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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

Canadian Kids’ Prayer Calendar

A group of homeschool co-op kids in Canada have created an illustrated coloring book prayer calendar. The students, ages 10 to 14, started with the daily requests from the VOM-USA prayer calendar. They then added drawings, designs, flag and map outlines, and explanations of the meaning behind their artwork.

“As the … students learned concepts that affect persecuted Christians worldwide, their drawings formed this prayer calendar so that we remember to pray,” the calendar says.

You can download the calendar to print and color here.

Thanks to the Canadian students for sharing their calendar with us!

Note: You may notice that some of the words on the calendar have Canadian spellings, and some of the holidays shown are Canadian holidays.

Activities Story

Swahili Time

Tanzanian baby and big sister

People in Tanzania have two ways of telling time. Many follow the same system of telling time that people use in the United States. They call it “English time.”

But some Tanzanians go by “Swahili time.” Tanzania is near the equator, so days and nights are about 12 hours long all year around. In Swahili time, days start at 6 a.m. English time (sunrise), and nights begin at 6 p.m. English time (sunset). So at 7 a.m. English time, it is 1 a.m. Swahli time.

The first time in each pair below is “English time.” The second tells what time it would be in Swahili time.

6 a.m. 12 a.m. (sunrise)
8 a.m. 2 a.m. (2 hours after sunrise)
12 p.m., noon. 6 a.m. (6 hours after sunrise)
3 p.m. 9 a.m. (9 hours after sunrise)
6 p.m. 12 p.m. (sunset)
7 p.m. 1 p.m. (1 hour after sunset)
12 a.m., midnight. 6 p.m. (6 hours after sunset)

To Think About
• Why are days and nights about 12 hours each in locations close to the equator?
• Farther from the equator, the times of sunrise and sunset vary between winter and summer months. Why would it be harder to use Swahili time in places far from the equator?
• People who live by Swahili time think it is strange that the day starts at 12 a.m. in English time. So midnight is morning, even though people are in bed. What do you think?

Try This
At 9 a.m. English time, it would be 3 a.m. in Swahili time. Children in Tanzania might be going to school. Answer the questions below, then pray for the children and for what activity they might be doing at that time.

At 11 a.m. English time, it is 5 a.m. Swahili time. What might children in Tanzania be doing at that time?

At 1 p.m. English time, what time would it be in Swahili time?
At 4 p.m. English time, what time is it in Swahili time?
At 2 p.m. Swahili time, what time would it be in English time?

Activities Story

Tanzania and Swahili

Tanzania Sunday school

About 46 percent of the people in Tanzania are Christians, and about 37 percent are Muslims. Others follow tribal religions. The Bible has not yet been translated into the languages of some Tanzanian tribes.

Growing Conflict
Some radical Muslims give Christians a hard time. Radical Islam is spreading from northern Africa into Tanzania. (Islam is the religion of Muslims.)

On the 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 are having the same kinds of problems. Riots have broken out in some places, and churches have been burned.

Swahili, also called Kiswahili, is the main language of Tanzania.

Learn Some Swahili Words
(Pronunciations are approximate.)

The first word in each group below is the English word, and the second is the Swahili word. The third part tells how to pronounce the Swahili word.

Hello. Jambo. JAHM-boh
Yes. Ndiyo. Uhn-DEE-yoh
No. Hapana. Hah-PAH-nah
Please. Tafadhali. TAH-fuh-DAH-lee
Thank you very much. Asante sana. Uh-SAHN-teh SAH-nuh

Uncategorized Story

Tanzania: Andrew’s Temptation

Andrew, a youth in Tanzania, was raised in a Christian family. But he did not really have a strong faith in God. So when a radical Muslim leader told him, “If you come to Islam, you will become super rich,” Andrew foolishly listened to the man.

Andrew began to do more and more evil deeds to please the radical Muslim. He lied to his parents and set their house on fire twice. But when the man told him to attack his parents, Andrew refused, repented, and turned to Christ. Now Muslims in the area want to harm him. (The photo of Andrew above is disguised to hide his identity from enemies.) Pray for Andrew and for other youth in places where they are tempted to join violent groups.

(Source: The January 2019 The Voice of the Martyrs newsletter. Edited for length and age appropriateness.)

Activities Story

Cup Sleeve Prayer Reminders

Does your church or family use cup sleeves to protect people’s hands from the heat of hot drinks? You can decorate the sleeves in a way that reminds others to pray for persecuted Christians.

Use: markers, colorful tape, wrapping paper, felt, craft foam, contact paper, or photos from The Voice of the Martyrs’ publications (or find printable ones here) to decorate the sleeves.

Describe to those using the sleeves some of the prayer needs of the people or countries you highlight on the sleeves.