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Ali: In Love with the Gospel

(Source: VOM Radio. Edited for length and clarity.)

“My family was very religious in Islam,” said Ali, who grew up in Iran. “However, my father was an alcoholic. When I got to be 11 or 12, I started drinking alcohol also. Then I started using drugs. That changed me into a very angry person. I didn’t have many friends.”

Note: Ali and his family were Shiite [SHEE-ite] Muslims. Imams are very important leaders among Shiites. Many Shiites believe that the 12th imam, who disappeared in the 800s A.D., did not die. They believe he will return as “the Mahdi” at the end of the world. Learn more about Shiites here.

Ali did not have peace. He searched for truth and peace through Muslim rituals. “Every day I read from the prayer book,” he said. “I was really interested in the Mahdi, the 12th imam.” Every Tuesday for five years, Ali visited a well where Iranians believe the 12th imam will appear at the end of time.

But nothing happened and Ali still had no peace.

Finding the Light
After a Christian relative witnessed about their faith to Ali’s parents, his parents became Christians, and Ali’s father quit drinking! “I wrestled with it for six months,” said Ali. “From the bottom of my heart, I prayed that the Mahdi would show himself to me.”

But still nothing happened. Finally, Ali prayed, “Jesus, Messiah, I don’t know You. But if You really died for me, show me something that shows You are real.”

That night, Ali dreamed of a bright light streaming into his room. Later he heard a voice saying, “Go to Tehran.” When he obeyed the voice and went to the capital of Iran, he visited a church in the city. “I fell in love with the gospel and became a believer there. Then I got on my knees, and I repented,” said Ali.

Persecution and Spreading the Word
Muslim relatives did not approve of Ali and his parents’ new faith. The relatives took all of their photos out of family photo albums. “My grandfather kicked us all out,” said Ali. “He got all our money, and he kept it.”

Even though they are persecuted, Ali’s family tells others about Jesus when they get the opportunity. “My goal, my desire, is to really share the gospel with Muslims who are under the control of Islam,” Ali said.

Learn more about Christians in Iran in Bold Believers in Iran, available in the Downloads section.


Iranian Date Snack

Cut open lengthwise about ½ pound of dates. Break walnut halves in half lengthwise and insert one walnut piece in each date and close the date. Arrange the dates on a shallow serving dish. Melt a stick of margarine and stir in a half cup of flour over low heat until smooth. Pour the mixture over the dates and let it set before serving.

Learn more about Christians in Iran in Bold Believers in Iran, available in the Downloads section.

 


Tired in the Middle East

A growing number of Muslims in the Middle East are leaving Islam to follow Christ. (Islam is the religion of Muslims.) Muslim friends, relatives, teachers, and bosses may persecute the new Christians for leaving their faith. Christians in the Middle East are fired from their jobs, expelled from school, and kicked out of their homes.

The Christians know that the Bible says, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:10). And like the Christians in the Book of Acts, they know that it is a privilege to suffer for the name of Christ (Acts 5:41).

But Amin, a new Christian in a Middle Eastern country, told VOM contacts that he is exhausted from the persecution he began experiencing about six months ago. Sometimes he feels like he can’t take another step forward in his life. Some other Middle Eastern Christians feel the same.

Please pray that God will restore the strength of tired believers in the Middle East.

Note: Not everyone agrees about what countries make up the Middle East. One common definition includes the countries in southwestern Asia from Iran to Egypt. Egypt is included even though it is part of Africa, not Asia.


Pray with Kids in the United Kingdom

Release International, located in the United Kingdom, is a member of The Voice of the Martyrs’ family of missions. (Read more about VOM’s family of missions around the world here.) Release International encourages kids to pray for Christians in countries where followers of Christ are persecuted. Read some of their recent prayer suggestions below, and choose one to pray for today.

Algerian children

Prayer request: Some children in Algeria can no longer see their dad. After he became a Christian, their mom’s family made her leave him and take the children with her.
Prayer: Dear Father God, please be very close to the children in Algeria who cannot see their dad anymore. Please bless their hearts as they miss their dad very much and he misses them. Help their dad trust You. Give him Your hope, strength and great love. Please help the children and their mom believe in Jesus and see their Dad again. Help their mom’s family believe in Jesus too. Thank you. Amen.

Iranian parents and child

Prayer request: A child’s parents were taken from their home by the police because the parents love and follow Jesus. The dad’s name is Amir Taleipour and the mom is Mahnaz Harati.
Prayer: Dear Jesus, please help this child not be scared but to trust You and know Your love more than ever before. Set the mom and dad free from prison so they can all be together again. Help the mom and dad trust You to look after their child, as they must be so worried. Keep them all safe. Fill their hearts with Your love. Help the police believe in You too. Amen.

Girl in Uzbekistan

Prayer request: Pray for youth in Uzbekistan who are forced by police to sign papers that tell lies about their pastor. The police also tried to force a woman named Lolakhon Umarova to say bad things about her pastor. She said “No,” so the police made her family throw her and her son out of their home.
Prayer: Dear God, please help the boy and his mother to find somewhere safe and nice to live. Please fill the Christian youth in Uzbekistan with Your power, love and truth. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Find more about Christians in Iran, Uzbekistan, and Algeria in Bold Believers in Iran, Bold Believers in Uzbekistan, and Bold Believers in Algeria and Tunisia, available in the Downloads section.

 


Vietnam: Finding Happiness in Prison

Prison cell in Asia

The following story is from the Kids of Courage archives.

Silas was in prison. His cell was about 66 feet long and about 16 feet wide. Fifty-six other men lived in the cell with Silas.

“We slept on cement platforms,” said Silas. “In the morning we ate nothing. At midday and in the evening we ate rice. This rice was cooked from moldy, rotten rice. The bowls were never full, and after a few mouthfuls it was gone.”

Silas was arrested because he took part in a protest to bring attention to the problems of some ethnic groups in Vietnam. In free countries, it is legal to protest in public. But Vietnam is a communist country. Government officials can have people arrested for protesting in public.

The ethnic groups want the freedom to worship the God of the Bible. Vietnamese leaders do not want Christianity to grow among the groups. They also do not want the people in the groups to be able to read the Bible in their own language.

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