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Caught by the Police

Recently Todd Nettleton of VOM Radio interviewed Ed Cannon, the president of the Far East Broadcasting Company. The FEBC uses radio and other technology to reach people all over the world with the gospel. Sometimes they have to secretly smuggle items into countries where the government does not want Christianity to spread.

Once Ed was carrying Christian materials in his pocket on microSD cards, which are small memory cards that can be used in mobile devices. Ed planned to give the memory cards to Christians in Southeast Asia.

But the police stopped Ed and others in his group and questioned them.  Ed told Todd what happened next.

Ed’s Story
I was in jail for one day in a country in Southeast Asia where we were interrogated by the local authorities. When they found that we had Christian content on microSD chips in our pockets, we were escorted into the local police department. We spent about 10 hours there that day.

We had these microSD chips with Christian teaching/preaching on them and they took those from us when we first came. We figured out that they were listening to them in the back room.

At the end of the day, we think we got released because the police wanted to go home and have dinner with their families, so they wanted to shoo us out. When they were releasing us, a man came and gave us back the little plastic bag with the microSD chips in it. He said, “Here, you can have these back.”

But there was only about half as many as we came with. We asked him, “What happened to the rest of the chips?”

The guy whispered and said, “You know what? I listened to those in the back, and I was wondering if I could share those messages with my family? Could I keep a few?”

Of course we said, “Yeah, just keep the whole bag. You can have them all!”

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

To Think About
*Do you think Ed wanted to be caught by the police?
*After the police let him go, do you think he was glad he had been caught? Why or why not?
*Has anything ever happened to you that seemed bad at first but turned out good?

A Hard Choice in China

[Photo: Chinese boy reading a Bible]

Todd Nettleton of VOM Radio recently talked to Brother Joel, a Christian worker who distributes Bibles in China on behalf of The Voice of the Martyrs. Joel shared stories of how Christians in China are dealing with current conditions in their country. Read part of the interview below.

Todd: What types of work is VOM doing to help meet the needs of Christians in China?

Joel: VOM is doing children’s work. There is a large project; I can’t speak too much about it on the air. But there is a very large project for discipling and evangelizing children that we are in the process of launching. Children’s ministry is number one.

Todd: The Communist Party is very afraid of children hearing the gospel and being discipled. What does that mean for churches that have a Sunday school class for kids or a school that is teaching Christian principles at the school?

Joel: The police have visited those places and told them to stop. They have threatened a lot of people. They have threatened families, and they have threatened children in the schools.

They take even very small children, in kindergarten and first grade, and the teacher stands the children up, and lines them up around the walls of the classroom. Then the teacher goes one-by-one to the children and says, “Do your mom and dad talk about religion? Do you ever talk about Jesus? Are you a Christian?” They are interrogating the children in front of their peers in the classroom where they would be more intimidated. Then they go threaten the families.

Todd: So they turn the children into spies against their own parents?

Joel: They intimidate the children to tell what is going on.

Todd: That is another thing we can add to our prayer list. Pray for the children of Christians to grow in faith and to grow in courage to be able to stand up to that kind of pressure.

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

To Talk About
*What does “intimidate” mean?
*Have you ever been “intimidated”?
*The children in the Chinese classes can choose not to tell the truth, or possibly get their parents in trouble. What do you think they should do?

How Omid’s Heart Changed

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

Omid grew up in a Muslim family in Iran. His father was a movie producer, and Omid loved reading books and watching movies. He was always fascinated with stories.

His interest in books led him to read about world religions at a young age. “I often read religious books to compare religions,” Omid said. “I wanted to prove to myself that religion was invented by the human mind. I believed that all religious books were written by a genius who wanted to control people.

“Then later my wife gave me the New Testament and asked me to read it. I agreed to read it and to make notes of the mistakes that I found. But I read about loving your enemies and loving your neighbor. I thought to myself that I needed to find the Old Testament to find the mistakes, because the Old Testament is older.

“I didn’t ask anyone how to get an Old Testament, because I didn’t want someone to know that I read the New Testament. Then one night I had a dream. I was on a big ship, and many boats were around us. There was a man on the deck with some people around him. They called me to come and pray for him.

“Suddenly a man in white touched my shoulder from behind. He gave me a golden guitar and a small box wrapped in a piece of cloth. Then He said, ‘Stay on My way.’”

The Taxi Ride
The dream was fresh in Omid’s mind the next morning when his car wouldn’t start. He had to hurry to get to work on time, and he decided to take a taxi.

Omid told what happened next. “The driver didn’t pick up any other passengers,” he said. “In Iran, it is not normal to take only one passenger. They usually take four passengers. When we arrived, I got out of the taxi. I asked the driver how much I owed him, but he handed me a package.”

