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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

India: Finding the Truth

The two previous posts told the story of Ritesh, a man in India who could not find peace in Hindu rituals. His search for truth eventually led him to buy a Bible. His story continues below.

“Before I got a Bible,” said Ritesh, “I used to eat and sleep after work. Then for four or five months, I sat in the house and read the Bible instead. But I continued worshiping the idols and there was no change, no peace.

“Pascal invited me to church. I heard that God came into the world and gave His life. That was interesting. So I starting going to church regularly.”

The church was a two-hour walk from Ritesh’s house. Ritesh didn’t want his neighbors to know that he was going to church because he knew his family would be persecuted if they found out. So he took his wife and Kimaya, Ranbir, and Mayra with him, but only one at a time. Each Sunday he took a different family member. He hoped the neighbors would think he was going to the market. “We don’t take the whole family to market,” he said.

The other fishermen noticed that Ritesh no longer fished on Sundays. Little by little, word spread that Ritesh might be leaving Hinduism to become a Christian. Even kids at school found out that Ritesh’s children were attending a Christian church.

“The first time when I went to church, I liked to sing,” said Kimaya. “I had peace in my heart. I used to get angry very much. I had a short temper, and it all went away.”

“I had red marks surrounding my right eye,” said Ranbir. “I asked God, and it was healed.”

During this time, the family was encouraged by Psalm 115. (Read Psalm 115. Why do you think it was helpful to them?)

After a while, Ritesh got rid of his idols, and his family began to worship only Jesus. “Now we are good,” said Ritesh. “I stopped beating my children. I have changed.”

Read the next post to find out how others in their village reacted to Ritesh’s family’s new faith.

(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.)


Spotlight Story

India: Still Searching for God

The previous post told about Ritesh, a father in India who worshiped idols and could not find peace through Hindu rituals. He kept his family life in an uproar and upset his kids, Kimaya, Ranbir, and Mayra. One day in 2016, he went to an electronics shop to buy speakers so he could hear his Hindu music more clearly. His story continues below.

Word Search
The shopkeeper at the electronics shop, Pascal, happened to be a Christian. Ritesh told Pascal about his desire to know more about God. The shopkeeper advised Ritesh to find out the meaning of “Genesis.” Ritesh wrote “Genesis” on a piece of paper and began a long search.

Ritesh and his family speak an Indian language, but his 13-year-old daughter, Kimaya, had studied a little bit of English at school. So first, Ritesh asked her to help. A friend suggested that Kimaya look in a dictionary. “We didn’t know the word ‘dictionary,’” Ritesh said. “We asked a college boy in the neighborhood, but he didn’t have a dictionary.”

The friend suggested that they look on the Internet. “We didn’t know the Internet,” Ritesh said.

Finally Ritesh found a dictionary at a shop and bought it. But it was difficult for him and Kimaya to find a word in an English dictionary. (Imagine looking for a word in a Chinese dictionary if you don’t know Chinese characters well.) “The whole night we were searching for the word ‘Genesis,’” Ritesh said.

For 15 days, Kimaya searched for the word while Ritesh was at his job as a fisherman. After work, he went to bookstores and libraries to try to find the meaning of Genesis. Finally he again searched the dictionary himself and found that Genesis means “the origin of creation.”

More Searching
Ritesh returned to the shopkeeper and told him he found the meaning of Genesis. “Now find the book called Genesis, and read it,” Pascal told him.

Ritesh asked many people where he could find the Book of Genesis — people at bookstores, the driver of the public bus, and others he encountered. Someone told him he could find the book in Bangalore, a city eight or nine hours away by car or bus. Ritesh traveled all night long to get to Bangalore. But he didn’t find Genesis, even though he asked people at several locations to help.

Ritesh returned to Pascal and admitted his search had failed. Pascal sold Ritesh a Bible in his own language for 100 rupees. (One U.S. dollar equals about 70 Indian rupees.) “If he gave it to me free, I would not think it had much value,” Ritesh said. “He wanted me to know the value of the Bible.”

Read more about Ritesh and his search in the next post.

To Talk About
*Ritesh wanted to find out more about God. What obstacles did he face in his search?
*Why was it so hard for Ritesh to find a Bible? Why do you think Pascal made the task more difficult?

(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.)


Spotlight Story

India: Searching for God

Hindu ritual items

Kimaya, Ranbir, and Mayra did not have an easy, peaceful life. Their father, Ritesh, often made their home an unpleasant place to live. He quarreled, argued, and sometimes he even hit the children.

Like the majority of the people in India, Ritesh and his family were Hindus. For 35 years, Ritesh worshiped idols. But he had no peace. When peace did not come to him, he worked harder to search for it. “I used to worship idols for nearly an hour and a half, morning and evening,” he said. He visited the Hindu temple, burned incense, and brought offerings to false Hindu gods.

His rituals included washing, and after he washed, his wife was not allowed to touch him. If she needed to hand him something, she held it high and dropped it into his hands. And the rituals did not help Ritesh treat his children better.

Still searching for peace, Ritesh listened to Hindu songs. But the music was not clear or loud enough to suit him. So Ritesh went to an electronics shop to buy speakers.

Read more about Ritesh’s search for peace and truth in the next post.

To Talk About
*How did Ritesh try to find peace?
*What are rituals?

(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.)


Spotlight Story

This Month

Parents and Teachers

The May 2019 issue of The Voice of the Martyrs magazine features stories about courageous Christians in India. Christians are facing the increased persecution in India with boldness. Also included are updates from the Arabian Peninsula, Uganda, Indonesia, and Iran. You can share stories of Christians in those areas from this site with your children, then pray together for the people in the stories.

Note: To subscribe to the free monthly The Voice of the Martyrs magazine, visit the subscription signup page.

Additional Related Resources
*Download Bold Believers activity books for kids that highlight India, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, and Iran from the Downloads section.

*Find Restricted Nations books about India, Iran, and Indonesia at vombooks.com.

*Find the Torchlighters DVD about Amy Carmichael (India) here.

*Click here to find a lesson plan for India.

*The book Captive in Iran and the book and audio CD Iran: Desperate for God are available at vombooks.com.


Spotlight Story

Gwenivere Learns About VOM

Gwenivere, a 10-year-old girl in Indiana, leads her friends in praying for persecuted Christians and donating money to provide Bibles for people in other countries. She learned about the work of The Voice of the Martyrs when her grandmother, Debra, showed  Torchlighters DVDs to the children in her church.

Debra is a VOM Voice. (Learn more about the VOM Voice program here.) Gwenivere helps her distribute VOM’s Global Prayer Guide  to people in their congregation.

Gwenivere learned some words in the Kru language of Torchlighters hero Samuel Morris from the Torchlighters study guides, and she and Debra visited Morris’ grave in Fort Wayne. “[It was] touching to hear her speak the tribal Kru phrases learned in the lessons, and thanking God for his dedication,” said Debra.

Debra plans to provide Gwenivere with additional opportunities to help VOM as she gets older. “It would be a disservice to keep her ignorant of this ongoing reality and the hands-on ministry that VOM offers these precious saints!” said Debra.

(Photo: Debra and Gwenivere. Used by permission.)

To Think About
*Is there anyone you can encourage to pray for persecuted Christians?
*Have you ever thanked God for the witness of a faithful Christian?