Donate | VOM Resources

Stef’s Riddle

Give Thanks

The story below comes from Stef, the children’s publication of SDOK, The Voice of the Martyrs’ sister mission in the Netherlands. The story is told from the point of view of a boy in the Netherlands.

Boredom
I’m bored and not just a little bit. My sister is doing something only girls like, my dad is at work, and my mom has been cleaning the attic for hours. When I see the mess in the attic, I don’t think she will have time for me the rest of the week. But I’m going to try.

“Mom! I’m bored!” I yell. “Good!” Mom answers from behind a stack of rubbish. “You have time to think about God!”

Booklet
I must look puzzled. Mom is laughing and flipping through a booklet. Ah, that’s why cleaning takes so long.

It is a booklet about kids who say special things about God. She hands me the booklet and points to a story that tells what a dad said to a kid who was bored.

Riddle
The dad told the kid a riddle. I have heard the riddle somewhere before, but I am curious about the answer, so I read the story.

The riddle goes like this: A man on a river bank has a wolf, a lamb, and a cabbage. He wants to get them safely on the other bank. He is only allowed to take one at a time in his boat.

If he takes the wolf first, the lamb will eat the cabbage. If he takes the cabbage first, the wolf will eat the lamb. He could take the lamb first, but on the next crossing, he will have to take either the wolf or the cabbage. In both cases, one of the objects would be eaten on the other shore unless the man stayed with them to prevent it.

A girl in the book offered this solution to the riddle: “We should pray for Jesus to return, because when He does, the wolf and the lamb will be friends (Isaiah 11:6). The cabbage will be safe, too, because the kingdom of God is not a matter of food and drink (Romans 14:17).

I think the girl had a good answer. I read it out loud to mom.

“Indeed,” Mom says. “Hopefully it will happen soon, and then there will be no more sad things like the kidnapping of girls in Nigeria and people put in prison in North Korea.”

Being Bored Is Good
Mom and I are quiet together. Then Mom says, “I’m glad you are bored. Now we have time to think about God together.”

(Sources: SDOK, From the Lips of Children by Richard Wurmbrand, available from The Voice of the Martyrs. Preview is recommended before sharing the book with children.)

Note: The answer to the riddle is as follows. On his first trip across the river, the man takes the lamb. The wolf and the cabbage stay behind. The man returns alone and takes the cabbage on his second trip across. He leaves the cabbage and puts the lamb back in his boat. He takes the lamb back, leaves it, and picks up the wolf. He leaves the wolf across the river with the cabbage, and returns and gets the lamb. Soon all three are safely with the man on the opposite shore.


A Visit to Prison

A worker from The Voice of the Martyrs visited a woman in China whose husband is in prison for his work in a Christian bookstore. Watch the video below to hear about her visit.

(Learn more about “Rainbow” and her family here.)


Philippines: Pastor’s Family Stays — For Now

Filipino girl in church

A pastor in the Philippines works among Christians in an area where radical Muslims are threatening Christians. He told the following story to workers from The Voice of the Martyrs.

I am a pastor. I am married, and I have three daughters.

One morning I told my second daughter to take a bath for school. I was surprised when she just looked at me and didn’t move.

I told her again to take a bath. But she said, “Papa, our teacher told us yesterday that Christians can be absent because we might be kidnapped.”

I admit I had mixed feelings. What should a father do? Five months ago one of the active youth in our church was kidnapped. He is still in the hands of his kidnappers. We don’t have any news about him.

“We Only Are Left Behind”
One Sunday after church my eldest daughter came to me crying. “Papa, all my Sunday school friends’ families are moving away,” she said. “We only are left behind. Let’s move away, too. It is no longer safe here.”

I said to her, “Darling, we should not do that unless the Lord would tell us to leave. If it is His will to stay, we must stay; we must obey Him.” But deep inside me I am affected because the reality is that not a week passes without our hearing news of a kidnapping and bad activities that have occurred.

For now the church is concentrating on prayer and fasting. Those who are left behind continue with their cell groups and discipleship. They are training children to be members of the praise and worship team.

Tempted to Blame
Sometimes I am tempted to blame the government and the authorities [for not protecting us]. But thank God for His Word. It corrects me of my feelings. We should pray and fast for the people in authority and for the people in my community.

I thank God also for The Voice of the Martyrs. They help me know that I am not alone in doing my ministry.

(Source: VOM contacts. Edited and paraphrased from the original for clarity, length, and reading level.)

What Would You Do?

  • What would you do if you were the pastor’s second daughter? Would you want to go to school?
  • What would you do if you were the eldest daughter?
  • What would you do if you were the pastor?
  • How would you want Christians in other countries to pray for you if you were in this family’s situation?

A 20th Century Saul, Part 2

Saul to Paul

The previous post told about Gheorghita Stratulat, a policeman in Romania who persecuted Christians. He began to seek God after his daughter was born deaf, mute, and paralyzed. A Christian woman came to his office and told him that God can heal.

Later at home he asked his wife, Elena, “What do you know about God?” He began talking to Christians and asking if God could heal his daughter. “I don’t know if you exist, God,” he prayed. “But please, if You do, show me by healing my child.”

Finally Stratulat visited a pastor he had arrested many times. “I am looking for God,” he told the pastor. The pastor was fearful of Stratulat, but he counseled him and guided him.

Stratulat prayed for several months. And one morning, his daughter spoke, “Ta-Ta,” she said, using the Romanian word for “Daddy.” Then she began to walk.

Stratulat was overjoyed. He had become a loving husband, and soon Elena joined him in following Christ.

Arrests and Freedom
But not everyone was happy about their new beliefs. One of Stratulat’s older children complained to school officials that his parents wanted him to become a Christian. The police arrested his parents.

After several more arrests, the police sent his whole family, which now included seven children, to a secret prison camp in the mountains.

In 1989 a revolution removed the communist leaders of Romania from power. Stratulat and his family were free. He became an evangelist, sharing the love of Jesus with many former communists.

To Discuss
Read the post “Saul in Damascus

  • How was Stratulat like Paul?
  • How was the church pastor like Ananias?
  • Is there anyone with whom you would be afraid to share the gospel?

A 20th Century Saul

Saul to Paul

Read the two previous posts about persecutors becoming Christians. Then read the story below about a 20th century “Saul.”

Gheorghita Stratulat was a policeman in Romania. Like many people in Romania at that time, he had been taught that there is no God.

The communist leaders of the land allowed some Christian activities, but the government was mostly hostile toward Christians and Christianity.

As part of his job, Stratulat spied on Christians who met secretly for worship, arrested them, and put them in prison. At home, he drank a lot of alcohol and spoke harshly to his wife, Elena.

Then something happened that made Stratulat very sad. His fifth child, Ana-Mihaela, was born deaf, mute, and paralyzed. For several years Stratulat told everyone about Ana-Mihaela to try to find someone who could help her. He told doctors, other policemen at work, and his neighbors. But Ana-Mihaela did not improve.

God Can Help
One day a woman came to Stratulat’s police station and said, “I know a doctor who can help your daughter….He is my God.”

Stratulat was angry. He raised his police baton to hit the woman, but then, surprisingly, he passed out. The Christian woman threw water in his face to wake him up. He kicked her out of his office.
Read the next post to find out how Stratulat changed from being a persecutor to a follower of Christ.

(Source: Saul to Paul, available at VOMBooks.com. Please preview the book before sharing with children.)