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Sharing the Gospel at the Winter Olympics

Russia

Athletes from more than 50 countries will visit Russia this month to take part in the 2014 Winter Olympics. They have been practicing and preparing for years for the opportunity to compete for medals in their sports.

Other groups have also been preparing for many months. Christian volunteers plan to go to Russia, too. They will let athletes and other visitors know the good news that Jesus died for their sins, making it possible for them to follow Him and have a relationship with God. Many of the athletes come from countries where it is not easy to find out the truth about Jesus.

During past Olympics, Christians were not the only ones sharing their faith. Muslim groups have encouraged people to follow the teachings of Muhammad, the founder of Islam.

As you hear about events at this year’s Olympics, remember to pray for Christians who are following God’s command to “make disciples of all the nations” (Matthew 28:19). Pray that athletes and others will open their minds and hearts to God’s love for them.


Christians in the Land Where Jesus Walked

VBS VBS

“A mosque stands on the temple grounds where Jesus faced the high priest. Hundreds of Arab Muslims live near the hill where He is thought to have been crucified. And many support a radical Muslim slogan calling for the elimination of ‘first the Saturday people,’ the Jews, ‘then the Sunday people,’ the Christians. The land where persecution against Christ’s followers began remains a hostile environment for his followers today.”

The words above are from The Voice of the Martyrs magazine.

To Discuss

  • What is a mosque?
  • Why do Muslims call Jews “Saturday people” and Christians “Sunday people?”
  • What is a slogan?
  • Why was Jesus taken before the high priest? (See Matthew 26:57–60.)
  • What does it mean that the land is a “hostile environment” for Christians?

Read a story and watch a video in the post Vacation Bible School Faces Challenges to learn about a VBS in the West Bank. (The Christians in the video are speaking Arabic.)
Learn more about Christians in the Holy Land in Bold Believers in Gaza and the West Bank available in the Downloads section.


“Tween Time” Assists Persecuted Christians

Tween Time

A group of girls from the Tween Time ministry in Texas helps and prays for persecuted Christians. The group includes about 20 sixth grade girls who attend various churches and two different public schools.

Their leader, Marilyn M., used clippings from VOM magazines to make a poster about suffering Christians in Sudan and about VOM’s Action Pack project.

When groups or families order Action Packs from VOM, they receive special bags and a list of items to put in the packs for Christians in Pakistan, Iraq, and Sudan. Examples of items include blankets, jackets, socks, writing pads, pens, and other needed supplies. The bags are shipped back to VOM for distribution.

Marilyn wrote Action Pack items on sticky notes, one item on each note. She attached the notes to the poster. Each girl took a sticky note home and shopped for the item with her family. The group then packed the packs, enclosed photos of their group, and sent them to VOM. They also made Africa “Prayer and Aware” magnets for their school lockers. The magnets remind them to pray and to let others know about the persecution of Christians.

VOM is receiving reports and testimonies from Sudanese Christians telling how they have been blessed by receiving Action Packs and by finding out that Christians in America care about them. The reports will be featured in an upcoming VOM magazine and Kids of Courage blog posts.


Learn About Sri Lanka

Sri LankaSri Lankan schoolchildren

February 4th is Independence Day in Sri Lanka. This year, Sri Lankans will celebrate 65 years of independence from Great Britain.

Schoolchildren in Sri Lanka
A Christian worker in Sri Lanka said, “A Christian child has a time of devotion at home, then goes to school. Buddhist and Hindu children worship statues depicting their gods, and they offer white flowers to the statues as an offering. In school the Buddhist child is encouraged to bring flowers and oil for a lamp placed before a Buddha statue. [Buddha was the founder of Buddhism]

“It is also common to see non-Christian children wearing a white or colored thread around their wrist. They believe this keeps away evil and sickness, and that it helps them in their studies. Hindu girls wear a ‘pottu’ (dot) on their forehead to ‘keep away evil.’”

A report from Sri Lanka said that a 14-year-old Catholic student at a Buddhist school was beaten by his teacher when he could not answer questions about Buddhist history. (Source: U.S. State Department’s International Religious Freedom Report)

Christians in Sri Lanka
In recent years, there has been more persecution of Christians in Sri Lanka. More than 250 churches have been destroyed in violence.

Game and Recipe to Share
Share the following game or recipe from Sri Lanka with a Sunday school class or other group. Then tell them about Christians in Sri Lanka and ask them to pray.

Kotta Pora
Kotta pora is a game played during spring celebrations in Sri Lanka. To play one version of kotta pora, players mark off a space about five feet and five feet. (Kotta pora is sometimes played on a low platform about that size.) Two players face each other with a pillow in one hand. Their other hand is held behind their back, and they stand on only one foot. The players bat at each other with the pillows until one player puts his raised foot down or hops out of the marked-off space. The other player is the winner.

Gingered Bananas
Combine ¼ cup sugar, ¼ cup water, and 1 tablespoon lemon juice in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer for about five minutes until thickened, stirring frequently. Sprinkle ground ginger over three bananas peeled and cut in half lengthwise. Pour hot mixture over bananas. Chill and serve.

Read more stories about Sri Lanka: A Camp That Heals, Part 1 and A Camp That Heals, Part 2.


Amal

IsraelA church service in the Holy Land

Amal
Amal, a Muslim girl in Israel, first heard about Jesus when she was 13. She studied to learn more, but after two years, she still did not know which was true: Christianity or Islam. (Islam is the religion of Muslims.)

One night she prayed, “Okay, God, I want to ask you if you are the God of Islam. Just tell me that you are, and I will wear the hijab [Muslim head covering], and I will do all the prayers that you want.” (Muslims believe they should pray memorized prayers five times a day. Strict Muslims believe that women should wear head coverings.)

Amal continued praying, “But if you are the God of Christians, even if this will lead me to be killed, I will still believe in you.”

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