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 December 25th, 2018
The Voice of the Martyrs president, Cole Richards, reminds us that Jesus came to offer good news to everyone, even our enemies and persecutors. Read below what Cole said.
As we celebrate Christmas, let us remember that Jesus Christ, Immanuel (God with us), has come. And let us also remember that He has told us to do the unthinkable. He tells us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us (Matthew 5:44) and to bless those who curse us (Luke 6:28). While these passages are familiar to Christians, many have told me that they struggle to understand and apply them.
When we are tempted to hate our enemies or persecutors, we must remind ourselves that God loves them and desires to see them repent and receive His forgiveness. We must be transformed by the renewing of our minds from worldly thoughts to the thoughts of heaven (Romans 12:2). Only then will we be compelled by Christ’s love to reach the lost (2 Corinthians 5:14).
Although it is natural in our fallen world to be compelled by hate or to give in to fear, Christ never hated or feared anyone. We are left with a choice: Will we follow in Christ’s footsteps along His difficult path, or walk the broad road of the fallen world (Matthew 7:13–14)?
The good news proclaimed to a group of frightened shepherds that first Christmas night is the same good news Christ offers Muslim extremists and each of us: God’s love and forgiveness are greater than our worst sins. As His followers, we lovingly call all people — even our enemies — to repentance, earnestly praying that they will come to Christ and become our brothers and sisters for eternity.
(Source: The December 2018 The Voice of the Martyrs magazine. Edited for length and clarity.)
Published on December 24th, 2018
Pastor Richard Wurmbrand, founder of The Voice of the Martyrs, wrote the following for the December 1994 VOM magazine. (Edited and paraphrased for reading level.)
Christmas is coming. Many Christians will spend Christmas in communist, Muslim, or Buddhist jails.But you might say, “Christmas is a time when we sing carols and hallelujahs. People give gifts to one another. Why can’t we just celebrate the season with others? Why bother us with sad words about suffering?
My answer is that at Christmas, we are supposed to remember not only that a Savior was born. We also remember that Mary had to give birth in a stable and to put her child in a manger for cattle. What comforts did Mary have in the stable? Warm water? A midwife? Clean sheets? She did not.
Was it really true that there was no room in the inn? Maybe the innkeeper or some guest with no wife and child could have slept somewhere else. They could have given their beds at the inn to Mary and the Christ child.
When we think about Jesus’ family at Christmas, let us remember that after Jesus’ birth, they became refugees. They had to flee to Egypt. There were no planes to take them. At best they might have traveled on camels through the desert. They must have suffered from lack of water in the heat of the day.
What kind of life did they have as refugees in Egypt? Today refugees in many countries live in much worse circumstances. Some don’t even have a tent. They are happy to receive blankets from us.
The greeting “Merry Christmas” is not only a seasonal greeting. It’s a reminder that at Christmas we may also give the poor, the refugees, and the persecuted at least some ray of happiness.
Published on December 17th, 2018
In July 1998, Pastor “Bike” cycled 17,000 kilometers across China, sharing the gospel in 24 provinces — that’s how he got his nickname. (A province is like a state.)
Government officials didn’t like Pastor Bike because of his Christian activities. Police often threatened his house church, and he was taken to police stations many times.
In addition to preaching the gospel, Pastor Bike and his wife took care of orphans who had no place to live. You can read about his orphans in a previous post here.
Pastor Bike still ministers throughout China. He often leads two to three people to Christ in one day! He and his wife are planting another church, and they baptized hundreds of new believers this past year. Pastor Bike faces ongoing pressure and persecution, as well as some health problems. Please pray for his health and safety, and for his ministry to continue to bring many to Christ.
Published on December 14th, 2018
In 2017, officials in the city of Wenzhou in China banned all Christmas activities in schools and kindergartens. A communist group at a Chinese university warned students against being “blindly excited by Western holidays like Christmas.”
Restrictions against Christians are increasing in China. Some adult Christians are concerned that children and youth will not be able to stand firm in their faith in God if the rules against Christianity become even stricter.
Pray for Chinese Christians and their children at Christmastime.
Published on December 13th, 2018
Last year, some Christians in Laos invited their entire village to a Christmas celebration. As part of the celebration, they showed a video about the life of Jesus.
Authorities in the area did not like the idea of more villagers learning about Jesus. They arrested six Christians and put them in jail. The Christians were not released until January 31st of this year.
Every year, Christians in some countries risk getting arrested if they celebrate the birth of Jesus. Pray for protection for the Christians, and pray that their celebrations will lead many unbelievers to Christ.
(Source: VOM Canada)