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Bold Believers in North Korea

Bold Believers in North Korea includes stories, history and culture facts, activities, and recipes that help children understand the daily lives of people in a country where citizens are forbidden to practice Christianity. The 54-page book is available free from the Downloads section of this site.

Spotlight Story

Pakistan: Christian Girl Kidnapped

Pakistani girl

Thirteen-year-old Sadaf lives in Pakistan. Her Christian family recently made a video about her. But the video does not tell about a happy family celebration or vacation. It is a plea for help.

A few months ago, three Muslim men kidnapped Sadaf. Her family was able to contact the kidnappers and tell them they wanted their daughter back. The kidnappers said they would return Sadaf to them.

But eight days later, instead of giving Sadaf back to her family, the men gave them a marriage certificate. The certificate falsely said that Sadaf was 18 years old. It said she had converted to Islam, the religion of Muslims, and that she had married a Muslim man.

Christians say that hundreds of girls in Pakistan are kidnapped every year and forced to change their religion and marry Muslims. Sadaf’s family has requested help from the police, and they made a video about her situation in an effort to pressure the authorities to act. But so far the police have ignored their requests.

Read below three prayer requests for Sadaf and her family.

*Ask the Lord to directly intervene to ensure the release of Sadaf and other captives, either through His miraculous hand or through the work of the local authorities. Pray that Sadaf’s case will be taken seriously and that she and her family will be looked upon with compassion.
*Ask the Lord to comfort, protect, and strengthen Sadaf and her family during this very difficult time.
*Pray that the Lord will bring change to the hearts of the captors to bring true repentance.

(Source: VOM Australia)

Read more about Christians in Pakistan in the book Bold Believers in Pakistan, available in the Downloads section.


Spotlight Story

India: A Unique Marriage Proposal

Ruchika
When Ruchika was in the 12th grade, her parents began to search for someone to marry her. Like many parents in India, they planned to choose their daughter’s husband. They were looking for a man who worked hard, had a good job, and made lots of money. However, Ruchika told them, “I will not get married unless I marry a pastor.” She wanted to help a pastor in his work for the Lord.

Ruchika’s parents were Christians, but they did not agree with her plan. After many arguments and counseling from Christian aunts and uncles, her parents gave in to her wishes.

Aditya
When Aditya was a boy in India, he grew very ill. “He will not live,” the doctors told Aditya’s parents. An evangelist visited Aditya’s house, talked to his family about Christ, and prayed for Aditya. “If he lives, let him live for Christ,” said Aditya’s mother.

Aditya recovered from his illness! He gave his life to Christ and became a pastor. In the area where he lived, pastors were often threatened and attacked, so he knew the risks of sharing the good news of Jesus. Soon he, too, was attacked and warned not to continue his preaching.

Proposal
Aditya knew about Ruchika’s desire to help share the love of Jesus with those who don’t know Him. So he asked her to marry him.

[Talk to three couples who have been married a long time. Ask them what they talked about during their marriage proposal. Was their conversation anything like Aditya’s proposal below?]

“This is my life,” Aditya began his proposal to Ruchika. “I am a minister and have been attacked so many times. In the future, you may be attacked. I might go to jail. Sometimes we will have food, sometimes we will not. This will be the life. If you would like to marry me, you can. Otherwise, say no.”

Ruchika answered, “Live or die, I will live for Christ.”

Serving the Lord Together
Aditya was not exaggerating in his proposal. The couple has endured hardship, attacks, arrests, and threats. They now have a baby who may also endure hardship someday.

“The problems, trials, tribulations, and whatever comes is nothing with God,” Aditya told a VOM worker. “God has made a new heaven house for us, so we have to wait and strive for that. That is what we are waiting for.”

(To protect their identities, the names of some of the people on this website and some identifying details have been changed. Some of the quotes and stories have been edited and paraphrased from the original sources for clarity, length, and age appropriateness. In the photo above, Aditya and Ruchika’s faces are covered to protect their identity from those who might want to harm them.)


Spotlight Story

Two Ramadan Problems

The previous post told facts about Ramadan, the Muslim holy month when Muslim adults and older children fast from food and drink from sunrise to sunset.

