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Bold Believers in Syria

Bold Believers in Syria includes stories, history and culture facts, activities, and recipes that help children understand the daily lives of people in a country where civil war has driven more than 750,000 Christians from the country. The 48-page book is available free from the Downloads section of this site.

Spotlight Story

John Bunyan’s Birthday

John Bunyan was born on November 28, 1628. His 391st birthday is this week. Read below what Elise Wixtrom, the Kids of Courage student reviewer, wrote about his life.

John Bunyan lived in the mid-1600s, during the time of the most violent conflict on English soil, the English Civil War. At that time, there was a group of people called the Puritans. The Puritans followed strict religious rules. They believed in the Bible wholeheartedly, though at one point they became very legalistic and forced their authority on others. Early on, though, the Puritans were bastions of Christian kindness and purity. John Bunyan was one of their most faithful members. A writer, theologian, and preacher, he stood steadfastly by his faith even though his country was in turmoil.

The story of John Bunyan’s life has many ups and downs. At one point he even got thrown into prison. For many years he stayed there among criminals and debtors, all because he defied the Anglican church by preaching outside of it. During the civil war, he and other Puritans were allowed to teach freely, but with the return of the English monarchy came the return of persecution for other theologies. Bunyan, along with his fellow church officials, was imprisoned for his beliefs. While behind bars, Bunyan had a lot of time to reflect, think, write – do what he loved best. He even taught the prisoners in Puritan theology, and eventually they thanked him for it.

Though in great emotional pain from being ripped away from the life he had built for himself, Bunyan never lost hope in Christ’s love. Instead, he wrote. At one point, Bunyan had a strange and vivid dream. In this dream, he embarked on a religious journey, called a “pilgrimage”, to find the meaning of life. Along the way, he met characters that represented different aspects of the world, God’s nature, the human heart, and sin. At the end of the journey, Bunyan arrived at the gates of heaven. Upon awakening, Bunyan was struck with the images of the dream and he decided to write it all down. He turned that dream into a novel called The Pilgrim’s Progress.

When he died in 1688, Bunyan left behind a legacy of many works of literature, including The Pilgrim’s Progress and books of written sermons. Their messages ring loud and clear – stay on the path that leads to Christ Jesus, and God will walk beside you all the way to His own doorstep, just as Bunyan found in his dream.

Bunyan found God’s voice in his prison cell. If you have been reading or watching the Torchlighters stories, you will know – that is where you hear God’s voice best. In the darkest moments of your life. In your pain. In the prison cell that you have, whether real or in your mind. In the times where you think there is no more cause for hope, that is precisely the moment where you should look upwards, and there God will be, with the solution for your healing.

Learn more about Bunyan and watch the trailer from the Torchlighters DVD The John Bunyan Story here. Find out more about Torchlighters DVDs here.


Spotlight Story

Christmas Care Reminder

Christmas Care Pack

Every year, The Voice of the Martyrs and Kids of Courage readers sponsor Christmas Care Packs for children and Village Outreach Kits for pastors in countries where Christians are persecuted. Visit this site or check the December 2019 The Voice of the Martyrs magazine to learn how you can sponsor a Christmas Care Pack or Village Outreach Kit in honor of:

*A friend
*Your pastor
*A family member
*A Sunday school teacher
*A Christian worker in your community
*Or someone else

If you sponsor a gift before December 14th, the honored person will receive a personal Christmas card acknowledging your gift.

Parents and Teachers
To receive information about future project opportunities, subscribe to the free monthly VOM magazine here.


Activities Story

Make an Advent Prayer Train

Needed
30 mini raisin boxes, or other small boxes
Red and green acrylic paint
Glue (or tape)
Fine tip marker
Small photos of children from countries where Christians are persecuted from VOM publications or websites. (Or print and cut out the photos here.)

Instructions
*Cut off the tops and flaps of 24 of the mini boxes.
*Paint 12 of the boxes red and 12 of them green.
*Paint three of the remaining whole boxes red and three green.
*Let dry, and repeat if necessary.
*Glue sides of the boxes together to make a train, alternating red and green boxes. (See the photo above.) Number the odd numbered boxes with the marker.
*Make a train engine, arranging the remaining boxes as shown in the photo, and number one of the engine boxes with a 25.


