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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)


Keeping the Faith in Inner Mongolia

Isaac decided to quit school. He was only 15, so his education was not yet complete. “I just wanted to share the burden on my mother,” he said.

Isaac and his mother are Christians, and they live in Inner Mongolia.  Sadly, when Isaac was 10, his father died. Then two years later, his grandparents died. Isaac’s mother worked on a farm all day, but still didn’t make enough money to support herself and Isaac.

The local government gives widows a pension to help them provide for their families. But they refused to pay Isaac’s mother because she and Isaac attend a small church of about 60 believers. The government threatens people who won’t join their government-controlled church. They even warned other villagers not to help Isaac’s family.

“The thought in my heart was to work in a restaurant or shop,” said Isaac. “[My mother] works so hard,…and also serves our brothers and sisters in the community who are in need. If I did nothing, my heart would blame me. So I decided to quit school.”

Thankfully other Christians prayed for and helped the family, and Isaac was able to continue his education. He even won a math competition for his school. Isaac plans to attend Bible college after he graduates from high school. He and his mother appreciate continued prayer for their family.

(Source: VOM Australia)


Facts About Inner Mongolia

Mongolia: A country south of Russia and north of China.
Inner Mongolia: A region in China
Fact: Inner Mongolia has hosted the Chinese Ethnic Games. The games included traditional sports from all over China, including running races on stilts, horse archery, swing, bamboo beam boating, and pearl ball.In swing, teams of two women swing on high swings, trying to touch a row of bells. Whichever team hits the bells the most times in 10 minutes wins.

Pearl ball has some rules like basketball and some like volleyball (without a center net). But the baskets are held by players, and they move around the court. Some players hold rackets to hit the ball away from the baskets.

Christians in Mongolia
Watch the video clip above to learn about a Christian family that serves God in Inner Mongolia, where few people know Jesus.


Gladys Aylward, Missionary to China

By Elise Wixtrom, Kids of Courage Student Reviewer

Gladys Aylward was a missionary in China when the Japanese invaded the country during World War II. Like Eric Liddell, she lived in a village that was attacked by air. She and many orphans had to flee in the middle of the night. They made their way to the next city by foot.

Ever since she was very small, Gladys had wanted to be a missionary to China. She knew that she was supposed to bring the gospel to the unreached people there. Although she was sure of her calling, the missionary school she applied to did not think she was qualified to take on work like that.

Even though Gladys was rejected from that school, she began to save money for a train trip from her home in England to China. With no material support, Gladys headed on the long train ride through Europe and Asia. She was armed with nothing but a faith in God and a clear purpose to fulfill.

Though she experienced many setbacks on the way to China, Gladys made it to her destination safely. She and another woman operated an inn, where they ministered to the people of the local town. They had great success, until Gladys’ business partner fell sick and suddenly died, leaving Gladys to take care of the inn by herself. She quickly began to run out of money. Desperate, she prayed for God to grant her a miraculous opportunity. As she was praying, a knock came at the door. It was the mandarin (royal official) of that region, who offered her a job inspecting young women’s feet and making sure that they were healthy. With this newfound job, Gladys soon made enough money to reopen the inn and even take in orphans who she met in her travels.

She was known throughout the region as a powerful woman of faith, one who took in the sick and orphaned, calmed fights and riots, and gave hope in times of trouble. Gladys was widely respected, and her work in rural China touched many lives. However, when the war came, all that she had built was about to crumble. Gladys and the orphans had to run away in the middle of the night. They traveled on foot for many miles, overcome by tiredness and hunger. Afraid of the Japanese planes overhead, they hunkered beneath trees and rocks, and were shot at many times. They eventually made it to safety, and Gladys took in even more refugees who were displaced by the brutal war.

Gladys Aylward never gave up, even when she encountered setbacks and obstacles to her mission. She always trusted that God knew her destiny and that all she had to do was follow His plan for her. With her powerful faith, Gladys persevered through countless difficulties. Though she was weakened by many of the events of her life, she continued to serve God with an undying faith until the day she died.

More Information
The Gladys Aylward Story on DVD is available here.  Click here to see an Arabic version of the DVD’s trailer.

Learn about the old Chinese custom of foot binding and view photos of the tiny shoes women wore until Gladys unbound their feet.

Read more stories from the Kids of Courage archives about Gladys Aylward here, here, and here.


Torchlighters Shining Bright: From Texas to China

Michelle Curtis wrote the following story about a group of Texas kids who provided 300 Bibles for Christians in China. Michelle is an editorial assistant for the organization that produces the Torchlighters DVDs in cooperation with The Voice of the Martyrs. The DVDs feature stories of Christian heroes.

Today Michelle assists with various stages of bringing the stories of Christian heroes to the next generation. But years ago, Michelle was the child who first inspired the Torchlighters DVDs. You can read how that happened at Torchlighters.org. Now some children in Texas are inspiring those around them to put the lessons learned from Torchlighters into action.

The Texas Torchlighters
When the 2nd-5th graders of Life Foursquare Church (Angleton, TX) watched Torchlighter William Tyndale’s story, they were inspired to send Bibles to persecuted Christians in China. These eager youngsters wanted to follow Tyndale’s example and share God’s Word with people who otherwise could not read it. In just four weeks, together with their leaders, they collected enough money to send 300 Bibles to believers in China with the help of The Voice of the Martyrs (a co-producer of the Torchlighters).

Each child had a cardboard “gospel box” to collect money. Leaders encouraged the children to think about ways they could sacrifice in their own lives to send Bibles to Christian believers in China. Some gave their allowance. Some stopped buying things they wanted in order to give the money. One even gave the money that was supposed to go toward repainting a room and instead lived with the old paint. The kids also enthusiastically shared the need for Bibles and encouraged many others to contribute—family, neighbors, and even strangers!

In 1536, William Tyndale gave his life for “heresy,” having drawn attention to himself by illegally translating the Bible into English so that the common people could read it for themselves. Now a group of believers in Texas have made personal sacrifices to provide Bibles for Chinese Christians. Torchlighters is inspiring young torchlighters to grow even more torchlighters! We pray that the torch Tyndale lit by translating the Bible into English will continue to light many hearts of fire for God’s Word.

[Learn about VOM’s commitment to provide a Bible for every believer here.]