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 September 17th, 2018
Elise Wixtrom writes reviews of VOM resources for readers of kidsofcourage.com. Enter “Elise” in the search box to read about Elise and to find more of her reviews.
In 1891, Taylor University, a small Christian college on the outskirts of Fort Wayne, Indiana, faced financial hardship. They were losing students. They were about to close. But before we begin that story, let’s go back. Two years earlier…
A young Liberian prince named Kaboo was taken captive by an enemy of his father’s, who demanded tribute every full moon in order to get the young prince home. But Kaboo’s tribe couldn’t satisfy his captors. So his enemies decided to kill the boy, at that time 14 years old, by throwing a spear at his heart.
However, just as they were about to kill him, a bright light appeared in the sky. The ropes binding Kaboo loosened, and he was able to escape. As he bolted, he heard a voice from the sky cry, “Run, Kaboo, run.”
And though he was confused, the young teen ran away as fast as he could through the jungle. He ran all night and all day, hunted by the many dangers of the rainforest, until he ran straight into a young man singing a spiritual – “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.” The young man brought him to a local coffee plantation, gave him shelter and work, and prayed with him.
Soon after arriving at the plantation, Kaboo attended church and heard a missionary woman speak about the apostle Paul. He heard her talk about the light that Paul saw and the voice he heard. She said he heard the voice of Jesus. At that moment, Kaboo understood. The voice he heard was the voice of Jesus, too. After discovering that his life had been saved by God, Kaboo accepted Christ as his Savior, and adopted an English name – Samuel Morris.
The newly christened Samuel, in order to learn more about God so that he could return to his tribe with the good news of Jesus, traveled across the wide oceans to New York City. He faced many dangers along the way, but he reached America safely and was enrolled at the closing Taylor University. The school administrators were hesitant to let him stay. However, after hearing the young man’s remarkable story, they caved. Soon, Samuel “Kaboo” Morris’ story began to spread, so he dictated a book. The book sold so many copies, Taylor University was saved by the money he made.
After Samuel tragically died of illness, Taylor took it upon itself to reach Samuel’s tribe in honor of his remarkable life. And though Samuel Morris had thought he was coming to America to learn to be a missionary, we now realize that he went to Taylor to inspire the small university to reach all unreached peoples. The story of Samuel Morris can be an inspiration to us all, to go forth with bravery and to not be anxious about anything (Philippians 4:6). Samuel Morris’ legacy was immortalized because of his simple love of others and faith in God. Our lives should be remembered for the same reasons.
Find out more about Torchlighters DVDs here.
Published on September 14th, 2018
Parents and Teachers
The following excerpt is from Stephen: God’s Courageous Witness, a picture book for children about Christianity’s first martyr. The book, and other children’s books about Christian heroes, are available at VOMBooks.com. Preview is recommended before sharing the books with younger children.
When Jesus returned to heaven, He left behind His followers. But they were not alone or without help. As promised, Jesus sent His Holy Spirit. He knew the Holy Spirit would give His followers the strength and courage they needed to do His work. One of those followers was Stephen.
With the Holy Spirit’s help, Stephen courageously told others about Jesus and performed miracles. He was so good at convincing others to follow Jesus that in the end the Jewish leaders tried to stop Him….
[A group of angry Jewish leaders had Stephen arrested, taken to court, and executed.]
“Silenced for good!” one sneered. Soon, the Jewish leaders would learn that they were wrong. They may have silenced Stephen, but his death pushed the gospel outside the walls of Jerusalem.
Saul, one of the many who had witnessed his death, decided to go after the church….Many fled the city…As Christians fled and took the gospel throughout the region, an amazing thing happened. Saul was traveling to another town to arrest more Christians when Jesus appeared to him in a blinding light. He later became known as Paul, one of Christ’s most passionate messengers..
Today, Christians are arrested and sometimes killed in countries around the world for telling others about Jesus. In Pakistan, where most follow a religion called Islam, one young boy was courageous when he defended the Bible at school.
His teacher told him that the Bible had been changed. Standing among his classmates, he declared, “The Bible has not changed, but whoever reads it is changed.” Radical students yelled at him. But like Stephen, he stood firm.
[Read more about the boy in Pakistan here.]
Telling others about Jesus is not always easy. We may not be arrested or hurt, but others may not like what we say and may want to find ways to keep us quiet. Just remember, we may be their only chance to hear about Jesus. With the Holy Spirit’s help, we can be courageous like Stephen and pray that Jesus will change their hearts.
