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Secret Christmas

What are some of your favorite things to do during the Christmas season? Do you like to:

Visit others’ houses to sing Christmas carols?
Get out of school for Christmas vacation?
Join with other Christians for a Christmas worship service?
Put lights and decorations outside your house?
Buy Christmas cards to send to friends?
Visit nativity scenes displayed in your town?

You would be breaking the law if you did those things in some Muslim countries.

Schools in Saudi Arabia are not allowed to make Christmas a school vacation day.
The Sultan of Brunei banned all public observances of Christmas.
It is illegal to sell Christmas cards in Maldives outside of areas where tourists visit.
A Muslim leader in Saudi Arabia even ruled that building a snowman is against Muslim rules. “It is not permitted to make a statue out of snow, even by way of play and fun,” he said.

Some people in strict Muslim countries celebrate Christmas secretly and post photos of their secret celebrations on social media. But they are careful not to include any photos that would allow government officials to find them.

This Christmas season, thank God for your freedom to honor His Son. Pray for those who don’t enjoy the same freedom.


News from Brunei

Brunei

The Sultan of Brunei has announced new Muslim (Sharia) laws for his country. Learn more about Sharia law here.

Some of the laws apply only to Muslims. For example, Muslims may be punished if they don’t pray memorized Muslim prayers on Fridays, the Muslim holy day. And Muslim girls cannot leave their parents’ custody until they are married.

But Christians are also concerned about parts of the law that may apply to Christians. Some of those rules are the following.

  • Non-Muslims can’t take care of Muslim children.
  • Muslims who become Christians may lose custody of their children.
  • Christians may not teach Muslim children about Christianity, even in Christian schools.
  • Non-Muslims cannot share their faith with Muslims.
  • Muslims cannot declare themselves to be non-Muslims.

July 15th is the 68th birthday of the Sultan of Brunei. Pray he will be a wise leader. Pray for the Christians in his country.


Hidden Countries

The Voice of the Martyrs helps Christians and monitors persecution in more than 50 countries. Find 10 of the countries hidden in the sentences below. Search for these countries: Libya, Oman, Iran, India, Mali, China, Nepal, Bhutan, Cuba, and Brunei.

Find out about more countries where VOM works here.

  1. Amy found a mouse in the bedroom and the kitchen.
  2. Kings and queens often live in fine palaces.
  3. A camel is a useful animal in the desert.
  4. The mother bear and her cub are hibernating.
  5. Members of the runners’ club run eight miles every day.
  6. People sometimes write prayers in diaries and journals.
  7. The family rode to the beach in a taxi.
  8. The taxi ran out of gas on the way to the beach.
  9. The campers ate chili by a campfire.
  10. The workers went to the drab hut and helped the owners paint it.

Country Search Answers

  1. Oman: Amy found a mouse in the bedroom and the kitchen.
  2. Nepal: Kings and queens often live in fine palaces.
  3. Mali: A camel is a useful animal in the desert.
  4. Cuba: The mother bear and her cub are hibernating.
  5. Brenei: Members of the runners’ club run eight miles every day.
  6. India: People sometimes write prayers in diaries and journals.
  7. China: The family rode to the beach in a taxi.
  8. Iran: The taxi ran out of gas on the way to the beach.
  9. Libya: The campers ate chili by a campfire.
  10. Bhutan: The workers went to the drab hut and helped the owners paint it.

Praise the Lord Around the World

Use the chart below to learn how to say “Praise the Lord” in 10 other languages. Sing the song “Hallelu, Hallelu, Hallelu, Hallelujah” or another song with the words “praise (ye) the Lord” in it. Substitute one or more of the phrases for the English words.

Country
Language
How To Say It
Iran Farsi KHOH-dah-rah SHOH-kr
Pakistan Punjabi RAHB-dee tah-REEF HO-vay
China Chinese tzahn-may joo
Colombia Spanish GLOH-ree-uh ah dee-ohs
Russia, Kazakhstan Russian SLAH-vuh BOH-goo
Many Muslim Countries Arabic MAHG-duh lah rahp
Eritrea Tigrinya gway-tah yeh mess ghen
Malaysia, Brunei Malay Poo-jee TOO-hahn
Nepal Nepali jay muh-SEE
Bangladesh Bangla ee-shohr-air goor-ohb hohk

Brunei

Brunei

Brunei

RESTRICTED

Capital
Bandar Seri Begawan

Size
Slightly smaller than Delaware.

Main Languages
Malay, English, Chinese

Time
At 6:00 a.m. U.S. Central Standard Time, it is 7:00 p.m. in Brunei.

History
Brunei used to be ruled by Britain, but it became independent in 1984.

Religion
Mostly Muslim.

Persecution
The official religion of Brunei is Islam, the religion of Muslims. Christians are not allowed to spread their faith. School books show women and girls wearing Muslim clothing, and do not show people who follow religions other then Islam. Muslims are not permitted to marry people who are not Muslims. Christian believers often meet secretly for worship.