Problem: When is Sunset?
Ashraf El Dakrouri, the first Egyptian explorer to go to Antarctica, is a Muslim. He wanted to fast until sunset during Ramadan, like other Muslims. But the sun never set at that time of the year in Antarctica! Muslim leaders decided that he could eat when the sun set in New Zealand.

Problem: Which Way Is Mecca?

Dr. Sheik Muszaphar Shukar, Malaysia’s first astronaut, was also the first Muslim to travel in space during Ramadan. Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset during Ramadan. But in an orbiting spaceship, the sun rises and sets many times a day. Though Muslims are not required to fast while traveling, Dr. Shukar wanted to try it. Muslims must also pray memorized prayers five times a day while facing Mecca, Saudi Arabia. But what direction should an astronaut face in space? A group of Muslim leaders made new rules for prayer and fasting in space before Dr. Shukar blasted off.

Enter “Ramadan” in the search box to find more facts and stories about Ramadan.


Spotlight Story

Prayer During Ramadan

“Today in New York City, there are places where everyone is speaking Yemeni Arabic. They are on their phones talking to people back in Sanaa or Jibla or some other part of Yemen. And about 60,000 Afghan Muslims live in and around Fremont, California,” said David Garrison, an author, former missionary, and leader of an organization called Global Gates. Garrison recently spoke with Todd Nettleton on VOM Radio.

“What is different today is that when people come to America, they are opening up highways of communication. They are staying connected with their families in ways that weren’t possible 20 to 30 years ago,” Garrison continued. “The Internet, global communication, WhatsApp, and Skype — they are talking to their families every day, and when we share the gospel with them here, it is flowing back to the ends of the earth.”

So what is Garrison’s advice for Americans who want to reach into Muslim communities?

“I tell people the beginning of everything is prayer,” he said. “Many people feel threatened by the Muslim world, and that is understandable. I don’t treat people like they are lesser because they have fear. But when you begin praying for people, it changes things.

“Some folks ask me, ‘How can we pray for the Muslim world?’ I tell them that every year, during the month of Ramadan, hundreds of thousands of Christians are praying for Muslims. I also tell people, ‘Just pray for Muhammad.’ We ask God to save Muhammad because about 20 percent of the whole Muslim world is named Muhammad.”

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

Facts About Ramadan
This year, Ramadan began on Sunday, May 5, and will end on the evening of Tuesday, June 4 (dates may vary slightly).

Muslim adults and older children are supposed to fast from food and drink during the daylight hours of Ramadan. During Ramadan, some Muslims read the entire Quran, give extra money to charity, and try to avoid saying harsh words. Many Christians pray that the hearts and minds of Muslims will be opened to the truth about Jesus during their Ramadan month of spiritual reflection. Can you pray for Muslims during Ramadan?

Learn more about Ramadan here and in the book Learning About Islam, available in the Downloads section.


Spotlight Story

Mother’s Day Prayers

Santa and Sien

Soman and his wife, Santa, trusted in Christ as their Savior about seven years ago. They started a house church in their home in Bangladesh and invited their friends and neighbors. Many more people came to the Lord and were baptized.

But not everyone in their village welcomed the good news. A gang attacked the little village store that Soman and Santa owned, and they beat up Soman. They warned him to stop following Jesus.

(It’s not illegal to be a Christian in their country. In fact, more than 7 million people in Bangladesh have watched Christian videos on YouTube, and some have come to Christ. But Muslims do not approve of other Muslims leaving their religion, Islam, and becoming Christians.)

Soman’s leg was injured in the attack. He developed complications and, sadly, he died a few years later. After he died, family members took away Santa’s land. They said she couldn’t keep it because she was not a Muslim. They tried to force her to follow Islam.

Now Santa and her 4-year-old son, Sien, live in a “safe house” operated by The Voice of the Martyrs. (See the photo.) They will be safe there, and will be able to gain strength from other Christians in the house.

On Mother’s Day, pray for Santa and other mothers who are taking care of children alone.

Also remember:
*Mothers who are in jail for their faith.
*Mothers whose children were taken from them when they became Christians.
*Mothers who are raising their children as Christians in non-Christian places.