*Glue or tape photos of children on the front of the boxes that are not numbered. Write the name of a country where Christians are persecuted inside each box with a photo on it, or make small labels and attach them to the inside of the boxes. (See the photo.)


*Add candy canes or mini candy bars to the boxes if desired.

Pray
Starting on December 1st, pray every day until Christmas for children around the world, especially children in countries featured on the train boxes. You can find prayer suggestions here or in downloadable Bold Believers books here. You can also enter the name of a country in the Search box on this site to find stories and prayer needs for that country.

Share the treat in each box with someone, and encourage them to pray also.


Activities Story

Thankfulness Bag

You can make a bag to help you remember the blessings God has provided for His children.

Needed
*Brown or white paper lunch bag
*White glue
*Brown, yellow, red, and orange craft foam
*Twine
*Hole puncher
*5 mm wiggle eyes
*A Bible verse about thankfulness printed or written on thick paper or cardstock
*10 or more 3-by-5 index cards or small cards cut from thick paper or cardstock
*Pen or marker

Instructions
1. Fold down 1¼ inches of the top of the bag to the inside of the bag. Optional: Glue or tape in place.
2. Punch two holes on the front and back of the bag about an inch from the top and an inch to each side of the center of the bag.
3. Form a loop with two lengths of twine. Thread the ends from the outside to the inside of the bag through the holes. Knot and glue the ends on the inside to form handles.
4. Cut the following shapes from the craft foam: 5 teardrop shapes (feathers) approximately 2¼ inches long from 2 or more colors, 1 brown circle about 2½ inches in diameter, 1 brown piece about 1½ inches wide and 1¼ inches tall in the shape of a rounded three leaf clover, 2 feet about an inch wide, a rounded yellow triangle about ¾ inch across at the top and ½ inches tall, and a turkey wattle about ¾ inch long.
5. Glue the ends of the feathers to the back of the larger brown circle. Assemble and glue the remaining pieces and the eyes together as shown in the photo. Glue the Bible verse to the bag.
6. Write one thing you are thankful for on each card. Consider including some of the following.
*I am thankful that nothing can separate us or persecuted Christians from the love of Christ.
*We are thankful for Christians who share the gospel in difficult places.
*Thank God that He never leaves or forsakes those who are suffering.
*Praise God for the “cloud of witnesses” described in the Book of Hebrews.
7. During Thanksgiving week, draw cards out of the bag during mealtimes or devotions
and thank God for the blessings listed on the cards.


Activities Story

National Bible Week

The week of Thanksgiving is National Bible Week in the United States.

Suggested Group Activities for National Bible Week

In a country where Bibles are hard for some Christians to get, a broadcaster reads parts of the Bible on a radio program. He reads very slowly so listeners can copy the verses by hand. The listeners use the written verses as their “Bible.”

Have someone read Matthew 19:29 out loud very slowly while others in the group write the verse on paper or type it on a computer.

Crossing the Border Game
Guards in some countries also try to keep people from sneaking into their country, especially if they are carrying Bibles. The governments of some countries do not want their citizens to learn about Jesus. Christians in one place found a way to take Bibles into those countries in the winter. Guards near the border looked for footprints in the snow. They sent attack dogs in the direction of the footprints. So the Christians walked backwards in the snow at night to take Bibles into the countries that did not allow Bibles. When border guards looked down at the footprints from their towers in the morning, they sent their search dogs in the wrong direction!

How to Play
Divide into two teams with an equal number of players. Give each team a bag of three or four books. Make a starting line and a finish line several yards apart. Line up the teams behind the starting line. When a leader says, “Go,” the first player on each team walks/runs backwards to the finish line, carrying the bag of books. The player drops the books behind him beyond the finish line. The second player walks/runs backwards to the books, picks them up without turning around, then runs back to the starting line. Play continues until all the players on one team have finished the task. That team wins.

To Discuss
Smuggling Bibles into a country where Christians are persecuted can be risky. Smugglers can be arrested or attacked. They are willing to sacrifice their safety and take the risk. Did anyone have to sacrifice so that you would be able to read the Bible in your language?