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Praying for More Sauls in Damascus

A child in Syria

Recently a worker from The Voice of the Martyrs visited with Syrian pastors and church leaders at a meeting in the Middle East. Some of the church leaders live in Damascus, the capital of Syria. The group began to talk about the story of Ananias from the Book of Acts. (See the previous post about Saul and Ananias in Damascus.)

In the Bible story, Ananias was scared of Saul because he knew that Saul had persecuted and arrested Christians. But Ananias obeyed God. He met and encouraged Saul, who had become a Christian believer.

Needed: More Sauls
The Syrian pastors and leaders at the meeting talked about what they would do if a known persecutor of Christians called their church today and asked to meet with a pastor. What if the caller was a member of a radical Muslim group that has attacked Christians?

“I would be very afraid,” one of the church leaders said.

“What if it was a trap?” said another.

After some discussion, the Syrian Christians said they would be faithful to God. They would meet with the caller and witness for Jesus.

“Our prayer is that as they pray, God will take many more Sauls in Syria and turn them into Pauls who will carry His message to their nation,” said a VOM worker. “Will you join in that prayer?”

Saul in Damascus

The following excerpt is from Paul: God’s Courageous Apostle. Damascus, a city in the story, still exists in Syria today. To learn more about this and other children’s resources, visit the resource page on this site.

Saul patted the pouch on his hip as his horse galloped along the stone road. He glanced back at the men riding with him to the city of Damascus.

Hmph! he thought smugly. We’ll finally get rid of those followers of Christ for good!

Saul and his men hunted down Christians all over Jerusalem, hauling them to prison. Like a wild man, Saul burst into homes dragging Christians away. As word spread of the arrests, followers of Christ fled to Damascus.

Saul looked at the pouch that held the papers to arrest the Christ followers in Damascus. They won’t be safe for long, he thought. No, they won’t be safe for long.

Saul and his men were tired from the week-long journey. Beads of sweat slid down their faces. “It won’t be long now men!” announced Saul when the city came into view.

Just then, the horses began to whinny and snort. “Easy, now!” Saul said, patting his horse. Suddenly a blinding light shone from heaven.

“Saul,” said a voice from the light. “Why are you persecuting me?” Saul fell to the ground. He squinted his eyes as he looked up into the light.

“Who — who are you, Lord?” Saul stammered. Saul’s men were surprised and confused. It wasn’t like Saul to be at a loss for words.

Read the rest of this entry »

Iraq: One Christian Family

Rebekah and her family have joy in the Lord

Parents and Teachers: The November 2014 The Voice of the Martyrs magazine includes stories of Christians in Syria and Iraq. To subscribe to the free monthly magazine, visit our subscription signup page. As you read the magazines, you may want to share stories from this site about the featured Christians with your children. Then pray together for the people in the stories.

Rebekah and her three children were leaving their home in Iraq. Rebekah’s husband was not with them. Two years earlier he had died as a martyr for his Christian witness. Now Muslims from a radical group called “IS” (“Islamic State”) were threatening all Christians in their area.

Rebekah and her family are grateful to have a car that was provided by The Voice of the Martyrs after her husband died. Many fleeing Iraqi Christians have to walk 10 to 14 hours to reach a safe place.

After they reached the city of Erbil, the family followed other Christians to a church. But the church was filled with refugees, and there was no room for another family. (Refugees are people who flee from an unsafe place to a safer place.)

They found another church, but it was also packed with people fleeing the danger. Finally Rebekah and her family were allowed to stay in the office of a Christian ministry.

Miriam, Rebekah’s oldest daughter, recently finished her second year of college. Because of the fighting in her country, she was not able to take her final exams. She won’t get credit for her school work.

The family does not know what the future holds for them. But they still have hope and joy in the Lord, who holds everyone’s future in His hands. (See the photo. Their faces are covered to protect their identity.)

Pray for Rebekah’s family and other Christians who have had to leave their homes in Iraq and Syria.