Donate | VOM Resources

Is Suffering Good or Bad?

The following Chinese legend illustrates how events that seem “bad” or “good” might not turn out that way.

One day, a poor farmer’s horse got loose and ran into the hills near the farm. The farmer depended on the horse to do work. His family and neighbors said, “Oh, that’s so sad. What a terrible thing to happen!” The next week the horse came home, leading a herd of wild horses to the farm. Instead of one horse, the farmer now had many!

The farmer’s son began to train the wild horses to do farm work. But while he was taming them, he broke his leg. He could no longer help his father with the work. “What a terrible thing to happen!” everyone said.

A few days later, the army came and took away every healthy male youth to fight with them. The farmer’s son was not allowed to go because of his broken leg. He was able to help his father on the farm when he healed.

Read the story of Joseph and his brothers in Genesis. Can you think of a time when something that seemed bad or good turned out to be the opposite?


Back to School

 

(Photo: Two children at a school in Africa. Their faces are covered to protect their identity from people who may want to harm them or their families.)

This is the time of year when most American kids return to school for the fall semester. But Christian kids in some countries don’t always have the freedom to get a good education in peace.

*Cuba
Christian children are sometimes mocked, bullied, and not promoted to the next grade.

*China
Officials in China closed a Christian school last year, claiming that the children were “brainwashed.”

*Indonesia
Muslim parents warn their children not to play with Christian children or make friends with them.

*Uganda
In parts of Uganda, Christian children are not welcome to attend school in Muslim areas.

*Mexico
In Chiapas, Mexico, authorities sometimes refuse to let children stay in school if their parents become Christians.

*Egypt
Christian children in Egypt have been forced to sit in the back of the class, and some students are given bad grades just because they are Christians.

*Pakistan
Christians in Pakistan are often hired to do only low-paying jobs. They sometimes can’t afford to send their children to school.

To Talk About
*Will you thank God today for your school assignments and for the opportunity to get an education?
*Ask God to protect and provide for children in each of the countries mentioned above.


A Secret Bible, Part 2

Peter and Ruth
The previous post told about Peter and Ruth, Christian workers who spread God’s Word in areas where it can be hard to get a Bible. Do you know how they get the stories of Jesus to hard-to-reach places?

Peter revealed the answer. “It’s inside us!” he said.

Peter and Ruth are part of a “Word by Heart” program, which helps people learn and share Scripture. “In some countries we can’t take the Bible, but if we know [a Bible story] word for word in our heart, in any country we go into, they can’t take it away,” Peter said. “No country can outlaw storytelling,” added Ruth.

Word by Heart workers tell Bible stories while translators share the story with their audience in the local languages. Not everybody they talk to can read or write. “Anybody can listen,” said Peter. And the message spreads quickly. “We can tell the story to 10 or 15 people, and those people can go and share it with more family and friends.”

“If the police come, they won’t find anything,” said Ruth.
(Source: VOM Radio. Edited for length.)

Gladys Aylward
Gladys Aylward was a missionary to China in the 1900s. She helped an older missionary operate an inn where they shared Bible stories with Chinese merchants and drivers who passed through the area.

The men had never heard the stories of a man named Jesus who “went about doing good” (Acts 10:38). Yang, the cook at the inn, helped Gladys learn Chinese words to tell the stories.

Enter “Aylward” in the Search box to find more stories about Gladys.

To Do
The activity below is from The Torchlighters Ultimate Activity Book. Learn more about the book here.

Choose a Bible story to learn well enough to present it to others. Read the story in a Bible or Bible storybook several times until you can tell it without looking at the book. Ask your parent or teacher if you can tell your family or class the story during a meal or other break. Share the story. If there is time, ask your listeners questions about it to learn what they remember and understand.

Here are some story suggestions:
*A story from Mark 4–5 or a parable of Jesus
*Daniel and the lion’s den (Daniel 6)
*David and Goliath (1 Samuel 17)
*Jonah (the Book of Jonah)
*Jeremiah’s rescue (Jeremiah 38:1–13)
*Jesus’ birth (Luke 2:1–20)
*Jesus’ resurrection (Luke 24)
*Moses and the burning bush (Exodus 3:1 – 4:17)
*Noah (Genesis 6:9 – 9:17)
*The Story of Creation (Genesis 1:1 – 2:4)
*****


Eric Liddell

By Elise Wixtrom, Kids of Courage Student Reviewer

Eric Liddell was raised in China by Scottish parents until the age of six, when he went off to boarding school in England with his younger brother. He attended the school, called Eltham College, until graduation.

Liddell was born to be a runner. His parents knew how fast he was from the time he could walk. After graduation, Liddell trained to race at a world-class level. His reputation grew until he made Great Britain’s Olympic team in 1924. He went to Paris with his colleagues to compete in the 100-meter run. Everyone was excited for him, and Scotland believed that he was a worthy representation of their country’s athletic ability. His event was highly anticipated.

There was just one problem. The 100-meter race was due to take place on a Sunday, and Eric Liddell was a Christian. Though many Christians nowadays play sports on Sunday, at that time devout believers did not work or play on the Sabbath. So Liddell disqualified himself from the event in order to make a point about his faith. Though he felt he was doing the right thing, many people did not. In fact, British newspapers began publishing articles that called him a traitor and a disgrace.

Instead of his running in his usual race, Eric ran in the 200-meter and 400-meter races, which were not on Sunday. They had never been his best events, but they allowed him to both compete and honor God with his time. He surprised the world with a gold medal and a new world record in the 400-meter event, and a bronze medal in the 200. Again he was a national hero.

However, Liddell did not continue racing. Instead, he turned to missionary work.

Liddell returned to China to finish the work that his parents had started so many years before. While he was in China, the Japanese army attacked the compound where he worked and taught. Liddell was captured by the Japanese and forced to go to an internment camp, where he eventually died.

Even though Liddell died before he could see the effect of his actions on the Chinese people, through his legacy, many generations of Chinese Christians have known God. Because Eric Liddell gave up his passion, he was able to advance the gospel in a land that was foreign to him. He felt and followed God’s calling even when it was inconvenient.

Find out more about Torchlighters DVDs here.

Students and Leader Guides for Torchlighters DVDs are available at Torchlighters.org and in the Downloads section of this site.


Fighting Christianity

Churches in parts of China are growing. Some families in rural areas don’t earn enough money to meet their daily needs. They are learning to rely on God to help and guide them through hard times.

But China’s government has been cracking down on Christianity and churches. (Learn more here and here.)

Now government officials are putting up billboards to try to convince people to abandon their faith in God. One billboard says, “”If you go to church every day to learn about the Lord, God still cannot relieve your hardships. Follow the Party and don’t believe in God. The Party can give happiness to all. If your heart is not right, believing in the Lord is useless. Go get more positive energy so that our country will be powerful and families thrive.” (The “Party” means the Communist Party, which rules China.)

To Do
*If you could put up a billboard to teach people that the Chinese government’s message is false, what would it say? Draw a “billboard” with your message on it.
*Read about China in Bold Believers in China, available in the Downloads section.
*Learn about life in Communist countries here.

(Sources: China Aid and VOM Canada)