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Ten Sports from Around the World

Read about the 10 sports below. Then enter the name of a country where they are played in the Search box to learn more about life for Christians in those countries. Find ways to pray for the countries in The Voice of the Martyrs’ Global Prayer Guide.

Buzkashi
Buzkashi is a favorite sport in Afghanistan. It is a difficult and dangerous sport played by two teams on horseback. As in football, the players try to get control of an object and take it to a scoring area. But the object is not a ball; it’s a dead, headless goat or calf. Players compete to win money and prizes, and some fans dream of seeing the sport played in the Olympics someday.

Langdi
Langdi is a traditional game from India. Would you like to try it? Here are the basic rules. Two teams play on a square field. Players from one team stand in the square. The other team sends one player at a time into the square. That player must hop on one foot. Whoever is touched by the hopping player is out of the game. If the hopper puts his raised foot down, he is out and the teams change positions. The game is over when all the players on one team are out.

Kabaddi
Kabaddi is another popular sport in India. The rules are similar to the rules of langdi. But in kabaddi, the “raider” who enters the opposing team’s territory must repeat the word “kabaddi” [kah-buh-dee] over and over as he tags players. His goal is to tag as many players as possible—all in one breath. If he takes a second breath, he is out of the game.

Dhandi-Biu
Children in Nepal play dhandi-biu [DAHN-dee byoo]. The equipment for the game includes a long, flat stick and a large seed or small stick. The seed (or small stick) is placed on the ground. A player hits the end of the seed with the long stick, flipping the seed into the air. When the seed flies up, the player then taps it lightly into the air two or more times with the long stick. On the last hit, the player hits the seed as far away as he can.

Cricket
Cricket is somewhat like baseball. (See the photo above.) It is played mostly in countries that are British territories or used to be British territories. The bat looks a little like a boat oar. The fielders do not wear gloves. Unlike in baseball, after the “bowler” (pitcher) throws the ball, it may hit the ground and bounce up to the “batsman” (batter) before it is hit.

Kho Kho
Kho kho was invented in India. It is a form of tag played on a field between two teams. One team is the chasers and the other is the defenders. They switch roles after seven minutes. The team that tags out the defenders the quickest wins.

Chinlone
Chinlone is the national sport of Burma. Players stand in a circle. They try to keep a rattan ball (see the photo) in the air for as long as possible. The players may kick the ball up or pass it to another player with their feet or knees, but not with their hands.

Jaegi
Jaegi [JAY-ghee] is a Korean game similar to hacky sack. You can find instructions for making a jaegi here.

Netball
Netball is played in many countries, including Malaysia and Tanzania. It is a popular sport for women and girls. As in basketball, two teams try to shoot the ball through a hoop. But players do not dribble the ball. They may take only one step while holding the ball, and they must pass it to another player within a few seconds. Defenders who are trying to stop a player from shooting must stay at least three feet away from the player with the ball. The goal has no backboard.

Tent Pegging
According to legends from long ago, soldiers in some parts of the world had an unusual way of attacking enemy camps. While racing through the camp on horseback, the soldiers speared the pegs holding up their enemy’s tents, causing the tents to collapse. Perhaps that is how the sport of tent pegging began.

In modern tent pegging, players on horseback compete to see who can best draw a wooden block out of the ground with a sword or lance and carry it across a field. The sport is played in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and other countries.


Eid al-Fitr

Muslims celebrate a three-day festival at the end of Ramadan called Eid-al-Fitr. In 2020, Ramadan ends near the end of May. Families buy new clothes, decorate their homes, visit friends and relatives, and exchange gifts. Schools and businesses in Muslim countries close for the holidays.

Muslims in many countries greet each other during the festival by saying, “Eid Mubarak,” which means “blessed festival.” They may send greeting cards to other Muslims.

Egg fighting is a traditional game in Afghanistan played during the celebration. Two people each hold a hardboiled egg. They bump the ends of their eggs together until one egg cracks. The holder of the egg that is not cracked wins.

Note: Citizens of Afghanistan who declare faith in Christ experience serious persecution. Learn about Christians in Afghanistan in Bold Believers in Afghanistan, available in the free Downloads section.


Standing Up for Jesus in Afghanistan

(Source: VOM Radio. Edited for length and clarity. Photo: Afghan girl with a children’s Bible)

“I will share my own story of when I accepted Jesus,” said Javed, a Christian from Afghanistan. [Read about Christians in Afghanistan here.]

