VOM’s Courageous Series books highlight the lives of faithful Christians throughout history, including the stories of biblical heroes Stephen, Thomas and Paul as well as three additional stories of well-known Christians Nicholas, Patrick and Valentine, whose faith informed their actions. Learn more here.
Published on January 4th, 2021
(Source: January 2021 The Voice of the Martyrs magazine.)
India is a mostly Hindu country, but many Muslims live in the country as well. In one Muslim village, older Christians taught a group of siblings and cousins about God’s love for them. The kids studied the Bible, and they understood that following Jesus in a Muslim town could be risky. Christians in their area kept their faith secret and hid their Bibles. If they were discovered to be Christians, they could be shunned or attacked.
The youth continued to follow Christ anyway, and even went away to another location for Bible training. When they returned to their village, Muslim villagers gave them a hard time and demanded that they tell where they had been and what they did when they were gone.
“Proud to Follow Jesus”
The father of one of the girls in the group feared the Muslims. To try to solve the conflict, he gave them an SD card with an audio Bible on it. “This is why they left,” he told the Muslims. He also told the villagers, “Repent! Come out of the darkness!”
The Muslims grew angry anyway. They took the youth to a Muslim boarding school to try to convince them to become Muslims. Some of the girls in the group were kept for more than a month, part of the time without clean clothes or daily necessities. (See the photo of some of the youth above. Their faces are covered to disguise their identity.)
The girls, led by the Holy Spirit, gave wise answers to the Muslims who questioned them. Their faith grew as they saw how God sustained them during the ordeal.
After they were finally released, their community still shunned them and refused to let them attend their school. But they still study God’s Word. “They are proud to follow Jesus, and they are confident,” said a Christian who knows the youth. “We want them to know what they Word says — that this is going to be normal for them.”
To Talk About
*What does “repent” mean? What did the girl’s father mean when he told the villagers, “Come out of the darkness”?
*When did the girls’ faith grow?
*Why do you think some people’s faith grows during difficult times?
Published on January 1st, 2021
Parents and Teachers
“The power we need to overcome the world’s greatest hardships is from God, not from us.” — Cole Richards, The Voice of the Martyrs’ president
The January 2021 The Voice of the Martyrs magazine includes stories of Christians that God has empowered to be His ambassadors while facing courts, judges, and leaders of false religions.
Readers will learn about:
*Teens in India who boldly shared the gospel in a Muslim community, angering radical Muslims. The students were forced to stay in a Muslim boarding school, some for more than a month.
*A drug addict in Iran who placed his trust in Christ while fighting his addiction. He led others who were recovering to Christ, angering security officials.
*Mina, a Christian who first started sharing the gospel with people in the streets of a city in Indonesia when she was a teen.
You can share photos and stories from the issue and from this site about some of the featured Christians with your children, then pray together for the people in the stories.
* To subscribe to the free monthly The Voice of the Martyrs magazine, visit the subscription signup page.
*The Voice of the Martyrs’ Global Prayer Guide includes information about Christians in the featured countries.
*Download Bold Believers activity books for kids that highlight several countries.
*Watch video clips about Christians from several of the countries in the Video section of this site.
Published on December 31st, 2020
Have you made any resolutions for 2021?
Hebrews 13:3 says, “Do not forget those who are in prison. Remember them as if you were in prison with them. Remember those who are suffering as if you were suffering with them” (ICB).
The verse reminds us to pray for the persecuted Christians around the world. What plans can you make for 2021 that include remembering the persecuted?
Published on December 30th, 2020
The following quotes were shared with or by workers from The Voice of the Martyrs during 2020. Most of the quotes came from Christians in countries where believers are persecuted.
1. “We don’t know about the future, but we must face it.” — Christian in Indonesia who was attacked and injured by a non-Christian
2. “I love the fact that God has given me a front row seat to what He is doing in the earth. These are, without question, the most exciting days to be alive in the history of the church. There has never been a time like right now. I am confident that was true in 2019, and I know it will be true in 2020. What a blessing. It also makes me encourage people that if you find yourself afraid these days, you should turn off your television and pick up your Bible and a VOM newsletter, and see what God is doing.” — VOM worker
3. “There is no weapon sharper than prayer.” — Christian girl in Canada
4. “The enemy is never angry at pastors who sit still.” — VOM worker in Colombia
5. “I am happy to follow my Lord, whatever the cost.” — Christian imprisoned in Burma for his faith
6. “When you read about modern medicine benefiting the people, or girls getting an opportunity to get an education, it is usually through missionaries who have counted the cost and paid a great price to come and bring the gospel of Jesus Christ and the kingdom of God and its reality to that place.” — Dr. Mary Ho on VOM Radio
7. “We’re put here to bring God’s kingdom into our circumstances. I will not hate, but I will forgive. I will not be like them.” — persecuted Christian in Colombia
8. “Just because you’re young doesn’t mean you can’t make a difference.” — American teenager
9. “The harder [the Bible’s opponents] try to stomp out the fires of the gospel’s power and message, the more those embers will spread.” — Cole Richards, VOM’s president
10. “As a follower of Jesus, we never give up. We never stop loving them. Although I thought I had forgiven [the person who persecuted him], there was still pain. Slowly I started praying for him again. As a follower of Jesus, you have to continue praying for and loving them, even when they reject you.” — Christian in Afghanistan
Published on December 29th, 2020
(Sources include: VOM Australia. Edited for length, clarity, and age-appropriateness.)
There is so much going on that it can be easy to forget about our persecuted brothers and sisters.
Below are three reasons why it is important to remember to talk about persecuted Christians with your class or group.
1. Mission is important. It is easy to live in a Christian bubble, where all we think about is ourselves and the people around us. Christianity is so much bigger than this. Our God wants everyone to come to know Him as Lord and Savior, and His church has a responsibility in this (Matthew 28:19).
To do this, we need to pray that the gospel will spread in restricted nations. Check here if you would like to learn about a project that provides Bibles for people in countries where the government tries to stop Christianity from spreading.
2. Jesus’ mission cannot be stopped. Sometimes we may feel like Christianity is not growing. If we feel that way, it is encouraging to learn what is happening in restricted countries. Often in these dark countries, many people are finding hope and security in the love of Jesus. This is found in Scripture. The growth of the early church happened in part because of the persecution after the stoning of Stephen, which drove the early Christians away from Jerusalem (Acts 8:1-2).
3. What should we pray for in difficult times? Why should we pray at all? Prayer is an important part of being a Christian, because we have a God who cares, listens, and answers our prayers. He wants us to pray to Him, but it can be hard to know what to pray for. Learning how to pray is so important, and persecuted Christians show us how to pray in difficult times.
In Ephesians, Paul doesn’t ask for the persecution to stop; instead, he asked for courage. He said, “Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should” (Ephesians 6:19-20). As we are bound with persecuted Christians in prayer, we will gain a bigger view of God’s mission and our part in it.
The more we talk about and pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters, the more we will grow in our relationship with God, and the persecuted church will benefit greatly from our prayers.