Published on September 13th, 2018
Cricket is a game similar to baseball. The bat looks somewhat like a boat oar, and the ball is as hard as a baseball — but the fielders don’t wear gloves to catch it.
The wicket, which is like baseball’s home plate, is made of three tall, vertical sticks (“stumps”) and two sticks called “bails” on top of the stumps. The “bowler” (pitcher) tries to throw the ball so that it will hit the stumps and knock the bails off before the batsman (batter) hits it.
Wickets are at both ends of the field. A batsman stands in front of each one. Runs are scored when a batsman hits a ball thrown by the bowler, and the two batsmen run and change places. Unlike in baseball, after the bowler throws the ball, it may hit the ground and bounce up to the batsman before it is hit.
A Dangerous Cricket Ball
A Muslim teenager in Bangladesh decided to use his cricket ball as a weapon. He hit the ball into his Christian neighbor’s yard, and he seemed to be trying to damage their house or hit their child. His family joined him in bullying and threatening the Christians.
The Christian father, Nazmul, sent a letter to local officials telling them about the neighbors’ behavior. The letter also said that Nazmul would not take revenge, but would forgive his persecutors.
Nazmul’s kind letter softened the neighbors’ hearts. The Muslim father asked for a meeting to work out their differences.
VOM workers ask Christians to “pray that the Holy Spirit will continue to work on the heart of the family’s persecutors.”
Published on September 12th, 2018
Al Fadi spoke English very well. Even though he grew up in Saudi Arabia and spoke mainly Arabic, he had no trouble understanding his teachers at the university he attended in the United States.
But some of the phrases his classmates used outside of class confused him. When someone asked, “What’s up?” he looked toward the sky to see what was up. “Sometimes you hear things like, ‘Don’t open a can of worms,’” said Al Fadi, “when I don’t even have a can in my hands. [Or they say] they want to ‘pick your brain.’”
A teacher advised Al Fadi to get to know some Americans to help him understand the language better. He signed up for a program that matched American families with international students.
Learning from Christians
Over time, Al Fadi got to know two American families, and both were Christian. Al Fadi had been raised as a Muslim. The families were kind, and they politely answered his questions about Jesus and Christianity. They didn’t get angry with Al Fadi when he tried to convince them that Islam was better than Christianity. (Islam is the religion of Muslims.)
Al Fadi went to church with one of the families, and he learned that Christians are taught to love, forgive, and pray for their enemies. He grew in his faith in the God of the Bible, and he gave his life to Christ.
After Al Fadi became a Christian, his family rejected him. “I am nobody in their life,” Al Fadi said. But he remains strong in his faith. He even appears on TV programs, websites, and social media leading other Muslims to open their hearts to Jesus’ love.
Al Fadi encourages Christians in the United States to pray for Muslim neighbors, co-workers, and classmates, and to interact with them. “It is not by accident if you have a neighbor who is Muslim,” said Al Fadi. “God is not scratching His head and saying, ‘Ah, man, I really shouldn’t have brought him here. I don’t know why I did that.’” Instead, God has a plan for them to hear the good news of Jesus.
To Talk About
Al Fadi said, “I understand not all of us have the boldness to share, but you know what? Always pray.”
Do you know someone who is not a Christian that you can pray for today?
Published on September 10th, 2018
Abel, a young man in Nigeria, got a phone call one day from a former classmate. The old friend invited Abel to lunch. He said he wanted to find out how Abel was doing.
But the phone call was a set-up. While they were talking at a café, a van drove up. Abel’s brother and two other men jumped out and forced Abel into the van.
The men were angry because Abel had decided to leave Islam and follow Jesus. (Islam is the religion of Muslims.) They locked him in a room for two weeks with very little food, then ordered him to return to Islam.
But Abel had seen Jesus in a dream, then studied the Bible and learned about Christianity from a pastor. He had given his life to Christ and trusted Him as his Savior. “I am not going back to Islam, because what I have seen is the truth, and I have made up my mind to stand on that truth,” Abel told his captors. Then the persecutors left him alone in the room.
Abel’s mother heard about his situation and sent her daughter to unlock the door where Abel was held. He was free!
Now Abel distributes audio Bibles and helps other new Christians stand firm in their faith. The new Christians trust him because he has overcome many of the same obstacles they have faced.
(Source: The September 2018 The Voice of the Martyrs magazine)
To Think About
What obstacles have you or our family faced in your lives? Is there someone else facing the same obstacle that you could help in their difficult time?