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Christmas Care in Nigeria

Girl

Children around the world receive Bibles and gifts through The Voice of the Martyrs’ Christmas Care project. Nigeria was one of the countries where VOM distributed gifts to children in areas where Christians have been persecuted.

In many places in Nigeria, it is not always safe to be a Christian. A radical Muslim group, Boko Haram, attacks Christians and others they don’t agree with. Many children have lost parents in the attacks.

When 2,000 Nigerian Christian children gathered to get their Christmas Care gifts, some were afraid. A Christian adult said, “The recent activities of the Boko Haram created fear in the hearts of many who were in attendance.”

But God protected the children. Each of them received a children’s Bible, noodles, a notebook, pencils, a “football” (soccer ball), a pen, bottled milk, cabin biscuits (crackers), a bag of rice, and other items. The children were grateful for the gifts.

Read below one of them said.

“My name is Johnson. I live in an orphanage. I lost my mother, and I don’t know anything about my father. I was living with my grandmother before she took me to the orphanage due to her inability to take care of me.

“I will pray for [VOM] so that God will continue to grant them the heart and strength to do what they are doing. I am very happy seeing you among us. Your gifts tell us that we are not alone. To other children who have lost their parents, I want to tell them that they should not lose courage because we have a great Parent who can do more than what our earthly parents can do for us.”

For information about this year’s Christmas Care project to help children in countries where VOM works around the world, see the November 2015 The Voice of the Martyrs newsletter or visit VOMBooks.com.

(Source: VOM-Nigeria. Edited and paraphrased for clarity and length.)


Thanksgiving: The Riches of Faith

Sabina

Pastor Richard Wurmbrand and his wife, Sabina, were in prison in Romania because of their Christian activities. Their prisons were miserable, dirty places. Guards fed them poorly and treated them harshly.

Sabina wrote about her prison experiences in a book called The Pastor’s Wife. She noted in her book that most of the other prisoners around her were unhappy and hopeless.

But Sabina was thankful. “Those of us who had faith realized for the first time how rich we were,” she said. “The youngest Christians and the weakest had more strength to call upon than the wealthiest ladies and the smartest ones.

“[People without faith] often seemed to dry up like indoor plants in the wind. Heart and mind were empty.”

Sabina was also very thankful for Bible verses she had memorized before she went to prison. She later wrote, “We had no Bible. We hungered for it more than bread. How I wished I’d learned more of it by heart! But we repeated daily the verses we knew. Other Christians, like me, had memorized long passages, knowing that soon their time would come for arrest.

“They brought riches to prison. While others quarreled and fought, we lay on our mattresses and repeated verses to ourselves through the long nights. We learned what newcomers brought and taught them what we knew. So an unwritten Bible circulated through all Romania’s prisons.

“After work, women came to Christian prisoners and asked, even begged, to be told something of what we remembered from the Bible. The words gave hope, comfort, and life.”

One day, a professor’s wife came to Sabina in the prison and said, “How happy you must be to be able to think and keep your mind busy and pray! I try to remember a poem… and my mind goes back to this horrible prison. I can’t concentrate.”

(Source: The Pastor’s Wife, by Sabina Wurmbrand. Edited for length, clarity, and reading level.)

To Talk About

  • What were two things for which Sabina was thankful?
  • Why had some prisoners memorized Bible verses before they went to prison?
  • What were the “riches” the Christian prisoners brought to prison?

Persecuted Church Grows in Nepal

Nepal child
Child praying in Nepal

Coloring Page
Coloring page to print and color

Matthew, a Christian who helps The Voice of the Martyrs in Nepal, recently talked to VOM workers in the United States about his work in his home country. “We always talk about persecution, and about how we will stand when persecution comes,” said Matthew. “We talk about Acts 7 and how when Stephen was persecuted, he said, ‘Father, forgive them.’

“There are very few Christians in Nepal,” Matthew continued. “So nobody listens to our voices. Only God listens to us. So we pray, ‘Please give us more courage to withstand when the persecution comes.’

“We have many, many stories of [Christians forgiving people who have persecuted them],” said Matthew. “A pastor invited me to speak at his church. Then two years ago, six Christians’ houses were burned completely [by persecutors]. When I went back to the church, there were 85 Christians in the church. The first time when I went, there were only 24 Christians.

