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Uygurs: Tornissa and the Unlikely Letter

China

Uygurs [also spelled “Uyghurs;” pronounced “WEE-gurz”] are a people group living mainly in northwest China. Almost all Uygurs are Muslim. China’s communist leaders want to control all religions in their country. Officials are often suspicious of Muslims or Christians who take their faith seriously.

Much has been reported in the news about internment camps for Uygur Muslims in northeastern China. However, Christians, Buddhists, Kazakh people, and other perceived threats to the Communist government are also imprisoned in the camps.

Learn more in Bold Believers Among China’s Uygurs, available in the Downloads section.

Read below the story of a Uygur girl who learned about Jesus from missionaries in the 1930s.

In the late 1800s, Swedish missionaries and other Christians worked among the Uygur Muslim people in Xinjiang, China. Then during the 1930s, a great persecution of Uygur Christians began. Missionaries were kicked out of Xinjiang.

Tornissa, a Uygur girl, was raised by Swedish missionaries in a Christian orphanage. She was 14 years old when the missionaries were forced to leave Xinjiang.

After the missionaries left, Chinese officials put Tornissa in prison for two years. She was treated badly in prison. She thought she would die from the harsh treatment. But God healed her after she was released.

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What Would You Do?

China
Studying God’s Word in China

A Chinese rice farmer, who was a new Christian, had a serious problem. Every day he pumped water by hand for his fields from an irrigation stream. It was very hard work.

Every night, his neighbors, who lived below him on a hillside, drained the water off the Christian farmer’s fields onto his own fields! He did not have to work hard and pump water by hand for his fields.

The Christian farmer went to some of his Christian friends and asked for advice. They prayed together and asked God for guidance. What do you think the farmer decided to do? What would you have done?

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Bold Chinese Sunday School Students

China

[From the Kids of Courage archives.]

Secret Sunday Schools
Sometimes it takes extra courage just to go to Sunday school in China. Government officials do not approve of adults teaching children under 18 about God and Jesus. The Bible does not agree (See Deuteronomy 6:6–7.)

At times Chinese officials ignore churches that have Sunday school classes for children. But sometimes police raid the classes and then put teachers and parents of the students in jail.

In recent years The Voice of the Martyrs and other ministries reported about a number of bold young believers in secret Sunday schools.

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Ling Gets a Bible

BibleA handwritten Chinese Bible

Ling left her home in China at the age of 17. She believed that God had called her to share the message of Jesus with people in the villages of China. When she left home, she had no food, very little money, and no Bible.

Few people in the region where she lived had Bibles. Some people borrowed Bibles and copied verses from them by hand or memorized the verses. The few Bibles available had been smuggled into the area at great risk to the smugglers.

Ling walked from village to village telling people about Jesus. Sometimes she met someone who owned a Bible. She memorized verses from their Bible to share in the next village. Ling prayed that God would provide her with a Bible of her own.

One day, Ling heard about a woman four miles away who had some Bibles. The Bibles had been smuggled to China by missionaries. Ling hurried to find the woman. “No!” said the woman when Ling asked her for a Bible. “These Bibles are very valuable. How do I know you are even a Christian?”

Ling pleaded with the woman. Finally the woman said she would give Ling a Bible if Ling could say the Lord’s Prayer without making any mistakes. Ling went to another village to visit a man with a Bible. The man had copied his entire Bible by hand. His hands were bent from the thousands of hours he spent copying the treasured words.

Ling memorized the Lord’s Prayer from the handwritten Bible and returned to the woman’s house. The woman gave Ling a Bible! She told Ling that some Christians had died getting the precious books to Chinese Christians.

To Try: Copy a paragraph from the Bible. How hard would it be to copy the entire Bible?


Chul: New Christian in Hiding

(From the Kids of Courage archives)

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom, and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”Matthew 6:9–13

It was a special occasion. Chul, a 12-year-old boy from North Korea, had just read the Lord’s Prayer out loud from a Bible. Workers from The Voice of the Martyrs worshipped with Chul and other North Korean refugees at a secret hideout in China.

Before he escaped from North Korea, Chul had never been to school. Many families in North Korea are too poor to buy shoes, paper, or pencils so their children can attend school. Also, food has been scarce in North Korea in recent years, and many children are too hungry to learn.

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