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Sewing Masks, “Saving Lives”

A post on The Voice of the Martyrs’ website last year told about a group of women in Sierra Leone. (Sierra Leone is a country on the west side of Africa.) After the women gave their lives to Christ, their families kicked them out of their homes. The women had nowhere to live and were not able to provide for their children.

VOM is helping the women through a program that teaches them to sew. After graduating from the program, the women start businesses as tailors.

Serving the Community
Communities are thankful for their new tailors. Read below what a Christian friend of VOM said about one of the women. (From VOM sources, edited for length and clarity.)

“I visited one of the women who graduated from the sewing center to see how she was doing. She shared her testimony with me that she is able to take care of her two children despite the outbreak of the coronavirus. She is the only one sewing face masks for the five villages around her.

“The chief in the village told me that she is not only making clothes for them, but contributing in saving their lives through the provision of face masks. They didn’t have access to masks as there are no health centers around them.”

To Talk About
The women are earning the respect of their neighbors through their sewing skills. In what ways might this help in the spreading of the gospel?

Petr’s Encouragement

Petr with another Christian prisoner

Petr Jasek was the leader of The Voice of the Martyrs’ work in Africa. While he was helping persecuted Christians, he was arrested by the police in Sudan. For 445 days, he remained in prison, forced to share a cell with Muslim terrorists part of the time.

After his release, Petr began serving as VOM’s Global Ambassador. He travels around the world, encouraging Christians to help and pray for persecuted believers. His new book, Imprisoned with ISIS, tells about his experiences in Sudan.

Recently, Todd Nettleton of VOM Radio talked with Petr about his imprisonment. Petr compared his time locked up in prison with the situation of people sheltering at home during the coronavirus.

Read some of his comments below. (Edited for length and clarity.)

Petr said:

Now in many countries we are locked down with this quarantine. We have more time to spend with our families, and that is beautiful that we have that time as Christians. But I would like to encourage people to spend even more time with their Lord and His Word.

In one sense it reminds me of the situation that I was in when I was in solitary confinement. I could not do activity that I would normally be doing. But now in the similar situation there are many activities that I would like to do and I can’t do them.

But I have a choice how I want to use my time. Of course I can use it to read the Word of God, pray, or listen to the audio Bible. Or I can get distracted easily by paying attention to the more or less same news about the disease that is spreading around. The difference is that I have the choice now what I want to do in my time.

I would like to encourage [Christians] to really spend more time with our Lord and His Word, so that we could be prepared to better serve our persecuted brothers and sisters, to be better tools for His kingdom. You know, if we will abide in Christ we can certainly bring better fruit. What is the best fruit that we as Christians can bring in this world? This is obvious that we as Christians should multiply ourselves by making disciples.

If we will abide in Christ, abide in His Word, abide in His church and His Body, and abide in the intimate relationship with our Lord, then we don’t need to be worried about future. We don’t need to worry about the bad news around us. And we don’t need to be afraid even about persecution that is increasing. We know that we are in our Lord and He will never allow us to go through anything that He would not prepare us for.

I would say my main intention in writing my book was to show that we serve the great sovereign Lord. If we commit our lives into His hands, we do not need to worry about anything and we can trust the Lord, and He will support us.

(Petr’s book, Imprisoned with ISIS, is available here. Please preview before sharing with younger children.)

Cuba: Coronavirus Difficulties

[Photo: A boy in Cuba]

(From The Voice of the Martyrs’

While many churches around the world have moved their services online because of the coronavirus pandemic, Christians in Cuba do not have that option. Since very few people have access to the Internet, Christians have been completely without worship and fellowship.

“People are in fear of being visited by others,” a VOM worker said. “Many also live in homes where not everyone is a believer.” In addition, Christians are concerned about future restrictions the government may impose and how they will have to adapt their teaching and worship services.

In general, Cuba is experiencing increasing violence and anxiety. Cubans must wait in long lines for food, many are without work, there is no public transportation and there is a lot of theft. According to contacts around the island, food is the hardest thing to find. Pray for Christians in Cuba.
Click here to find out about Christian persecution in Cuba and learn how to pray.

Colombia: Family Shares the Gospel

[Photo: David and Gloria’s family having fun.]

David and Gloria share God’s love in jungle areas of Colombia controlled by armed groups of fighters who sometimes attack Christians. Their children, Samantha, 13, Juliana, 10, and Daniel, 7, help them in their work. “I am not afraid,” said Samantha, “because I know that God is protecting us, and there are a lot of people praying for us when we do this.”

On weekends, David and Gloria transport 200 Colombian children by boat, 50 at a time, to their home for a Bible lesson. Samantha, Juliana, and Daniel help their mom with the Sunday school class. “I am a little embarrassed to say a lot to them,” said Daniel, “but when I play with them, they see Jesus in me.”

A Visit from the Guerrillas
One day, when Samantha was still a small child, 60 guerrilla soldiers came to David and Gloria’s house. (Guerrillas are people who carry out acts of war, even though they are not part of a regular army.) They told David they would triple his salary and allow him to continue being a pastor if he would join their cause.

David said no. “I won’t work with you,” he told the guerrillas. “You kill people. The only person who should have power over life is God.”

“We are going to talk tomorrow,” the guerrilla leader said.

Gloria knew that guerrillas sometimes take children away from their families. She began to pray for David and Samantha.

A Privilege to Preach
The next day the fighters returned. But the leader’s attitude had changed! He told David that his mother was a Christian. He and David began to discuss the Bible. “I became good friends with this man,” David said. He urged the man to place his faith in Jesus as Savior before he died while fighting. The man resisted. But he accepted 60 Bibles from David to share with fighters.

Fifteen days later, the man was killed in a battle. David hopes he read the Bible and came to faith in Christ before the attack. David and Gloria continued to share Bibles with more guerrillas. “It has been a privilege to preach the gospel and to be a testimony to many other families,” David said.

To Talk About
*Do you think David was scared when he refused to join the guerrillas? If so, why do you think he did it anyway?
*If David had joined the guerrillas, do you think the guerrilla leader may not have heard the gospel before he was killed?
*Why is Samantha not afraid?

Learning to Forgive

The Philippines

Eighteen years ago this Sunday, missionary pilot Martin Burnham died in a gun battle. The battle was between men who had kidnapped him, and soldiers who were trying to rescue him, his wife, Gracia, and other hostages.

Read the following story about the Burnhams from the Kids of Courage archives.

Gracia Burnham was angry. A gang of violent Muslims had kidnapped her. Gracia did not even like to go camping. But the group forced Gracia and her husband Martin to live with them in the jungle. The jungle had no beds, bathrooms, stores, or air conditioning.

Gracia and Martin were missionaries in the Philippines. Before the men kidnapped them, Gracia homeschooled their three kids: Mindy, Zach, and Jeff. Martin, a pilot, flew mail and supplies to other missionaries in hard-to-reach places.

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