“We were in a neighboring country where we accepted the Lord. Then we went back to Afghanistan with our children.

“The children were small. We went to my parents’ house, and my father asked my son to say [the Muslim creed].”

(Note: Muslims are required to perform five duties called “The Five Pillars.” The first pillar is reciting the Muslim creed, which says, “There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is his messenger.”)

Javed continued, “But instead of saying what the Muslims say, my son said, ‘There is no God but God, and Jesus is the Spirit of God.’

“My brother and my dad, they were so upset. They started fighting with me and they broke my ribs. They kicked us out of their house. Anyway, this is what I experienced.

“But as a follower of Jesus, we never give up. We never stop loving them. Although I thought I had forgiven my father, there was still pain. Slowly I started praying for him again. The next time when I went to Afghanistan [20 years after I had accepted Jesus], everybody was happy to see me. My dad said, ‘My son, I have missed you so much.’ He hugged and kissed me.

“As a follower of Jesus, you have to continue praying for and loving them, even when they reject you. I can’t prepare somebody for persecution, but I can tell them that Jesus wants us to love and forgive.

“Jesus has victory. He is risen. Let’s remember that.”

(Learn more in the books Learning About Islam and Bold Believers in Afghanistan, available in the Downloads section.)


Martyrs Memorial Induction Ceremony

Standing with today’s persecuted Christians is central to our mission. But it is also important for us to draw inspiration from those who have gone before us…We have established this date, coinciding with the anniversary of the martyrdom of the Apostle Paul, as an annual day of remembrance called Day of the Christian Martyr. — Cole Richards, President of The Voice of the Martyrs

On June 29, 2019, Christians around the world took time to honor the legacy of those who have sacrificed their lives for the advancement of the gospel. The Day of the Christian Martyr reminded us of what God has done in the past through His faithful servants.

The Voice of the Martyrs added the names of Rodé and Jean-Pierre Groenewald and their father Werner to the Martyrs Memorial at VOM headquarters. In 2014, the Groenewalds gave their lives while serving the Lord in Afghanistan. One month before their deaths, Werner said, “We only die once, it might as well be for Christ.”

You can watch the induction ceremony here.
Parents and Teachers
Please preview “The Story of the Groenewalds” on the page with the video before allowing children to read it. You may also want to preview the induction ceremony video and choose the parts to share with kids.


Pray with Kids in the United Kingdom

Release International, located in the United Kingdom, is a member of The Voice of the Martyrs’ family of missions. (Read more about VOM’s family of missions around the world here.) Release International encourages kids to pray for Christians in countries where followers of Christ are persecuted. Read some of their recent suggested prayers below, and choose one to pray today.

Pakistani girls

Pakistan
Ask Jesus to be very close to Christian girls in Pakistan who are kidnapped and taken away from their families. They are often forced to marry Muslim men and even become Muslims themselves. Ask God to rescue them and get them back to their families. Pray that the girls will know Jesus’ love with them night and day and to know He is looking after them. Ask God to make their families brave and strong. Pray that teenagers Rimsha and Riffat, who were kidnapped, will know God’s love and peace and return home safely.

 

Afghan girl with a Bible

Afghanistan
Pray for a girl who has been persecuted at a school in Afghanistan. Her family moved to a different city to find a new school for her. However, her old school will not send her reports, so the new school will not allow her to start. Pray that God will give great love and peace to her family. Ask Him to give them hope and strength not to give up. Pray that God will provide a new school where the girl can learn, make new friends, and be happy.

 

 

Leah

Nigeria
Keek praying for Leah Sharibu, the 15-year-old girl who was kidnapped in Nigeria. Boko Haram, the radical Muslim group that took her away, said they will keep her as a slave because she will not stop loving Jesus. Pray for God to show His love in powerful ways to the kidnappers so they will let her go. Pray that another captive, Alice Ngaddah, and all other women and girls held as prisoners, will also be set free. Ask God to show them and their families His great love and to give them courage and hope.

 

 

Egyptian boy

Egypt
The following is a prayer for a boy in Egypt.
Dear God, thank you for protecting an 11-year-old boy who was nearly kidnapped by two men in Egypt. They wanted to take him away from his Christian parents just because they follow Jesus. Thank you for the person who rescued the boy. Please give the boy, his mom, and his family strength, peace, and healing. Help them trust You to keep them safe. Please look after the children of people who are helping Christians. Thank You. Amen.