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Seven Extra Children


The government of China encourages their citizens to have only one child. Sometimes officials punish families or make them pay fines if they have more than one child.

But one Chinese family has broken the rules—seven times!

The wealthy mother and father paid other women to have six children for them. And the mother had twins. All were born in September and October of 2011. News reports are calling the mother “octomom,” because she has eight babies, four boys and four girls. (The prefix “octo” means “eight.”)

Officials are investigating the situation.

Read a story about how God provided a brother for a Christian girl in China: A Special Sister and Brother.

Ling Gets a Bible

BibleA handwritten Chinese Bible

Parents and Teachers: The January issue of The Voice of the Martyrs newsletter features stories of spreading the gospel in difficult situations. To subscribe to the free monthly newsletter, visit our subscription signup page.

As you read the newsletters, you may want to share stories from this site about the featured countries with your children. Then pray together for the people in the stories.

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Talking to Zhang Rongliang

Zhang RongliangPastor Zhang while he was still in prison.

Zhang Rongliang is a Chinese Christian who was recently released after spending more than seven years prison in China. While he was in prison, Christians around the world prayed for him and wrote letters to Chinese officials on his behalf.

But they failed to get Zhang released early. Zhang recently talked to a VOM contact, and he had some surprising thoughts about Christians’ attempts to free him.

“I am happy that you and others tried to arrange for my release, but in one way, I am happy that you failed,” Zhang said to the contact. “You almost made a big mistake. If you had been successful, there would be no church in that prison today.”

Chinese Christians are not allowed to visit prisons to do prison ministry, so many prisoners do not have the opportunity to hear about Jesus. More than 5,000 men were in Zhang’s prison, and many of them were able to hear the good news of Jesus Christ while he was there. Fewer would have heard the good news if Zhang had spent less time in prison.

“Missionaries leave their homes to go to a new environment,” said Zhang. They preach the gospel in the area where they are called to preach. I consider myself and I treat myself as one who is a missionary. The difference is that God called me to preach to the prisoners.”

The VOM contact then went on to ask Zhang how his two sons reacted to his being away from them for so long while he was imprisoned, and what advice he had for fathers who might be facing time away from their family.

“First, try your best to spend time with them, as much as you can,” said Zhang. This is important and it is your responsibility. Then during those times you must be away, you must pray for them. You must put them completely in the hands of God. Remember, he will take better care of them than you can. Finally, always remember that the Word of God promises us that the children of the righteous will become like the oak tree in the hands of the Lord.

“I have spent a lot of time in prison, but the children know why their father is being kept in prison. We have taught our children that this lifestyle is our duty. When we teach, we put more focus, more emphasis on the will of God and on the position that he has given to us. God wants us to do a bigger thing for him. All who are called to ministry are different people. We are not like other people. The world does not understand us. But our lives and our calling are a precious thing in the eyes of God.

“God is number one. God and his will must always be first in our lives. After that, he will take care of all other things.”

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.

China VBS Skit

Two churches in California held a joint VBS using the Kids of Courage VBS curriculum, which suggests holding an “underground church” meeting. VBS leader Carol D. wrote a skit to illustrate what might happen at a secret church meeting in China. She has shared the skit with VOM to share with others who might want to perform it. You can read the skit below.

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