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Smuggling and Easter

Richard Wurmbrand started The Voice of the Martyrs after spending 14 years in Romanian prisons for his faith. From the beginning, VOM workers helped persecuted Christians and smuggled Bibles into countries where Christian work was illegal.

Pastor Wurmbrand wrote, “Is it right for Christians to sometimes do illegal things [like smuggling Bibles]?”

Here is how he answered the question:

“One night, the Light of the world ‘smuggled’ Himself into Bethlehem as a baby. Then He was crucified and buried. A seal was put on His grave by the authorities. Everyone knew that no one was supposed to break a government seal.

“But angels are not bound by earthly laws. An angel rolled away the stone, not caring about the seal.

“Would we have advised Jesus to abide by the law and remain in the grave after the authorities had sealed the tomb? Jesus ‘smuggled’ Himself out of the grave and into life again.

“Some people think we should not break the laws of rulers [who don’t all allow Bibles to be brought into their country]. Jesus broke the law of gravity and ascended into heaven [Acts 1:9].”

(Source: Reaching Toward the Heights by Richard Wurmbrand. Edited and paraphrased for length, clarity, and age appropriateness.)

To Talk About
*Read 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 and Acts 1:9. Then tell what the verses say in your own words.

*Read the chart about Bible smuggling here. Do you think Christians should obey the laws of anti-Christian countries that forbid handing out Bibles?

Zanzibar: Harsh Treatment for Christian Kids

Tanzania is on the coast of East Africa. On the Tanzanian island of Zanzibar where most of the people are Muslims, Christians have faced persecution for a long time.

Workers from The Voice of the Martyrs recently encouraged Christians from Zanzibar. The workers learned more about the struggles faced by the Christians’ children. Read below what one of the workers said.

Islamic Classes for Christian Students
The Zanzibar government requires that every public school teach Arabic and Islamic studies. [Islam is the religion of Muslims.] Every student must pass exams on Arabic and Islam. If they fail either exam, the students will not be allowed to graduate.

[The official language of Tanzania is Swahili, but many people also speak Arabic. Muslims believe that the true meaning of the Quran can be fully learned only in Arabic. The Quran is the Muslim holy book.]

Free to Be Bullies
Teachers are also encouraged to single out Christian students with harsh discipline and constant rebuke of their beliefs. They are discouraged from punishing Muslim students who harass their Christian peers. One Christian told us the story of his elementary-age son. The boy is one of only two Christians in his entire school. One day a group of Muslim boys locked him in the outhouse [outdoor toilet] for hours. Not even a word was spoken to reprimand the Muslim boys.

Tanzania Sunday school

(Source: VOM contacts. Edited for length, clarity, and age-appropriateness.)

Myanmar (Burma): “We Are Not Ashamed”

Young Buddhist monks

The previous post told about a Christian family in Myanmar (Burma) whose house was destroyed by a mob throwing big rocks — while the family was inside!

A VOM worker talked to two girls who were inside during the attack: Memesan, age 12, and Nunuway, age 9.

Read the previous post about the attack, then read below what the girls told the worker.

The Girls’ Story

We were praying. We were very quiet. And then they started throwing the rocks.

When they started to throw the rocks, we went into the inner room. We opened the lid of the clothing box and put our heads in to protect them from the rocks. Our main door was broken, and also the back door was broken. That’s why we went into the inner room.

We heard very loud sounds from the rocks hitting the roof. We heard people cursing us from outside. “Where is your God?” they said. We were afraid, but we did not cry. We prayed. I was with my grandma. The side of the wall near us was suddenly broken, so we ran to the other side of the room with the rest of the family.

Broken parts of the rocks hit our back and our feet, but not our head. The backs of our neck hurt because we stayed too long putting our heads in the box.

The people outside stuck bamboo poles into the house to see if we were still alive. Our youngest brother, 4 years old, was very thirsty, and he asked for water. There was nothing to drink because all the pots that had water in them were broken.

They stopped throwing rocks for a little bit. During that time we peeked out of the holes, and we could see even children standing out there. Even high school students and children-aged [Buddhist] monks were there. Our house was dark because all the lights were broken, but we could see the street where they were standing.

We went to school in that village, but because of this we have to move to a different school. [They are the only Christian children in the school.] In school we are forced to chant Buddhist chants every morning. We do not say anything. We just put our hands together, and we just stand there with everyone and wait until it’s over. At lunchtime or when we pray at school, people look at us like we are very strange. They ask, “What are you saying?”

Many people bully us. Many people make fun of us. They say, “We can’t even see your God.”

We are sad.
We are not ashamed.
We are not afraid.
But we don’t say anything back.

(Source: VOM contacts. Edited for clarity, length, and age appropriateness.)

The Voice of the Martyrs is helping and encouraging Memesan and Nunuway’s family. Read more about VOM’s Family of Martyrs fund here.

Myanmar (Burma): Nine Truckloads of Rocks

A Christian from Myanmar (Burma) told VOM workers what happened after two girls in his country gave their lives to Christ.

Read his story below.

Two sisters learned about Jesus and they joyfully accepted Him as their Lord and Savior. Then they eagerly shared the gospel with their brothers, other sisters, and parents. After a few months, the whole family became Christians and were baptized!

The Buddhist leaders in the town were not happy. One leader told them, “If you don’t give up following Jesus, we can’t protect you, and your life may be in danger.” The girls’ father replied, “Jesus gave His life for us. We will follow Him whatever the cost.”

Later that day, after the family returned home, a large truck pulled up and dumped a load of big rocks in front of their house. Four times the truck drove away and came back with another load of rocks. Then the driver brought four loads of rocks to the back of the house.

The family didn’t know what was happening. The next day, as they sang quietly and prayed together, a mob of about 200 people came to their home and begin throwing the big rocks at the house. The children lay on the floor, and the parents covered them with their own bodies. The mob threw rocks for about four hours, and the house was destroyed.

The attackers listened closely, but they heard no sound from under the rubble. “Everyone must be dead,” they thought. Then they gathered firewood and gasoline to burn the remains of the house. But neighbors stopped the plan — they were afraid the fire would spread to their houses.

A policeman and the family’s pastor heard what had happened and came to the place where the house had stood. They found everyone in the family alive! God had protected them! But the parents were seriously injured.

The family and several of their relatives now live in their church. The Voice of the Martyrs is providing food and other necessities for them. They are grateful for the help and encouragement they have received.

(Source: Edited and paraphrased for clarity, length, and age appropriateness.)

To Think About
*Set a timer or alarm for a four-hour period. After the time has passed, think about the family that was inside for that length of time while rocks were hitting their house. Pray for strength for Christians who are being persecuted right now for their faith.

*Why did the girls’ father say he would not deny Jesus?

*What do you think the people in the mob thought when the Christians were found alive?

In the next post, read what two of the children who were inside the house said about the attack.

Easter Luminary

Needed: Paper; a 2-inch jar lid or other circular object; scissors; pencils; a small, sturdy craft bag with handles

Note: Some Coptic Christians in Egypt tattoo a cross on the inside of their wrist as a reminder of their Christian faith. Gangs that kidnap Christians remove the cross tattoos of their victims. But they can’t remove Jesus from the Christians’ hearts.