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No Tests for Christians

Christian youth in Laos

Many students do not like to take tests. But what if your school refused to let you take a test? And what if you needed a good grade on the test to pass to the next grade?

Earlier this year, the leaders of a village in Laos refused to let three girls take their final exams at school. Two of the girls are 15 and one is 14, and they are Christians. The village chief said they had no right to continue their education because they believe in Jesus.

A Christian adult in the village began discussions with the chief and school officials to try to help solve the girls’ problem.

Pray for Christian students in Laos.

Source: iCommittoPray

Starting Over in Chiapas

Some Christians in Chiapas, Mexico, are forced to leave their homes and villages by people who do not agree with their biblical beliefs and practices.

Watch the video below that shows Christians working to rebuild in a new location after they were expelled from their village.

See a previous story from Chiapas.

“Demonstrate Bold Faith”

Keri Aeschliman
Keri Aeschliman

“I’m a child of the living God, saved through the Blood and Righteousness of Jesus Christ. The Lord has given me, as He has given every believer, a story to tell to the world; and that story is called the Gospel. It’s the reason why I sing, why I write, and why I live.” — Keri Aeschliman

Keri Aeschliman was about 13 years old when she learned that Christians in many countries are persecuted for their faith. “It humbles me,” said Keri. “It gives me a bigger version of what the church is. It changes the way I think about church. I realize my experience of church is not what everyone else’s is. It comes at such a high cost for some to worship.”

Keri is now 19. She lives with her family on a farm in Ohio where she helps with harvesting, planting, and keeping the books. Keri enjoys singing; playing the piano, harp, and mountain dulcimer; and attending a Bible study. Recently Keri and her two younger brothers spent several days doing volunteer work at VOM headquarters in Oklahoma.

When Keri was 15, she started a fiction story for a school assignment. The story’s main characters were four friends from a church in America. “I started to get more ideas, and the story just got longer and longer,” Keri said.

The story turned into a book called “In Paths of Righteousness” which will be published this fall. “It is set in the late 1880s and follows the life of a teenage boy and his search for God,” said Keri.

Some of the book’s characters experience persecution when they stand firm in their biblical faith. “I personally think the church is always persecuted to a degree,” said Keri. “Satan is always active….There is always going to be opposition to the truth, and when this opposition rises, do we stand back, pretend we’re not looking, and let it happen? Or do we hold firmly to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and speak out? We have the opportunity to demonstrate bold faith. Let’s pray for the strength and courage to do just that.”

During her visit to VOM, Keri offered the following advice for Christian youth. “Keep your focus on Christ. Be willing to lay aside your desire for His will….It’s easy to get caught up in the distractions this world has to offer. Get rid of idle time and spend more time with the Lord in prayer and reading Scripture.”

Sources: Personal interview and Keri Aeschliman’s blog

Shamil: Beaten with His School Book

Central Asia
VOM workers pray with the family

Shamil was in trouble at school. The teacher of his class in Central Asia wanted him to memorize verses from the Quran, which is the Muslim holy book.

But Shamil and his family are Christians, even though most of the people in their country are Muslims. They became Christians after his mother, Laila, found a crumpled piece of paper under a bench. She unfolded it and saw that it was a newsletter that told stories of Christians.

In her search for more stories like the ones in the newsletter, she first discovered a relative who was secretly interested in Christianity. Then she visited a church where she heard and accepted the good news of Jesus. Soon the rest of Shamil’s family also trusted in Christ.

At School
Shamil’s school used a textbook called Introduction to Islam. (Islam is the religion of Muslims.) When Shamil did not recite Quran verses well, his teacher hit him on the head with the book!

Shamil did not tell his family about the incident for a while, but the beatings at school grew more serious. In addition, other children in the village pointed at Shamil and his brothers and yelled, “Christian! Christian!” as an insult. The youngest brother had scars on his head after Muslim children threw rocks at him.

Laila talked to the parents of the children who threw the rocks. But the parents said it was fine for their children to bully Laila’s kids, because Laila’s family worshiped “another God.”

“Christ is worth it!” Laila said of her family’s hardships. “Blessings follow suffering. After we suffer, we receive new blessings from Christ. We follow Christ’s example. He suffered, and so we will also suffer.”

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. Some faces are covered to protect the identity of Christians at risk.

Trouble in Chhattisgarh

Chhattisgarh is a state in India. The main religion in India is Hinduism. Different villages in Chhattisgarh have different laws, but more and more villages are passing laws against Christians. The following are laws in some Chhattisgarh villages:

  • Non-Hindu prayers are not allowed.
  • Hindus must get permission from the government before they can become Christians.
  • Christians may not get water from village water sources.
  • Christians cannot hold meetings together.
  • Teachings of non-Hindu religions are illegal.

The chart below explains how Hindu beliefs are different from Christian beliefs.

Comparing Hinduism and Christianity

Hindu Teachings Christian Truths
Hindus believe in one main god, called Brahman. Some Hindus pick one god to be their own special god. But Hindu teachings tell of many gods. Hindus are said to have millions of gods. There is one God. “The Lord our God, the Lord is one!” (Deuteronomy 6:4).
Relationship Hindus do not believe that their gods are like fathers to those who worship them. Our Father, God, loves us as His children. “I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty” (2 Corinthians 6:18).
Holy book Hindus respect many Hindu writings. The Vedas are a collection of sacred writings. The Bhagavad-Gita is a respected book of stories. The Bible is the Word of God. “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God” (2 Timothy 3:16).
Life after death Hindus believe in reincarnation—the belief that after people die, they can come back to life again as other people or animals. Karma is the belief that the way someone behaved in a former life determines what they will be in the next life. After a person’s life on earth ends, there is a judgment. “It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). Believers enjoy unbroken fellowship with God for eternity. (See Psalm 16:11.)
Salvation Salvation for Hindus means freedom from being reborn again and again. They believe they become part of their main god when their cycle of birth and death ends. Some of the ways Hindus try to get closer to this “salvation” include rituals, good works, meditation, yoga, and the worship of gods. The only way to eternal life is by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6).