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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?


Egypt: A Note on a Bus

(Source: icommittopray.com)

One day when Ahmed was 16, he boarded a public bus in his city in Egypt. He noticed that someone had left a note on his seat on the bus. He picked up the note and read, “The Lord Jesus has chosen you for Him.”

Ahmed, a Muslim, was puzzled and curious, and he began a journey of seeking more information about Jesus. He started his journey by reading Christian books.

But when family members found the books in his room, they beat him up. They brought a Muslim religious leader to their house to try to change his mind about seeking Jesus. Then they sent him to Saudi Arabia, where his father owned a factory. He was locked in a small room for seven years until his family allowed him to return to Egypt. They also arranged for him to marry a cousin.

In Egypt, Ahmed was able to get on the Internet and read Christian websites. His faith in Jesus grew. So his family cut off all support for him. Ahmed started a restaurant to earn money. But neighbors burned down the restaurant when they found out he was a Christian.

To Do and To Talk About
*The Bible promises that God answers the prayers of His children. (See James 5:16.) Will you join with other Christians in praying that Ahmed will stay strong in his faith during his times of trouble?
*Talk about who might have left the note on the bus. Do you think they ever found out what happened to the person who found the note? Might they have gotten discouraged if they left notes all over the city, but never found out the results of their witnessing?
*If you knew that leaving a note for someone would result in their being persecuted as a Christian, would you leave it anyway, Why or why not?


How Do VOM Workers Travel?

A worker who has traveled to many countries for The Voice of the Martyrs answers the question, “How do VOM workers travel?”

“We definitely travel in unique ways overseas,” said the worker. “I have personally ridden a camel and two elephants in the field, although those were mostly just for fun! We start some of our trips in an airplane, and we have ridden in some very large airplanes and some very small ones. The smallest one I have flown in could seat only four people; the larger ones can seat over 200 people! Then we usually travel by a taxi. We also take boats, sometimes a large ferry, and sometimes a small canoe. I have ridden motorbikes on occasion, and, of course, sometimes we need to travel on a bus or train.

“No matter how we travel, our goal is to help our brothers and sisters who are suffering for Jesus, and we are able to help hundreds of them each year. God has blessed us with an amazing opportunity to serve Him!”

In the sentences below, find eight ways of transportation VOM contacts use when traveling to places to encourage persecuted Christians.

Search for these words: train, camel, ship, bus, donkey, barge, van, and plane. (The first one has been found for you.)

1. The sleepy boy came late to school.
2. The violinist played on key at every concert.
3. Restaurant cooks plan each meal carefully.
4. Moses saw a burning bush.
5. It was not raining when Noah started on his ark.
6. Jesus said a servant is not above his master.
7. A candy bar gets soft if you leave it in the sun.
8. The zookeeper’s hippopotamus didn’t fit in the cage.


Learning About Islam in Russian and English

“We believe in Jesus as just a prophet. We don’t believe he was crucified. We believe he just went back to heaven.” — Amal, age 14, American Muslim

Muslims believe that God would not allow Jesus to die on a cross. They believe that if Jesus was killed, it meant that He had failed, and His enemies won.

Christians know that Jesus died and rose to life again after His death. We believe that Jesus’ death and resurrection mean victory over sin and death, and that Jesus did not fail. He defeated sin and death, which are even greater enemies than the people who killed Him. Part of the good news of Jesus is that “death is swallowed up in victory” (1 Corinthians 15:54).

The information above is from the book Learning About Islam available from the Downloads section

Would you like to see the book in Russian?

Russian-speaking Christians have a children’s website that posts Kids of Courage stories. Learning About Islam is available to download in Russian from the site.