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Mother’s Day Prayers

Santa and Sien

Soman and his wife, Santa, trusted in Christ as their Savior about seven years ago. They started a house church in their home in Bangladesh and invited their friends and neighbors. Many more people came to the Lord and were baptized.

But not everyone in their village welcomed the good news. A gang attacked the little village store that Soman and Santa owned, and they beat up Soman. They warned him to stop following Jesus.

(It’s not illegal to be a Christian in their country. In fact, more than 7 million people in Bangladesh have watched Christian videos on YouTube, and some have come to Christ. But Muslims do not approve of other Muslims leaving their religion, Islam, and becoming Christians.)

Soman’s leg was injured in the attack. He developed complications and, sadly, he died a few years later. After he died, family members took away Santa’s land. They said she couldn’t keep it because she was not a Muslim. They tried to force her to follow Islam.

Now Santa and her 4-year-old son, Sien, live in a “safe house” operated by The Voice of the Martyrs. (See the photo.) They will be safe there, and will be able to gain strength from other Christians in the house.

On Mother’s Day, pray for Santa and other mothers who are taking care of children alone.

Also remember:
*Mothers who are in jail for their faith.
*Mothers whose children were taken from them when they became Christians.
*Mothers who are raising their children as Christians in non-Christian places.

Bangladesh: No Revenge

Cricket ball

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.”

No Freedom to Teach Kids

Boys in Bangladesh reading a children’s Bible

In the United States, we are thankful for our freedom to worship and to speak about our beliefs. Religious freedoms are some of the freedoms we thank God for on July 4th.

In our country, we are free to go to church and Sunday school, to read our Bibles, to sing Christmas songs, and to pray without anybody trying to stop us. But in many other countries, Christians do not have the same freedoms we have.

In some places, governments try to keep Christians from teaching the truth about Jesus to children. They understand that the lessons children learn when they are young will stick with them the rest of their lives.

In Bangladesh this year, police in one Muslim village said that Christians are allowed to talk about their faith only with other adults. They also said that no one under age 20 may convert to another religion. That means that Muslim youth would not be allowed to become Christians.

In one area of China, local officials issued an order forbidding anyone under 18 from entering a church. Officials visit church services, and if they see children at the church, they close down the church. “Many believers are afraid to come to church,” said a Chinese Christian.

To Talk About
*What are some religious freedoms for which you are thankful?
*Why do some governments forbid Christians from teaching Bible truths to children?
*What do you think you would do if you were told that your church would close down if you attended church?

Bangladesh: A Bully Comes to Jesus

Kids in Bangladesh

Edward hated Christians. He and his family were Muslims, and they believed that anyone who became a Christian was a betrayer of Islam. (Islam is the religion of Muslims.)

Serious Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset throughout the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. (Learn more about Ramadan here.) Edward, who was a student at a college in Bangladesh, wanted to be a good Muslim. So he fasted all day during the month. One day, he had an unexpected visitor.

Edward told a VOM worker what happened next. Read his story below.

I wanted to be one of the best Muslims, so I was fasting. One day, a Christian young man came to share the gospel with me. I was in a religious mood, and I was greatly offended. I was surprised to see his boldness to share the gospel with a Muslim during Ramadan.

I told him, “Why don’t you come back in the evening after the end of the fast?” I got some friends together, and when he came back, they beat him up. He was seriously injured. We put him on a rickshaw and sent him back to his mission.

After that, I was in some fear because I was thinking he would go to the police since he was seriously wounded. A few days later, he came again. I was 100 percent sure he came to get revenge. But he was smiling and said he wanted to be a friend of mine.

That was the first time I started thinking about Christianity in a positive way. He had a forgiving heart and a big smile, and that changed me. I started going to church and learned more about Jesus Christ. After two years, I surrendered my life to Jesus and accepted Him as my Savior and Lord.

In the beginning, it was not the gospel [that made me want to be a Christian], but it was the young man’s living gospel — his love and forgiveness.

To Talk About
Edward thought the Christian would bring his friends and beat Edward up to get revenge. How do you think the story would have ended if the Christians and the Muslims kept taking turns beating each other up?
What changed Edward from being a Christian-hater to a follower of Christ?


Bangladesh Pasta Dessert Recipe

Cooking in Bangladesh

2 cups of milk
Handful of angel hair pasta, broken into 3-inch pieces
½ cup of whipping cream
½ cup of raisins
½ stick of butter
2 tablespoons of sugar

1. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Lightly brown the pasta in the butter over low heat, stirring frequently.
2. Add milk and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
3. Reduce heat and add raisins and sugar. Cook over low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
4. Add whipping cream and cook for 2 more minutes. Refrigerate before serving.

Islam is the official religion of Bangladesh. It is not against the law for Christians to worship, but they face serious persecution, especially if they are Christians who used to be Muslims.

Watch a video of kids in Bangladesh playing.