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Laos: Teaching the Persecutors

Laos children praying

“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. — Luke 6:27-28, NIV

Earlier this year, seven families in a village in Laos gave their lives to Christ. They began traveling to a nearby village every Sunday to worship and fellowship with other Christians.

When leaders in their own village found out about the new Christians’ weekly trips to church, they scolded them. “Christianity is a foreign religion!” the village leaders told the Christians. “It goes against our traditions.”

The Christians could have gotten angry with the leaders and argued with them. They could have quit going to church in the other village and worshiped secretly at home. Or maybe they could have left their village and moved somewhere else.

But this is what they decided to do: They began peacefully meeting with the village leaders to explain the teachings of Christ and the practices of the Christian faith. Now the leaders allow the Christian families to go to church without scolding them.

“Pray that all the village leaders will hear and believe the gospel,” said a VOM worker. “And pray that other village families will join the seven new Christian families in worship.”

To Talk About
Do you think the Christians made a wise choice about how to deal with the village leaders? If so, what are some of the reasons it was a good choice? If not, what would have been a better choice?


VOM Prayer Map Ideas

The Voice of the Martyrs prayer map features countries where Christians face persecution. A VOM volunteer used a VOM prayer map to make a puzzle that can be a reminder to pray for believers around the world.

1. Trim the map to leave only the part you want to highlight for the puzzle.
2. Cover the face of the map with clear contact paper.
3. Glue the map to a large sheet of thin poster board. Trim the poster board if necessary to fit the map.
4. Draw outlines of puzzle pieces on the back of the poster board.
5. Cover the back with clear contact paper.
6. Cut out the puzzle pieces.

Variations
Use the same process to make a placemat, omitting the drawing and cutting of the puzzle pieces. The placemat can guide your mealtime prayers for persecuted Christians.

Or, use a map to make a cover for a book.


Turkey: Pray for Children Who Are Mocked

Turkish girl

A pastor in Turkey shared a prayer request with The Voice of the Martyrs. His children attend an elementary school where most of the students are Muslims. The Muslim students, and even the teachers, mock the children’s Christian beliefs.

The pastor and his wife are working hard to teach their children godly ways, but the children are hearing other ideas from kids at school. They changed schools last year, but they still have problems in the new school.

The pastor asked VOM to let Christians know about the following prayer needs of his family.

*Pray that our children will show the love of Jesus in a place where He is not known.
*Pray that we will teach our children to be lights in the darkness.
*Pray that we will be good examples for our children.


“Thanksgiving Is a Habit”

Thanksgiving is over, but we can still remember to thank God for blessings.

“Christians must have a habit of Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is a choice,” said a recent visitor to The Voice of the Martyrs. “You might be wealthy, but if you choose not to be thankful, you can be miserable. You may have little, but if you choose to be thankful, you can have joy.”

Do you agree? Can you think of a situation where it might be difficult to choose to be thankful?

The visitor who said, “Thanksgiving is a choice” was harshly persecuted in a country where Christian activity is restricted. “I learned to be thankful,” he said. He was thankful for cool breezes and sunshine. He thanked God for giving him faith. He was even grateful to God for teaching him gratitude! And his thankfulness brought him joy.

“As long as your heart is full of joy, you can endure,” the visitor said.

To Talk About
Did you think of a situation where it might be difficult to choose to be thankful? What are some blessings you could be thankful for in that situation?


Thanksgiving Riches

Sabina

Pastor Richard Wurmbrand and his wife, Sabina, were in prison in Romania because of their Christian activities. The 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.”

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!”

Sabina was 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.

“We 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.”

(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?