Donate | VOM Resources

Secret Rules

China
American girl eating in China

Missionaries to other countries may have trouble learning all the customs and unwritten rules of the people around them. For example, in some countries, it is not polite to eat with the left hand, and in some places, it is insulting to show others the bottom of one’s shoe.

Divide into two teams. Have teams meet separately where they can’t hear each other while discussing their strategy. Ask each team to make up a very simple imaginary secret rule about eating a snack. Examples: Use only your right hand to eat. Or everyone must sit with their right foot crossed over their left. Or every spoken sentence must end with “please” or “thank you.” Or girls must look down at their food and never raise their eyes.

Then let the teams interact while a simple snack is served. Try to discover the other team’s secret rule within a certain time limit. (If you do not want to serve a snack, teams can think of a rule to follow while listening to a story.)

To Think About

  • What are some “unwritten” rules or customs of your country that others might have trouble understanding?
  • With an adult, attend a church that follows customs with which you are not familiar. Talk about how it felt to be in a place with different “rules.”
  • How can you welcome and help new people who come to your church and might not understand how things are done at your church?

Homeschooling Forbidden

(Source: ChinaAid Association)

A court in China has forbidden a Christian mother to homeschool her children.

In China, it is illegal for parents or teachers to teach religion to children under the age of 18. Fan Ruzhen began homeschooling her children several years ago. She hoped to provide them with a Christian education. Last September, authorities sued her, saying that she must send her children to public schools for an atheistic education. (Read about atheism here.)

A district court ruled in favor of the officials and ordered Fan to send her children to public school. Fan fought the ruling, bringing it to an intermediate court. The court ruled that there is no disagreement between faith and the public education system. It also emphasized that children who follow a religion must be educated in the atheistic system.

Please pray for Fan’s family and for other Christian families in China who have to send their children to schools that teach false beliefs. Pray that the children will have God’s truth in their hearts and follow that truth.

(Photo: Chinese girl reading a Bible)


Hundreds of Crosses Disappear

One day last month, more than 100 security officials showed up at two churches in China. They brought large cranes with them, which they used to take the crosses off the tops of the churches.

The officials broke the locks on the church doors and destroyed some church property. They attacked church members who tried to stop the destruction. They even pushed a man in his 80s to the ground.

The two churches were not the only victims of the government’s crackdown. During the first four months of 2020, crosses were removed from at least 250 churches. The government of China is also making many other rules to limit Christian activities.

Below are some ways you can pray about the situation.
*Ask God to give church leaders wisdom as they try to continue serving their congregations.
*Ask God to help Chinese children and adults who want to learn more about Jesus but don’t know how to find people to help them.
*Pray that God will encourage Christians in their faith when they can’t gather with other believers.


China Word Squares

Print the puzzle boxes below, or draw a 4 by 4 block of squares like the ones below on a piece of paper. Solve the puzzles so that each word square reveals the same words vertically (up and down) and horizontally (across).
Across and Down

  1. China built a Great ___ to keep out invaders; rhymes with “ball.”
  2. In ___, China is the fourth largest country in the world.
  3. A colorful plastic toy building brick.
  4. ___ is China’s neighbor. It is between Burma (Myanmar) and Vietnam.
1
2
3
4
1
2
3
4
Across and Down

  1. China is all in one time ___; rhymes with “tone.”
  2. China used to be closed to outsiders; now it is more ___.
  3. Many people in China now know they ___ Jesus; rhymes with “heed.”
  4. Jesus said His disciples would be His witnesses to the ___ of the earth (Acts 1:8, NIV).
Across and Down

  1. Almost ___ of China ’s people follow no religion; same as 50%.
  2. A sea east of China ; “lara” spelled backwards.
  3. The last volcano eruption in China was in 1951; melted rock from a volcano is ___.
  4. The ___ of China has five yellow stars.
1
2
3
4
  1. Wall, area, Lego, Laos
  2. zone, open, need, ends
  3. half, Aral, lava, flag

China: New Ways to Witness

Todd Nettleton of VOM Radio recently talked to Brother Joel, a Christian worker who distributes Bibles in China on behalf of The Voice of the Martyrs. Joel shared stories of how Christians in China are dealing with current conditions in their country. Read part of the interview below.

Todd: In the last couple of years, more Chinese churches have been torn down, and others have been forced to close…. Right now, one of the first questions I ask international workers is about the coronavirus. How is the virus affecting the church in China? How is the church responding to the pandemic?

Joel: I would say that there has been somewhat of an increase in persecution during the virus. The church thought this would be a time when the government would be so focused on the virus that they wouldn’t have enough energy or time or people to focus on persecution of the church. But apparently that has not been the case.

But the main way I believe the coronavirus has affected the church is their desire to use this pandemic as a way to preach Christ. Even though most of the church members have lost their jobs, and they are sequestered in their homes, they are doing everything they can to start new outreach programs. They are finding families who have had a death or severe sickness, and they are meeting their physical needs. They are trying to get food to them. They are trying to get aid to them as much as they can.

There is also spiritual outreach where they are just talking to people. People around the world are feeling depressed about the virus. They are feeling lonely, and the church is trying to fill that void with Jesus.

People were not permitted to go outside very much. Even if they had only a few masks, when they could get outside, they would stop people on the street and say, “Do you need a mask? I only have 10, but I will give you one, and I would like to tell you about Jesus.” It is just tremendous the way the church has used this for evangelism.

Todd: I think there is a lesson there for American Christians, as well. Every crisis comes with an opportunity for us to reach out and share the gospel.

(Source: VOM Radio. Edited for length and clarity)