The package looked like the box he had seen in his dream.

“I was so confused,” Omid continued, “and when I finally recovered, the taxi driver was gone. When I unwrapped the package, I was shocked. It was the Bible, the Old Testament and New Testament together. It was unbelievable. My hand was shaking when I touched it.”

God used a dream to get Omid’s attention, but that was only the first step in his understanding the gospel. When Omid and his wife started to read the Bible, their hearts changed right away. They both trusted in Jesus to forgive their sins and make them new.

To Talk About
*Why did Omid read books about religion?
*Why did he want to read the Old Testament?
*Why do you think Omid didn’t want anyone to know he had read the New Testament? (Learn more about Christianity in Iran here.)
*Learn how you can help provide Bibles for people in countries where the government does not want Christianity to spread here.

Encouraged by Singing

Petr Jasek, the leader of The Voice of the Martyrs’ ministry in Africa, was arrested in Sudan in 2015. Sudan’s government said Petr was a spy. But he really was helping persecuted Christians in Sudan, not spying.

Petr was forced to share a cell with Muslim terrorists who did not like Christians. Conditions were harsh, and his outlook was bleak.

The story below tells about one incident that encouraged Petr during his prison time.

[Parents and Teachers: The story is from Petr’s book, Imprisoned with Isis: Faith in the Face of Evil, available from The Voice of the Martyrs. Please preview the book before sharing with younger children. The excerpt below has been edited for length, clarity, and age appropriateness.]

Petr’s Story
After more than eight months in prison, the day of my trial finally arrived. Early in the morning, we rinsed ourselves with a bucket of water. My hair and beard were now long and silver.

Special guards transported us to the prison building. [The trip] took nearly two hours in the back of a cattle truck, and we sat on long metal benches on each side of the truck bed. When we arrived, the guards put the handcuffs on us and moved us to a holding cell, where we waited.

There were dozens of prisoners squeezed into the small room. The floor of the waiting room was dirty, and there was no place to sit, so we roamed an outdoor courtyard. As I paced around the small space, I heard the sound of singing rising from outside the nearby courthouse.

[We] soon realized the source of the singing, and we were overwhelmed. Hundreds of Christians had traveled by bus to show their support. With shields, batons, and tear gas, the Sudanese riot police had prevented them from entering the building. [The Christians] stood outside and sang about David and Goliath. We listened as the Body of Christ raised up a song of encouragement for us. They were risking their own lives by offering support for us. Their bravery astounded me. I wondered how many of them would be arrested.

Read more stories about Petr here, here, and here.

To Talk About
*Why do you think the Christians sang about David and Goliath?
*What can you do today to encourage someone?

Live for the Glory of God

[Photo: What are your hobbies?]

Recently Todd Nettleton of VOM Radio talked to Andrew Scott, the leader of Operation Mobilization USA, a ministry that takes the Good News of Jesus to places where people have never heard it. You can read part of the interview below.

(Source; VOM Radio, edited for length, clarity, and age appropriateness.)

Todd: We are talking this week on Voice of the Martyrs Radio with Andrew Scott. He is the leader of Operation Mobilization USA. Andrew, what is your message for American Christians? What are the things American Christians need to hear and understand about missions?

Andrew: Our purpose is to live our lives for the glory of God, in everything we do. We are uniquely shaped to do that in many different ways, whether we are a doctor, engineer, a father, brother, a mother, a neighbor, hairdresser, or an electrician. There are many roles in life. Through those roles, we get to fulfill our purpose, which is to reflect the Father in everything we do.

I would say the mission of God is something you are made for. So, as the people of God today, let’s start living out all of our life for the glory of God, making Him known wherever we are. Then are there other places in the world where you can go and do what you are made for? If you are an engineer why not be an engineer in Riyadh [Saudi Arabia]? Why not be a doctor in the Near East for the glory of God? You can go do that because that is what you are made for.

I believe that you have a unique set of passions different from mine, and we all have a unique set of passions. Through Christ we are a new creation. All these things have been brought back to the place where they can be redeemed and restored and used for the glory of God. The Apostle Paul says whatever you do, do it for the glory of God. (See 1 Corinthians 10:31.)

Todd: How does this work with hobbies and things like that?

Andrew: When you are on the soccer field or when you are out sailing — whatever it is you are passionate about — can people see in your life something different? Paul and Peter both say that even though people may accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your good deeds, and they will glorify God. (See 1 Peter 2:12 and Matthew 5:16.)

To Talk About
*What are your hobbies? What are some of the ways you can glorify God while enjoying your hobbies? Ask God to help you make Him known wherever you are.
*What is one job you might want to do when you are an adult? Could you do that in more than one location? Could you do that job in other countries?