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.
Published on April 10th, 2019
- Design a church bulletin insert about persecution.
- Make bookmarks for friends to remind them to pray for suffering Christians.
- Write, record, and share a song about martyrs.
- Help someone subscribe to the free The Voice of the Martyrs magazine.
- Commit to praying for one persecuted Christian for 30 days.
- Start a group among your friends to learn about and pray for persecuted Christians.
- Act out a scene from a book about persecuted Christians and videotape it to share.
- Make a scrapbook of stories about persecuted Christians from VOM publications.
- Make a poster listing ways kids can help persecuted Christians and display it at church.
- Set up an exhibit table about persecution at church.
Published on April 9th, 2019
The following information is from Bold Believers in Syria, available in the Downloads section.
“So the Lord said to him, ‘Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold, he is praying’ ” (Acts 9:11).
(The verse above is from the story about Saul in the Book of Acts. The Lord was speaking to Ananias. The Judas in the story is not the one who betrayed Jesus.)
Damascus is the capital of Syria. Straight Street is still a street in Damascus today. Visitors can see the street where Saul stayed after his encounter with Jesus on the way to the city. In the Chapel of Saint Ananias in Damascus, Christians can remember the events in Saul’s life. (See the previous post.)
The Damascus rose is a flower named after the Syrian city. Oil from the flower is used in perfume and cosmetics.
Damascus steel was used to make strong knives and swords. People who made them kept their method a secret. After a while the secret was lost, and no one remembered how to make the knives and swords. Damascus steel was said to be “superplastic,” meaning it would be easily shaped when heated. But it was very strong when it was cool.
Damask cloth, named after the city of Damascus, is used for furniture coverings, tablecloths, and sometimes clothing. The cloth is thick and is decorated in distinctive patterns.
The following information is from The Voice of the Martyrs’ Global Prayer Guide. Syrian Christians’ lives have been severely disrupted since the civil war began in 2011. Between 750,000 and 1 million Christians have fled the country. In the same period, many Muslims have come to Christ.
Churches in Syria have been a beacon of hope and a source of peace for Syrians of all backgrounds throughout the war. Syrians come to the church for a number of reasons: out of desperation, in search of food, in search of meaning and truth, and many times with questions about the hope that Syrian Christians have.
The news that neighboring host countries may send Syrian refugees home brings optimism for Syrian believers, because those who came to faith in nearby countries could return and strengthen local churches.
Published on April 8th, 2019
“Red zones:” Red zones are areas in Colombia ruled by violent groups who want to control everything that happens in their area.
Guerrillas: Guerrillas are people who carry out acts of war, even though they aren’t part of a regular army.
Violent groups in Colombia know that Christians do not approve of their violence, drug-selling, and kidnapping. So the groups threaten Christians and sometimes drive them from their homes.
Pastor Fabian ministers in a red zone. Though he knows the risks, he continues to lead his congregation in serving and worshiping the Lord. Guerrilla fighters demanded that he stop holding church services, but he ignored them.
One weekday, the pastor knelt in prayer on the church platform in his empty church. He later told workers from The Voice of the Martyrs that he usually sat in the front pew for his prayer time. But that day, he felt led to kneel on the platform. He happened to kneel behind a banner that had been placed at the front of the church for that week’s service.
As he silently prayed, two guerrillas entered the sanctuary with guns and began looking for him. They searched the room, but didn’t see Pastor Fabian behind the banner. The guerrillas cursed their “bad luck.” Finally they left. The pastor was safe — for the time being.
Pastor Fabian could leave and move to a safer place. “I need to stay and serve my people,” he said. “Besides, I’m old and ready to die if it’s my time.”
Read another story and watch a video about pastors that God rescued from danger in a remarkable way here.
Published on April 5th, 2019
“I chose Kids of Courage this year for our VBS. I tend to stay away from the commercial VBS curriculums and try to find more relevant and meaningful ones. This one caught my attention but I was worried about the heavy content.
“It turned out to be an excellent VBS! What I loved about it was its real life applications and the fact that the kids could learn, not just Bible truths, but learn about other countries and cultures.
“I also liked that it wasn’t coated in sugar…. It’s ok for children to know that there is evil in the world, that they are blessed, and that Christ calls us to make a difference.”
Click here to read more feedback from VOM’s Kids of Courage VBS curriculum.
The complete Kids of Courage VBS curriculum includes a director’s guide, crafts, activities, five teachers’ guides, skits, plays, photo and music CDs, games, snack recipes, The Voice of the Martyrs prayer map, and more.
Read “Ten Facts About VOM’s Kids of Courage VBS Curriculum” here.
Can you share information about the curriculum with churches in your community? Go to www.kidsofcouragevbs.com for more information and samples from the curriculum.
What You Can Do Story
Published on April 4th, 2019
Two years ago, in April 2017, Pastor Bakhrom Kholmatov was arrested after officials raided his church in Tajikistan. The officers beat members of the congregation and took away Christian books and the pastor’s computer.
When the officials examined Pastor Bhakrom’s computer, they found a collection of Christian songs. They claimed that the songs and the pastor’s books were “extremist.” [People who are extremist have ideas that are considered to be far different from the average views of those around them. Extremists sometimes act on their ideas with violence or drastic actions.] The government said that “experts” decided that the songs were calling people to overthrow the government.
Pastor Bakhrom has been in prison on the false charges for two years. His wife, Gulnora, has had problems with high blood pressure since his arrest. They have three children.
Gulnora says that she has received letters of encouragement from Christians around the world. Pastor Bakhrom, however, has not been given letters that were sent to the prison for him. Sometimes authorities refuse to give a prisoner their mail in order to make them feel isolated. But Christians keep writing, knowing that their letters can influence guards and make a difference anyway.
You can use the following addresses to send letters of encouragement to the pastor and his family.
Yavan, Khatlon region
Mikrorajon 32, house nr. 50