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 January 7th, 2020
Tomorrow is Kim Jong Un’s birthday. Kim is the leader of North Korea. It is not certain whether he was born on January 8, 1983 or 1984.
Kim rules his country strictly and often with cruelty. Read below what it means to follow Christ in North Korea. Then pray for Kim on his birthday. Ask God to make a way for Kim to follow the truths in the Bible.
Note: The following overview is from VOM’s 2020 Global Prayer Guide. Find out how to get a copy at persecution.com/prayer.
What It Means to Follow Christ in North Korea
Christians are sent to concentration camps, where they are starved, overworked and tortured. North Koreans have a saying: Whenever two or three people are gathered together, one of them is a spy. This is true even in family settings, as children are taught to spy on their parents from a young age. Therefore, North Korean Christians must be extremely careful in what they say, what they do and how they pray; all must be done in secret.
When a Christian is discovered, the government punishes the entire family. Despite the threat of persecution and heavy social pressure, Christians in North Korea hold firmly to their faith. For example, one North Korean defector told VOM that her mother continued to shelter orphans even after they stole from her. Christian and secular analysts estimate that about 30,000 Christians are suffering in prison and labor camps.
Access to Bibles
It is very dangerous to own a Bible in North Korea. Owning even a few pages of a Bible can result in detention in a concentration camp, but there are still secret ways to obtain one. Most North Koreans have found that memorization is the safest way to keep God’s Word.
VOM provides Bibles via balloon launches, broadcasts Christian teaching over a special radio network and ministers to North Koreans wherever they are found.
Published on January 6th, 2020
(Source: Kids of Courage archives)
Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand (Ephesians 6:13, NIV).
One day, the teachers at a public school in Pakistan called all the students to a special assembly. At the assembly, a teacher announced to the entire school that the “Injil” has been changed and is now false. “Injil” is the name that Muslims call the New Testament of the Christian Bible.
Published on January 3rd, 2020
Rebekha was angry. Her teacher expected her to sit by a new girl in her ninth grade class in Pakistan. The new girl was a Christian, and Rebekha hated Christians! She chose to sit on the floor rather than sit by Mary, the new girl.
Rebekha then had to miss school because she was sick. She needed help studying for a test. None of the other Muslim girls would help her study. Mary offered to help, and Rebekha began to like Christians a little bit more.
A Bad Attitude
Some Christians started a sewing class in Rebekha’s village, and Mary invited Rebekha to attend. Rebekha went to the class, but she sat separately from the Christian girls. She still did not like Christians very well.
The Christian girls were sad about Rebekha’s attitude. They spent much time in prayer for her.
Rebekha realized that she could find nothing wrong with the Christian girls. After two months, she asked Mary for a Bible. Mary happily gave her one. Mary asked God to help Rebekha understand the Bible and follow Christ.
The girls’ prayers were answered! Rebekha not only quit hating Christians; she became one! Rebekha was happy, but her family was miserable. They tried to get her to return to Islam, the religion of Muslims.
Honor is very important in many Muslim countries. A man receives honor if others in his culture respect him. He loses honor if members of his family do not follow the customs of those around him. Some Muslims in Pakistan believe they will lose honor if someone in their family becomes a Christian.
That is what Rebekha’s uncles believed.
An Evil Plan
The uncles took Rebekha to a canal near their farmland. When they got to the canal, they saw a deadly cobra swimming in the water. “Good,” the uncles said, “the cobra will bite her.” They threw her into the canal and hurried away. Rebekha did not know how to swim. She prayed for help. The cobra disappeared. Rebekha climbed out of the canal and praised God for keeping her safe.
Rebekha returned home soaking wet. Her family was astonished. Her father said she could no longer live there since she had become a Christian. She left home, and Mary helped her find Christians who would take care of her. Rebekha was grateful to God for sparing her life.
(Source: Kids of Courage archives)
(Note: Rebekha’s face is covered in the photo above to protect her identity.)
To Think About
Mary came from a Christian family. What advice do you suppose her family gave her about attending school where most of the students were Muslims? What do you think they told her when she came home and said that Rebekha sat on the floor rather than sitting next to her?
Use this link to find drawings of a Pakistani family to photocopy and color. Cut out the pictures after you color them, and glue them to craft sticks to make stick puppets. With the puppets, act out what might have happened at Mary’s house after she began to attend school with Rebekha.
Published on January 2nd, 2020
Sara’s dad, Paulus, was a bully. And Christians were the main target of his bullying. As a Muslim police officer in Pakistan, he believed it was his duty to try to convince Christians to deny Jesus and follow Islam. (Islam is the religion of Muslims.) When Christians refused his invitation to Islam, he beat them up.
But one day, Paulus found a Bible at a bookstore. As he read his new book, he became curious about Jesus, so he asked some Christians to help him learn more. The Christians took Paulus to their pastor. After he talked to the pastor and then had a vision of Jesus, he trusted Christ as his Savior.
The Bully Is Bullied
Muslim family members and religious leaders often beat Paulus after he became a Christian. One day, he was holding Sara in his arms when a relative hit him so hard that he dropped her. Her left eye was permanently damaged. Sadly, after another beating, Paulus died in 2016.
Sara and her mother, Marriam, are happy that Paulus is in heaven with his Savior. But they have not had an easy time since he died. The Voice of the Martyrs has provided Marriam with a rickshaw so she can run a taxi business to support herself and Sara.
VOM also helped with school fees and medical treatment for Sara. She still can’t see out of her injured eye, but she was able to get a glass eye, which gives her more confidence.
Please pray for Marriam, Sara, and faithful Christians in Pakistan who continue to follow Christ whatever the cost.
[Photos: Marriam and Sara]
Published on January 1st, 2020
Parents and Teachers
The January 2020 The Voice of the Martyrs magazine features “Saul to Paul” stories of violent persecutors who came to Christ. As VOM’s president Cole Richards said, “It is important to remember that even the worst persecutors are reachable….I have been blessed by meeting and getting to know many who had once committed violent acts against Christians in the name of Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and communism; once our enemies, they are now our brothers and sisters in Christ for eternity.”
Readers are introduced to:
*Khin Maung, a Myanmar Army officer who came to Jesus after seeing a vision in prison.
*Paulus, a former bully who was himself bullied after he began to follow Jesus.
*A Muslim sheikh who burned Christians’ houses. Muslims then burned his house after he became a Christian.
*Other faithful believers in hostile areas.
You can share stories of the Christians from the magazine and this site 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.
*Bold Believers activity books about several of the featured countries are available in the Downloads section.
*Enter the names of featured countries in the Search box of this site to find more stories of courageous Christians.