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Cao Stays in Prison

A previous post told about Pastor John Cao who was arrested in March 2017. Cao is a Chinese pastor known for his work helping poor people in Myanmar (Burma). Pastor Cao is married to an American citizen, and they have two sons, Benjamin and Amos. He lives with his family in North Carolina when he is not on mission trips or in prison. You can read more about Pastor Cao here.

Update: ChinaAid reports that a Chinese court failed to grant Cao an appeal, and his seven-year sentence will continue. Only Cao’s 83-year-old mother, his sister, and his lawyer were allowed in the court.

The story of his arrest and imprisonment is told on The site also provides instructions for writing to Cao and other prisoners.

Please continue to pray for Pastor Cao and his family.

Beans and Stones

(The story and activity below come from Stef, the children’s publication of SDOK, a ministry that is part of The Voice of the Martyrs’ family of missions. The fictional story is told from the point of view of a boy in the Netherlands, where SDOK is located.)

Yuk, beans again! I have a huge appetite for food, but not beans. I grumble throughout the entire meal. “Beans make me sick,” I say. “So how can they be healthy?” And I grumble that we also ate healthy food yesterday (spinach) and the day before (cauliflower). My mother doesn’t respond at all, so I just keep on grumbling. Later, after reading the Bible, my mother suddenly says, “Because I thought it was such a delicious meal, Stef can choose his favorite dish tomorrow.”

Okay, that’s not a difficult question. My favorite meal is rice with peanut sauce. It is only mid-afternoon the next day when my mother calls down the stairs to sit at the table. Hey, we never eat that early. There’s something wrong. And yes. The table is normally set, but my plate is full of gray and white things. “What is that?” I ask hesitantly. I suspect some weird punishment.

“I’ll explain,” my mother says. “I was so annoyed by your grumbling at dinner yesterday. While I was cooking, I had read a story about a boy who lives in Vietnam. His father was in a prison camp for 17 years because he loves the Lord Jesus. He had to work hard and only got a bowl of rice to eat once a day. To persecute him even more, prison guards sometimes mixed his rice with small stones. If that happened to you, then you would have a reason to grumble.

“So I am giving you this challenge,” my mother continued. “There are small stones and rice in your bowl. Try to eat the rice without eating any stones. Then I will fix your favorite food.”

Believe it or not, but I still grumbled a bit while separating the rice and stones. But after half an hour I got it right: a plate full of rice without stones. I will never admit it, of course, but I thought this punishment was actually pretty good. And about the story in Vietnam? I’m not going to forget it.

To Do
Before you start eating, do you check carefully whether there are any stones in the food? Fortunately, we don’t worry about stuff in our food. Do you know who is concerned when they get their meal? Christians in Vietnam who are in prison. The guards sometimes put stones in their rice, just to bully them.

*Stir a handful of raisins into a bowl of rice or cereal. Pretend the raisins are stones. Then try to eat the food without getting raisins on your spoon or fork.

*To make peanut sauce, stir together ¼ cup of peanut butter, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and 1 tablespoon of soy sauce. (Optional: ½ teaspoon of garlic and ½ teaspoon of lemon juice.) Heat and stir to blend, then serve over rice.

Vietnam: Twan

Twan’s parents working

(The story below comes from Stef, the children’s publication of SDOK, a ministry in the Netherlands that is part of The Voice of the Martyrs’ family of missions.)

Hi, I am Twan and I am about 10 years old. I say “about,” because in my country, your birthday is not very important. So I don’t know exactly how old I am. I was born in Vietnam. Not in a big city, but in the mountains. It is very beautiful and green.

Our Government
Our country is Communist. That means that the country is ruled by one party, and that is of course, the Communist Party. The government is very strict. People are closely monitored throughout the country. The government is not happy with people who are Christians. They think that we love the government less if we are Christians. I don’t know if that is true, but I do know that I love the Lord Jesus. God is the best for me.

And everyone at my home believes that. In the past, this was not the case. It has changed because of me.

Very Sick
One day I became very sick. Whatever my parents tried, nothing helped. In another village, there lived someone who believes in God and prays when someone is sick. My parents were so worried about me that they asked him for advice. He taught them who God is and how to pray. He also gave them a Bible.

God Heals!
My parents immediately started praying for me, and I was healed. My father was super enthusiastic and told anyone who wanted to hear that I was healed and who had healed me. Soon the whole village knew, so my father went to another village to talk about God. He went from village to village with this great news.

Much Taken Away
Sadly, my father’s family did not find it good news at all. When my father came home one day, relatives were waiting for him, and he got a beating. They also chased us out of the house and we fled to my grandmother’s house in another village. My father waited a while, thinking that his family’s anger would die down. He wanted to collect his cows that were left behind, because you cannot bring in a harvest without cows. He was really sad when he saw that our house was gone, our cows were gone, and our land was sold. His family had done that. How mean is that!

Happy with God
Yet my parents have no regrets that they believe in the Lord Jesus. We have lost a lot, but we have recovered much more: God’s love in our hearts and our safety in Him.

Bye, Twan.

Color a Drawing from Vietnam

Workers from The Voice of the Martyrs-USA and VOM’s sister mission in the Netherlands (SDOK) visited persecuted Christians in Vietnam. One of the children they visited drew a coloring page for them.

Watch the girl draw the page in the video clip, then print the page to color.

The captions and title on the video are in Dutch, the language of the Netherlands. The title says, “Dep from Vietnam makes a drawing.”

For more Kids of Courage coloring pages, check the activity books in the Downloads section of this site.

Bun and Lao

(The story below comes from Stef, the children’s publication of SDOK, a ministry that is part of The Voice of the Martyrs’ family of missions. SDOK is in the Netherlands. Lao, who is not a Christian, tells the story.)

Hi, I’m Lao. My name is similar to the name of my country, Laos. My neighbor’s name is Bun. I think she is super nice. Recently her stepmother asked me if I had seen Bun. I knew Bun had gone to church with someone. But her stepmother looked so angry that I didn’t dare say anything.

A little later I heard noise at their house. I saw the stepmother pulling Bun’s hair. “Where were you?” she yelled. “I couldn’t find you anywhere!”

“I went to church,” Bun said nervously. Bun recently told me that she knows the Lord Jesus and that she follows Him. And also that her family is not happy with it.

Then her father also began to attack her. “Do you know what others think about Christians?” he shouted. He slapped her. He started to kick her, but her brothers and sisters jumped in between him and Bun.

Go Away!
The last time I saw Bun was when I heard noise in the cabin again. I peeked inside and saw Bun’s father throw all kinds of clothes in a suitcase. He told Bun to go away. He looked really angry. Thankfully, someone came from Bun’s church and helped her leave. That’s the last time I saw her.

Bible School
I have heard that the people of her church took care of Bun and that she was attending a Bible school. I’m quite curious about that. If Bun loves the Lord Jesus so much, then I think He must be very special.

To Talk About
Lao is not a Christian. What did he say that shows that he might be thinking about following Jesus? What led him to wonder more about Jesus and His teachings?