“I asked, ‘How did the church grow?’ The new members said, ‘These wonderful Christians forgave us after their houses were burned down and we believe in Christ now because of them.’

“One of the reasons the church is growing in Nepal is because of the Christians’ patience toward the persecutors.”

(Source: VOMRadio.net. Edited and paraphrased from the original for clarity and length.)

To Talk About

  • How many people were in the church before the Christians’ houses burned down? How many attended after the houses were burned?
  • Why did the new members become Christians?
  • What is “patience?”
  • Think of some places where it is common for people to lack patience. (Examples: Waiting in lines, dealing with someone who has treated you badly, etc.) How could a Christian show patience in those situations? How could showing patience encourage someone to want to know more about Christianity?

Thinking of Quitting

Burned church
A church destroyed in Nepal

The Voice of the Martyrs hears many stories about the courage of persecuted Christians. But “persecuted Christians are not super Christians,” said a VOM worker. “They are ordinary people who through God’s grace and power have been enabled to do extraordinary things. We serve the same God and have access to the same grace and power.”

Like other people, persecuted Christians sometimes get discouraged. VOM-USA workers recently talked with a worker from Nepal who helps persecuted Christians in his country. Read below what he said about times when he has been discouraged.

A couple of years ago I thought of quitting VOM and moving to another country to settle down. But my wife reminded me what would happen [to the persecuted Christians] if we left.

Even though we have lots of trouble and problems and discouragement….I feel like I should do more. Everybody calls The Voice of the Martyrs “a Christian ambulance” because we help people.

Many times I have felt tired and wanted to quit, but Matthew 11:28 says, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

My wife is my right hand. Sometimes I feel pressure to do [wrong things to enemies]. She said, “No, don’t do that. I have never read in the Bible about any Christian raising a hand toward the enemy.” So I stopped saying that.

Please pray that God will give me another 20 years to my life so we can do double what we have been doing. Many people are targeting me. Maybe they will find me alone and maybe I will lose my life. So pray for me.

(Source: VOMRadio.net. Edited and paraphrased from the original for clarity and length.)

To Talk About

  • Why do Christians in Nepal call The Voice of the Martyrs “the Christian ambulance?”
  • What does he mean when he says his wife is his “right hand?”
  • Why does he want 20 more years added to his life?
  • Who helps you when you are discouraged?
  • How can you help other Christians who are discouraged?

September 11 and Terrorists

On September 11, 2001, terrorists attacked two locations in the United States. The 19 terrorists hijacked four planes full of passengers and crashed two of them into New York’s World Trade Center on purpose. They crashed a third plane into the Pentagon, which is the headquarters of the U.S. military in Washington, D.C. A fourth hijacked plane crashed in a Pennsylvania field after passengers tried to stop the hijackers. Many died when the World Trade Center buildings collapsed.

The terrorists believed they were following the teachings of strict Islam.

The chart below compares terrorists’ beliefs with Christian responses.

Terrorist Beliefs and Christian Responses

Terrorist Beliefs Christian Responses
Fear
Terrorists use threats and violence to try to force others to do what they want. Terrorism is often carried out against innocent people who are no threat to the terrorists. Terrorists try to control people by scaring them. “Many look at terrorists with fear, others with hate. Jesus fears and hates no one. Like God who gives sunshine and rain to all, so He loves and desires to forgive and save all” (Richard Wurmbrand, founder of The Voice of the Martyrs)
Power Terrorists believe in using anger, hate, greed, and violence to get power. Richard Wurmbrand shared that the secret of real power is love, mercy, goodness, good character, and being a servant, as Jesus taught. (See Matthew 3:1–14 and Romans 12:21.)
Who is in control? Terrorists believe that there are powerful people or groups who cause all their problems. They think getting rid of those people will fix everything. God has placed Jesus “far above all rule and authority, power and dominion” (Ephesians 1:21, NIV) We can trust in Him. (See Proverbs 3:5.)
Success Terrorists think that conquering people in power will mean success. Jesus said, “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul” (Mark 8:36)?
Changing the world Terrorists believe the way to get desirable things is to change the world by acts of terrorism. Christians know that only Jesus has the key to eternal peace. His truth is for all places and all times. Fighting for wrong causes can fail. When someone trusts in God, they cannot fail forever.

Find another chart about terrorist beliefs here.

Additional charts comparing Christian truths with other worldviews are in the Beliefs section of this site.