a prisoner if you could visit him, and memorize the verse.

“Don’t Think About the Horrible Things”

Refugee camp in India

(The story below is from SDOK, VOM’s sister mission in the Netherlands. It has been translated and edited from the original.)

Dhiren lives in a refugee camp in India. At the moment, the camp is his home. He didn’t always live in the camp. A few years ago, everything was different. Back then, he still had a house and a dad. He can remember it well, but he doesn’t want to think about it often. “It only makes me sad,” he said.

But on this day, he is thinking about it. His mother is telling visitors to the camp what happened. “My husband and I had three children and we loved the Lord Jesus a lot,” said his mother. “My husband loved to teach others from the Bible.

“A lot of Hindus lived in our neighborhood,” Dhiren’s mother continued. “Many of them were not happy with us, but I did not expect it would get out of hand the way it did.

“One day there was an attack, and I fled with my children into the woods. My mother-in-law lived in our house, and my husband stayed with her. Angry Muslims lit our house on fire.”

Sadly, Dhiren’s grandmother and father died from injuries received during the Hindu’s attack. “And our house is gone, and that is why we live here,” said Dhiren’s mother.

“When I think about what happened, I lose hope,” she continued. “But then I pray. God is alive, and he gives me strength and comfort.

“Now that you’ve heard my story, don’t think only about the horrible things that have happened,” Dhiren’s mother urged the visitors. “Think above all about our special God who even in all this misery is very close to us. He is full of love and gives us comfort in our grief.”

Will you pray that Dhiren and all refugees will be comforted by God in their sadness?

(Source: SDOK)

“Not Even Children Were Spared”

Bold Believers in Eritrea

Officials in Eritrea continue to arrest Christians for practicing their faith. A few months ago, police arrested more than 180 Christians as they gathered to pray for the situation in their country. About 80 of the Christians were women and children.

The women and children were required to sign a statement saying they would no longer meet together for prayer. Then they were released. Men in the group and those who did not sign the agreement were kept in jail.

A Christian in Eritrea said, “The fact that not even children were spared is an indication of the severity of the persecution of the church in Eritrea.”

Enter “Eritrea” in the search box for more information about Christians in Eritrea, or download Bold Believers in Eritrea from the Downloads section.

Bethlehem Family Separated

Gaza and the West Bank

Bethlehem, where Jesus was born, is a city in the West Bank today. It is about six miles from Jerusalem. Christians live in Bethlehem, but most of the people are Muslims.

Saif, the father of five children, was a Muslim in Bethlehem. After studying the Bible, he gave his life to Christ. But his wife was not ready to become a Christian.

Saif’s five Muslims brothers told him to choose between them and Christ; they did not want a Christian in their family. Saif chose Christ.

Saif shares his faith with people who do not know the truth about Jesus. As a result, he has been arrested and has had to move to Jerusalem to continue sharing the gospel. His wife and children still live in the West Bank. Saif visits with his wife in Jerusalem often, and has encouraged her to read the Bible. He believes she will soon turn her life over to Christ.

Pray for families who are separated because of the faith of someone in the family. Pray for Saif’s brothers, wife, and children.