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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.


Changing Hearts Through Humble Service

Afghan girl with a children’s Bible

John Weaver, an American Christian who has worked in Afghanistan, recently talked with Todd Nettleton at VOMRadio.net about his time serving in Afghanistan. “Afghanistan is a big country,” John said. “It is the size of Texas, and there is no Christian church there at all…zero, absolutely zero….But there are people there that are hungry [for the truth].”

Some Afghans are turning to Christ, but there is often a price to pay for becoming a Christian in Afghanistan. Sometimes new believers are imprisoned for their faith.

John told the story of two Afghan Christian brothers who were put in prison because of their faith. Members of the Taliban were in the same prison.

[The Taliban is a group of radical Muslims in Afghanistan. Taliban means “students” in Arabic. Members of the group think that women should not go to school, and men should grow beards. They do not like TV, music, games, or some sports. Taliban radicals believe in harsh punishment for Muslims who become Christians.]

The Christian brothers began sharing their faith with the people in the prison. John said, “One of the Taliban soldiers had his legs blown off from the war. [One of the Christians] would pick him up and take him every day to use the little latrine, which was not a nice place. The Christian told us, ‘God was with us every day. It began to soften the hearts of these ruthless Taliban guys. They saw we were in prison but we had done nothing wrong — we were followers of Jesus. And here we were serving the ones who would love to kill us.’”

To Talk About
The Taliban soldiers’ hearts began to change after someone humbly served them. Read Luke 22:26-27. What did Jesus say about serving others?

You may not be able to show kindness to someone in Afghanistan, but you can practice serving others humbly at home or at school. What act of service can you do today?

(Source: VOMRadio.net. Edited from the original for length and clarity.)