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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

Eritrea: Twen in Prison

In 2004:
*George W. Bush was the president of the United States.
*Facebook was launched as a new form of social media.
*Skype grew in popularity as a way to communicate.
*iPhones would not be released for three more years.

Does 2004 seem like a long time ago?

In 2004, fifteen years ago this month, Twen Theodros was first arrested in Eritrea. She was 23 years old and a new Christian. Twen was released, but re-arrested in 2005. She has been in prison in harsh conditions ever since. That’s a long time to be in prison!

According to prisoneralert.com, “Today, Twen is considered a key senior women’s leader in the prison. She continues to look after and care for other women prisoners. People who know and love Twen say she is a precious, lovely Christian who is determined to remain a faithful follower of Jesus. They also say she is willing to stay in prison as long as God enables her to serve Him there by helping others.”

You can read more about Twen and a prayer request for her here. Please pray for her during the anniversary month of her first arrest.


Activities Story

Words of Wisdom from Patrick

“If I have any worth, it is to live my life for God so as to teach these peoples, even though some still look down on me.” — Patrick

“It’s not right that I hold my tongue when I think of all the blessings God lavished on me in the land of my captivity…and it was there I found Him.” — Patrick

The previous post told the story of Patrick, a British slave who shared his faith with other captives — and with citizens of the country that had enslaved him. You can make scrolls highlighting Patrick’s wise quotes shown above.

Note: Adult supervision and assistance is recommended for this activity.

Needed
*Patrick’s quotes on cardstock or thick paper
*Bowl of hot water
*2 teabags
*Scissors
*Hot glue gun and glue sticks, or other strong adhesive
*Twine or thick string
*Watercolor paints and brush
*Twigs, about 8 to 10 inches long

Instructions
*Using calligraphy or a suitable computer font, put Patrick’s quotes on an 8 ½ by 11-inch piece of paper. Draw a circle around each quote using a bowl or other round object as a pattern. Print the paper with the quotes on it onto thick white paper or cardstock.

*Put the teabags in a small bowl of hot water, and let them sit for seven minutes. Drag one of the soaked tea bags across the cardstock, then let it dry for three minutes. Repeat the process three more times, dipping a bag in the tea before each application. Lightly stain the back of the paper if desired.

*Cut the paper down the middle to make two scrolls. Carefully roll down the very top part of each scroll, then unroll it and apply a strip of glue. Stick the twig to the glue, and roll the paper down again. Add more glue if necessary to hold the paper down. Press tightly for 30 seconds. Repeat with the bottoms of the scrolls.

*Knot each end of two 12-inch pieces of twine. Glue (or tape) the ends to the backs of the scrolls near the top to form a hanger. Paint a wreath of leaves around the quotes as a symbol of Ireland, Patrick’s adopted country.

Hang the scrolls on a wall and talk with your family or class about the meaning of Patrick’s wise words.


Spotlight Story

Patrick

By Elise Wixtrom

A very long time ago, when Rome ruled most of Britain, a young man named Patricius lived on the coast of the island now called England. Pirates and thieves swarmed the choppy sea of the nearby narrow strait and roamed the coast of Roman Britain. They captured slaves and captives, looted towns and estates, and brought their spoils to the island across the channel – Ireland.

It was on the shores of Roman Britain that one day teenage Patricius (known in English as Patrick), was kidnapped and enslaved by those thieves and pirates along the coast. He was taken to Ireland. There he became a shepherd, tending flocks along and over the rolling green hills. In captivity, Patrick began to think about God and the Bible verses and stories that he had been taught as a child. The story of Jesus’ sacrifice began to mean more and more as the young man grew. His heart was filled with peace, where before he had been frightened and lonely, enslaved on a foreign island.

As he matured, Patricius began to share his faith with other captives, but they scoffed at his Christian ambitions. One night, Patricius had a dream that a messenger said, “You will soon be returning home!” When Patricius awoke, he left the camp where he slept and quietly walked down to the shore, where a ship was waiting to sail away. With some reluctance, the sailors let this strange boy accompany them on their voyage.

As soon as Patricius returned home, this family welcomed him with open arms. Back in Britain, he began to study God’s word with greater vigor. Before too long, he knew that he was meant to return to the pagan land where he had been mistreated. Again in a dream, Patricius was called back to the island where he had been enslaved. He felt the most eager pull to return and to teach the people of Ireland — to love them as God would.

Patricius’ family expressed hesitation at their son’s calling, but he knew what God wanted him to do. He knew it so vividly, so strongly, that he returned even though his family was afraid for his welfare.

Patricius went on to evangelize the people of Ireland for many years. He was not always welcomed, but eventually his love for the people, and God’s will, prevailed. The message of Jesus’ sacrifice and resurrection resonated with the pagan people. Patricius died on March 17, 461. We now celebrate that day as St. Patrick’s day. Through this young Briton, God changed the face of Ireland for His glory. Though many resisted the message, many more lives were changed because Patricius returned to the land of his captivity.

Sources include Patrick: God’s Courageous Captive, one of the books in the Courageous Series, available at vombooks.com.


Spotlight Story

Somalia: Pray for the President

“One of every six African Christians is persecuted,” a recent visitor from Africa told VOM workers. Many people believe that the most serious persecution in Africa happens in Somalia.

Facts About Somalia
*Most Somalis are Muslim.
*Bibles are illegal.
*There are no church buildings.
*After years of drought and war, more Somalis live outside Somalia than in it.

(Source: VOM’s 2019 Global Prayer Guide)

Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo is the current president of Somalia. He was born on March 11, 1962. He went to college in the United States.

On his birthday, will you pray for the president?
*Pray that he will rule wisely.
*Pray that he will use his power to see that Christians are treated fairly.
*Pray that he and his family will know the truth about Jesus.

(Photo: Somali Christian secretly reads a Bible. Source: VOM Canada and CBN.)


Activities Story

Couscous

Couscous is a common food in North Africa. North Africans may serve couscous as a main dish with meat, vegetables, and sauce on top, or they might eat it as a dessert.

Try the couscous recipe below. Share the couscous with someone else. Tell them a story about North African Christians from recent posts on this site.

Instructions
Cook the couscous following the instructions on a package of couscous. Then mix in honey, cinnamon, and almonds, or sprinkle dates or figs on top.