Donate | VOM Resources

New Ways to Share

Syrian dad and son

Todd Nettleton of VOM Radio recently talked with Brother John, a Christian worker in Syria. Read part of their conversation below. (Edited for length, clarity, and age-appropriateness.)

Todd: What does the coronavirus mean for life in your country? How is it affecting the church?

Brother John: Well Todd, it has been really interesting to see how the Middle Eastern world and Syria responded to the coronavirus. Their culture is a culture of honor and shame.

So if somebody has the coronavirus they tend to hide it. For one thing, they don’t want to bring shame to the community or to be the weak link in the community. They don’t tend to get tested; they just tend to hide it.

From the church perspective it is really interesting to see how God has used this time. The church turned to house churches. People began to worship from home, they use social media like WhatsApp and Facebook, and the message has reached many more people. If you have a church of about 100 people and you are posting your message online and using social media, now you have more than 1,000 people listening.

Todd: A lot of the people would never go to a church because that would bring shame on them and their family. But in the privacy of their own home, watching a service on social media or watching a service online, they don’t have to deal with that shame issue because they are cut off from everyone else. People are being exposed to the gospel that would not have been exposed before the coronavirus came.

Brother John: There are more chances for them to share with their neighbor right now. They are going to their neighbor, they are praying with their neighbors, and the neighbors are watching their faith. They get to share why they are not afraid. Then their neighbors say, “Tell me more about your faith.”

That is opening doors for people to share within their own community about the Lord. It opens the door for people who are afraid of going to a church because of honor and shame.

To Talk About
Why are more people in Syria hearing the Good News of Jesus?
Why do some people in the Middle East keep it a secret when they get sick?
Why do their neighbors ask to learn more about their faith?
How would you answer if someone asked you to tell them more about your faith?


“Home Jail”

East Africa

You have heard about parents who homeschool their children, but have you ever heard about kids being home jailed?

Many Christians live on Tanzania’s mainland. But more than 95 percent of the people on Tanzania’s Zanzibar Island are Muslims.

Some youth on Zanzibar are learning the good news that they can have a relationship with God through faith in His son, Jesus. They have found out that God sent Jesus to save the lost from sin. And they are deciding to trust Jesus as their Savior.

Muslim parents want to make sure that their Christian family members return to Islam. The parents believe that their children should be severely punished for turning to Jesus.

But to show how loving they are, some Muslim parents do not hit the children. Instead, they force them to stay inside — all the time. Most people would not think keeping children inside is showing love, but Muslim the parents believe it is.

“Many youth have been denied permission to go to school, just because they changed their faith,” a Christian in Zanzibar reported. “Many are not allowed to go outdoors. Their parents tell them they must return to Islam quickly if they want to be free. If they can’t escape, their house will be their lifetime home jail.”

 


Following in His Footsteps

Parents and Teachers
The Witnesses Trilogy includes three animated, feature-length films that cover the time from the birth of Jesus through the birth of the early church. Following in Christ’s footsteps, early Christians spread God’s message to the ends of the earth while facing pressures and persecution from every side.

Learn more here. Help your kids remember the message of the films by completing the activity below.

Following His Footsteps Craft

Needed
Foam shoe cushions
Map-themed scrapbook/craft paper
White glue
Lacing or twine, or peel-and-stick magnetic tape
Bible verses or references written or printed on craft paper

Instructions
*Cut the cardboard guide in the shoe cushion package to the size you desire. (Alternative: Use your foot as a guide to make a footprint out of cardboard.)

*Use the cardboard pattern to cut the foam cushions to size.

*Trace around the pattern on the craft paper and cut out the footprint shape. Glue the shape to the foam cushion.

*Glue a Bible verse, or part of a verse to the footprint. (See the suggested verses in the photo.) Ask an adult to punch holes near the top of the footprints. Use lacing or twine threaded through the holes to hang up the footprints. Or attach a piece of peel-and-stick magnetic tape to the back and display the footprints on a refrigerator or other magnetic surface.

*Talk about what it means to follow in the footsteps of Jesus.


Iranian Prisoners: What You Can Do

[Photo: Iranian prisoner Hossein Kadivar]

The Voice of the Martyrs has recently added several Iranian prisoners to the prisoneralert.com website. Officials arrested nine of the prisoners last year. They were accused of “acting against national security.”

 

In fact, the men were helping lead their church after their pastor was put in prison. The government of Iran does not want Christianity to spread in their country.

What You Can Do
Read the suggestions below. Ask God to help you choose which ones to follow.

*Go to prisoneralert.com and click on “prisoners,” then on “Iran.” Choose one of the prisoners to pray for and to be a voice for.

*Click on the name of the prisoner, then click on “Write a Letter.” Follow the instructions to send a letter of encouragement to the prisoner. Find more instructions here.

*Click on “Petition Official” on the prisoner’s Prisoner Profile page. Send a letter to an official listed. Find more instructions here.

*Go back to the prisoner’s Prisoner Profile page and click on “Print Fact Sheet.” Print one or more copies to share with your family or class, or other Christian friends.

*Learn more about Christian in Iran here and here. Share what you learned with someone.

*Watch a short video about a Christian boy in Iran here.

*Many readers have been blessed when the prisoners they prayed for were released. Pray daily for the prisoner you chose, but be prepared to continue praying for an extended time. You may not find out how your prayers were answered for a long time. Be assured that God does hear and answer prayers. Check VOM publications and websites for updates on the prisoners.


Myanmar: David’s Story

(The story and headline 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 headline is in Dutch, the language of the Netherlands. The story, told by a boy named David, has been translated from Dutch.  On Father’s Day, remember David, his sister, and other children who hope to someday be as brave as their courageous fathers.)

My Father Loved the Lord Jesus Very Much
My father went to a Bible study. Buddhist monks waited for him and kidnapped him. My father used to be a Buddhist. The monks did not like that he believed in the Lord Jesus.

He was missing for four days. Then my family found him in the forest. The monks had attacked him because he loved the Lord Jesus, and he died. My mother Daw Cherry, two-year-old sister, Aye Nan, and I remained. My mother could only find work in China, so Aye Nan and I had to go to an orphanage!

Thankfully, we received help! We have a new house, furniture, and a water filter for clean water. My mother received a sewing machine so that she can sew clothes to sell. We also got vegetable seed for the garden. And the best part: chickens! Now we have a nice fresh egg every morning, and we can live at home again because my mother can now take care of us! She no longer needs to go to China to work.

I am sad that my father is no longer on earth, but I know that he lives with the Lord. I hope to be just as brave as he is later.
From David (7 years old)