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Bold Believers in Syria

Bold Believers in Syria includes stories, history and culture facts, activities, crafts, and recipes that help children understand the daily lives of their Christian brothers and sisters who face Islamic extremism. The 48-page book is available free from the Downloads section of this site.

Bold Believers in Syria provides age-appropriate companion material for VOM’s I Am N information and resources. (See i-am-n.com.)

Activities Story

Uzbekistan: Prisoner Not Forgotten

David Shestakov

Todd Nettleton of VOMRadio.net recently interviewed David Shestakov, a pastor from Uzbekistan who was imprisoned for his faith. Part of the interview is below.

Todd Nettleton: We are in the studio today with David Shestakov, former prisoner for Christ in the nation of Uzbekistan. One of the ways that The Voice of the Martyrs helps prisoners is by encouraging American Christians to write letters to them in prison. We told people, “Write letters to David Shestakov in prison.” Tell us about what it meant to you inside the prison when those letters started coming.

David Shestakov: I experienced a huge impact of these letters in many ways…In our prison they replaced the guards every year in order to prevent corruption. So new guards who came on duty usually beat up those prisoners who were imprisoned for “extremism,” like myself. They beat them first, then they introduced themselves.

When the new guards called me, at the same time a post office worker approached with a sack full of these letters. He started to yell, “This Shestakov; we are tired of him! We are tired of these letters!” Everybody came out of their rooms just to see what he was screaming about and why he was upset. He explained that I was receiving 100 letters a day, and everybody was tired of the letters. The new guards were impressed by the fact that I received such attention from all over the world. They were really polite to me.

Todd Nettleton: David, some of the people who wrote those letters are going to be listening to this radio broadcast, I would like you to speak directly to them and tell them what it meant that they wrote those letters.

David Shestakov: I was dreaming about this opportunity to say thank you out of my heart. I really admire what you have done for me and for my family, because these letters created different opportunities for me while I was in prison, as I said. Also, it encouraged me personally that I was not forgotten; that many people remembered me. At first I thought that I was left behind and everybody forgot about me. But receiving all those letters every day from all over the world encouraged me to go through these trials. Thank you very much for what you have done for me.

(Source: VOMRadio.net. Edited for length and clarity.)

Would you like to write letters of encouragement to Christian prisoners? Find out how at prisoneralert.com.


Spotlight Story

The Cranky Neighbor and the Chief of Police

In some countries where followers of Jesus are persecuted, Christians often worship in house churches. They gather to pray, sing, and learn in the home of a member or a pastor instead of in a church building.

Neighbors who are not Christians sometimes try to give house-church Christians a hard time. They may interrupt or disturb their worship services. In one town in a country where The Voice of the Martyrs works, a neighbor complained to the police that the house-church Christians were singing too loud.

The chief of police called the pastor of the house church and told him to come to the police station for questioning. “We have had a complaint that your meetings are too loud,” the officer told the pastor at the station.

“Maybe the complaint is not true,” the pastor said. “Why don’t you visit us and find out?”

The policeman agreed, and he came to a house church service. He heard the singing and praying, and he listened to the teaching. And he became a Christian, too!

The chief of police was so happy to be a follower of Jesus that he wanted to share his faith with others. So he went to the pastor’s neighbor’s house and invited him to church. The neighbor visited the house church, decided to follow Jesus, and repented before the church for his complaints to the police.

(Source: Vision Beyond Borders)

To Talk About
What do you think of the pastor’s decision to invite the chief of police to church? What if the chief had been angry instead of visiting the church? He could have caused many problems for the Christians. Should the pastor have risked his safety to witness to him?


Spotlight Story

Sunday School Around the World: The Hmong

 

Hmong
The Hmong are a group of people from Southeast Asia. Large numbers of Hmong live in Laos, Vietnam, China, and Thailand, and some live in Burma (Myanmar).

Religion: Many Hmong practice animism, which is the belief that bad luck comes to those who do not honor and please numerous spirits that are everywhere. But many Hmong in Asia are becoming Christians!

Persecution: Sometimes the authorities in countries where Hmong live allow them to worship God, but sometimes the authorities try to stamp out Christianity. Hmong Christians have been attacked, arrested, and imprisoned for their faith. Their houses have been burned down, and they have been kicked out of their villages for refusing to deny Christ. New Christians have
been fired from their jobs. Non-Christian neighbors and relatives of Hmong Christians often persecute them, too.

The Hmong children in the photo are learning more about Jesus in their Sunday school class.

Read about some Hmong Christians families who were kicked out of their village here.

Learn more about Hmong Christians in Bold Believers of the Hmong People, available free in the Downloads section.


Spotlight Story

Sunday School Around the World: Tanzania

 

Persecution
Tanzania is on the coast of East Africa. Radical Islam is spreading from northern Africa into Tanzania. (Islam is the religion of Muslims.) On the Tanzanian island of Zanzibar where most of the people are Muslims, Christians have faced persecution for a long time. People who leave Islam to follow Jesus sometimes have to flee their homes when family members kick them out.

But in recent times, Christians on the mainland of Tanzania have started having the same kinds of problems. Riots have broken out in some places, and churches have been burned.

Tanzania

Fact: Click Languages
Hadza and Sandawe are two of the many click languages of Africa. The languages use click sounds as consonants. Click noises can sound like the “tsk tsk” used by English to say, “What a shame,” or “I don’t approve of that.” Other click noises are like the clip clop sound made to sound like a horse trotting. Fewer and fewer people in Africa are speaking click languages, and some of the languages are already extinct.

Bibles
The Bible has not yet been translated into the languages of some Tanzanian tribes. The Tanzanian Sunday school children in the photo are looking at a children’s Bible in their language provided by The Voice of the Martyrs.


Activities Story

Tanzania Squash Craft

 

A calabash is the gourd or gourd-like fruit of various plants. Some people in Tanzania and other African countries make bottles or containers, or even musical instruments out of calabashes. Some even use dried, hollowed-out calabashes as motorcycle helmets.

To Try
You can make a vase out of a butternut squash. Ask an adult to cut the top off the smaller end. Use a spoon to scoop out the insides about halfway down the squash. Add artificial flowers.

Christians in Tanzania
Life can be dangerous for followers of Jesus in Muslim Tanzania. People who leave Islam to become Christians often have to go into hiding to escape threats and persecution. (Islam is the religion of Muslims.)

Enter “Tanzania” into the Search box to find stories of bold Christians in Tanzania.


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