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 October 8th, 2018
Ali and his family follow Christ in a country where most people follow the teachings of Muhammad. (Learn more about the teachings of Jesus and Muhammad here.)
The family used to live in Iran. They started secret Christian house church groups where Iranian Christians could worship God together. But the government doesn’t want Christianity to spread in Iran.
One day, Ali’s wife, Soro, was cooking chickpea patties for their sons, ages 5 and 7. Suddenly the secret police burst in through the front door. The police were dressed all in black with their faces covered. “Mommy, who is that?” the frightened boys asked.
“It’s OK,” Soro answered. “We knew they were coming sometime.”
Soro and Ali were arrested, taken to prison, and separated. “Who is caring for my sons?” Soro wondered. After a while, God took away her fear, and she felt His presence. “I knew it was a privilege to be there with the Lord, so that was sweet,” she said. “But I also wanted to go be with [my children].”
Soro was released, and delighted to go home. But she refused to leave her sons, sleeping between them every night. Later, Ali was also released, but government watchers continued to watch and follow their family.
Several months passed, then the family moved to a nearby country and continued to witness to Muslims. “If we are one,” Soro said about their family, “then God called our kids, He called our family, and the Lord knew what He was doing with our kids.”
Their sons are teenagers now, and they have a younger daughter. Soro knows that God is at work in her children. She is waiting for the time when they will say, “Wow, God let me go through that, and He had a purpose for me, not just for my parents.”
Pray that God will give Ali and Soro’s family peace and unity as they continue to serve Him. Ask God to help their children understand His purpose for their lives.
(Source: October 2018 The Voice of the Martyrs newsletter. Edited for length, clarity, and age-appropriateness.)
Published on October 5th, 2018
Ten Facts About Emomali Rahmon and His Country
1. Emomali Rahmon is the president of Tajikistan. He has been president since 1992.
2. Rahmon’s birthday is on October 5th. This year he will be 66 years old.
3. More than 90 percent of people in Tajikistan are Muslims.
4. The government is afraid of Muslim terrorists. So officials try to control all religions to make sure no violent group gains power.
5. Earlier this year in Tajikistan, terrorists killed two bicyclists from the United States.
6. It is illegal for children under 18 to attend public religious activities in Tajikistan.
7. Most of Tajikistan’s Christians are Russian Orthodox, but there are also Baptists, Catholics, Lutherans, and Korean Protestants.
8. If someone wants to print or distribute Christian materials, they have to get permission from the government.
9. Tajik is the language of Tajikistan. To say “thank you” in Tajik, say, “tah-shah-KOOR.”
10. In recent years, athletes from Tajikistan have won Olympic medals in boxing, judo, and wrestling. Soccer is a popular sport.
Pray for the president of Tajikistan on his birthday. Pray that he will rule his country wisely and fairly, and that his government will not prevent anyone from learning about Jesus.
(Sources include: The U.S. State Department’s International Religious Freedom Report and The Voice of the Martyrs’ Global Prayer Guide.)
Published on October 4th, 2018
Farsi, also called “Persian,” is the official language of Iran. Farsi is written in the same script as Arabic, but it is not the same language as Arabic. This is similar to the way Spanish and English are written using the same letters, but they are different languages.
The government of Iran fears that Muslims who hear the gospel in their own language will become Christians. Christian ethnic groups that speak other languages are not as much of a problem to the government.
“Pastors who preach in Farsi are ordered to give a report to the government,” said an Iranian Christian. “Also, the government sends spies into the Farsi-speaking churches to take pictures and evaluate the activities of the church.”
Farsi is read from right to left instead of left to right like English. Look at the chart below to learn how to pronounce some Farsi words and phrases. (Pronunciations are approximate.)
How to say it in Farsi
|Praise the Lord||KHOH-dah-rah SHOH-kr|
|Jesus loves you||EE-saw doos-taht DAH-reh|
|Good bye||KHOH-dah hah-fehz|
Published on October 3rd, 2018
In a word square puzzle, the words read the same vertically (up and down) and horizontally (across). Read the information below about Iran. Then use the clues and a Bible to help you complete the puzzle.
Iran is part of the continent of Asia. Tehran is its capital. The country is near Turkey, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Most of the people are Muslims, but many are coming to Christ. Muslims who become Christians are sometimes persecuted by friends, relatives, teachers, and officials.
(There are no “Down” clues.)
1. Tehran is the capital of _____.
2. Jesus told his disciples that He would _____ from the dead (Mark 9:31).
3. Iran is part of the continent of _____.
4. Iran is _____ Turkey, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
If your answers are correct, the words in the grid will be the same across and down.
Published on October 2nd, 2018
Dan Baumann is a Christian worker who was imprisoned in Iran for nine weeks. He experienced the love and presence of Jesus helping him endure the harsh treatment.
But Jesus taught Dan another important lesson. Dan said, “One day, I felt that God spoke to my heart. [God said] ‘Dan, I want to teach you to love your enemies.’ I remember thinking, ‘No, not now, thank you.’”
Every day, one of Dan’s captors hit him. Dan was not interested in loving the man. But he felt God saying to him, “Dan, ask Me what I think of him.” Dan realized that God loved his attacker. So every day, he prayed, “God, change my heart.” Little by little, Dan’s heart began to change, and he began to care for his captor.
One day, Dan said to the man, “Sir, why don’t we become friends?” The man answered, “You are crazy! We will never be friends.” Dan asked him twice more, and said, “Let’s start by exchanging names.” And he reached out his hand to shake the man’s hand.
“It was then that he froze,” Dan said. “Then he starts looking around, and then he took his hand out of his pocket and shook my hand. He said, ‘I would love to be your friend.’” The two men told each other their names.
Then the man asked, “Is there anything you want in the prison?” Dan had been living in a 6-foot by 9-foot cell. He asked his new friend if he could have a bigger cell.
“I never saw that man again in my life,” Dan said. “But later the night guards came to my cell and said, ‘We have orders to move you to a bigger cell.’ I knew that God had changed the man’s heart.”
(Source: Kids of Courage archives and VOMRadio.net. Edited for length, clarity, and age-appropriateness.)
To Think About
At first, Dan was not willing for God to teach him to love his enemies, but he became willing to be made willing. He asked God to change his heart, and in turn, his obedience helped change his captor’s heart.
Is there anything that you know God wants you to do that you have been unwilling to do? Will you ask God to help you become willing?