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Bold Believers in Syria

Bold Believers in Syria includes stories, history and culture facts, activities, crafts, and recipes that help children understand the daily lives of their Christian brothers and sisters who face Islamic extremism. The 48-page book is available free from the Downloads section of this site.

Bold Believers in Syria provides age-appropriate companion material for VOM’s I Am N information and resources. (See i-am-n.com.)

Countries Story

Bangladesh

Bangladesh

Bangladesh

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Capital
Dhaka

Size
In area, Bangladesh is a little larger than the state of Iowa. But Bangladesh is very crowded. It has a larger population than the eight most populous U.S. states combined: California, New York, Texas, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan.

A Christian worker in Bangladesh said, “That would be like squeezing half of everyone in the U.S. into the state of Iowa.”

Main Languages
Bangla (also known as Bengali)

Time
At 6:00 a.m. U.S. Central Standard Time, it is 6:00 p.m. in Bangladesh.

Fact
A study showed that Bangladesh has the highest rate of marriage in the world for girls under age 15.
History
Bangladesh was part of India until 1947. Then it became East Pakistan. Bangladesh became an independent country in 1971. Natural disasters are common in Bangladesh.

Religion
Bangladesh has the fourth largest Muslim population in the world. Less than one percent of the population is Christian.

Persecution
Islam is the official religion of Bangladesh. It is not against the law for Christians to worship, but they face serious persecution, especially if they are Christians who used to be Muslims. Muslims do not want people leaving Islam to follow Christ.

Muslim mobs often cause Christians trouble. They have threatened Christians, attacked them, torn down their houses, and destroyed rickshaws that some Christians use to make a living.


Countries Story

Brunei

Brunei

Brunei

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Capital
Bandar Seri Begawan

Size
Slightly smaller than Delaware.

Main Languages
Malay, English, Chinese

Time
At 6:00 a.m. U.S. Central Standard Time, it is 7:00 p.m. in Brunei.

History
Brunei used to be ruled by Britain, but it became independent in 1984.

Religion
Mostly Muslim.

Persecution
The official religion of Brunei is Islam, the religion of Muslims. Christians are not allowed to spread their faith. School books show women and girls wearing Muslim clothing, and do not show people who follow religions other then Islam. Muslims are not permitted to marry people who are not Muslims. Christian believers often meet secretly for worship.


Countries Story

Burma (Myanmar)

Myanmar

Myanmar

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Capital
Rangoon (also called “Yangon”) has been the capital. The government has moved many of its offices to Nay Pyi Taw, making that city the “administrative capital.” (Source: CIA Factbook)

Size
Burma is a little smaller than Texas.

Main Languages
Bangla (also known as Bengali), English

Time
At 6 a.m. U.S. Central Standard Time, it is 6:30 p.m. in Rangoon.

Interesting Fact
Thanaka is a paste or powder made from tree bark. Many women and children in Burma wear thanaka on their faces to prevent sunburn and to keep their skin cool. It is also used as makeup. Some people apply it on their faces in pretty patterns.

 

History
Natural disasters are common in Myanmar. The government has not had a history of treating people fairly. Human rights and freedoms are often not respected.

Religion
About 75 percent of the people in Burma are Buddhists.

Persecution
“The government would like all the people to speak the same language, Burmese, and to follow the same religion, Buddhism,” a Christian worker said. Most Christian missionaries were kicked out of the country in the 1960s.

The government persecutes minority groups. Christianity is strong among some of the groups. This gives the government two reasons to persecute members of the groups.

Christians sometimes have a hard time getting permission to build new churches or repair old ones.


Countries Story

Chiapas

Chiapas

Chiapas

Capital
Tuxtla Gutierrez

Size
More than 4 million people live in Chiapas.

Main Languages
Spanish

Time
At 6:00 a.m. U.S. Central Standard Time, it is also 6:00 a.m. in Chiapas.

Interesting Fact
Cattle in Chiapas sensed danger before a big mudslide in November 2007. The cattle fled to higher ground, and some villagers chased them. The land they fled from was destroyed by the mudslide. The cattle saved the villagers’ lives. (Source: Associated Press) 

History
Mexico was ruled by Spain for 300 years until it became an independent country in 1810.

Religion
The constitution of Mexico states that the country has freedom of religion.

Persecution
Religious freedom is usually respected in Mexico. But “traditionalists” in Chiapas and some other states in southern Mexico sometimes persecute people who do not want to follow their customs. Traditionalists follow some Catholic teachings, but mix the teachings with practices from the ancient Mayan religion, which does not follow the Bible. (See more about the ancient Mayan religion under “Their Beliefs.”)


Countries Story

China

China

China

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Capital
Beijing

Size
China has more people than any other country in the world. In area, it is the fourth largest country.

Main Languages
Chinese

Time
At 6:00 a.m. U.S. Central Standard Time, it is 8:00 p.m. in Beijing.

Interesting Fact
China covers enough territory to have many time zones. But the government wants everyone to officially use Beijing time. In Kashgar, a city in western China, the sun can rise after 9:00 a.m. in the winter according to Beijing time. Sunset can be as late as 10:00 p.m. in the summer. So people from the Uygur ethnic group in Kashgar follow their own unofficial time.

History
In 1949, communists took over the government of China. They tried to get rid of Christianity. It was against the law to spread the Good News of Jesus. Few Chinese people owned Bibles.

Religion
About half the people in China are not part of any religion. About 40% are Buddhist or followers of traditional Chinese religions. Less than 10% are Christian.

Persecution
The majority of Chinese Christians worship in house churches that are not approved by the government. In some parts of China, police raid house churches, arrest Christians, and take away Bibles. But millions of people are coming to Christ every year.


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