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Cuba: House Church Stands Firm

 

Have you ever attended a lock-in with a church group? If so, did you play games, watch movies, and have devotions. Would you like your church to have a lock-in every night?

A church in Cuba had something like a lock-in for several days in a row. The church met in a garage that was donated to church members. They had been meeting in the building for eight years, but the government began pressuring them to close the church.

When the Christians continued meeting, government workers came to destroy the small building. But they stopped when they saw that church members were inside. Since the authorities wouldn’t tear down the building when people were there, church members decided to stay in the church day and night to prevent the destruction of their meeting place.

To Think About
What would you do if you and your friends at church had to stay in a small building for more than a week? How would you stay strong and not get discouraged?

Note: The church’s situation was resolved and the members continue to meet together. Praise God for the faithful Christians.


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.


Cuba: Christian Kids Banned from Activities

Cuban boy

VOM workers Todd Nettleton and Jonathan Ekman recently visited Christians in Cuba. They discovered that Jesus is the center of the believers’ lives, even though government officials often give them a hard time because of their loyalty to Christ.

Read part of Todd and Jonathan’s conversation below.

Todd: I’m a dad, and one of the things that we noticed was that the Christian children in Cuba pay a big price for what their parents are doing for God’s kingdom.

Jonathan: It’s a hard thing for us dads to think about. Because of their parents’ faith, children have lost opportunities in education, sports, and other things. Because their dads are pastors, they don’t have access to those things.

Todd: One Christian young man was very talented in an activity. But he was told, “Your talents are outstanding…but, sorry, you can’t be involved.” We heard stories of Christian students who went to school and got straight A’s right up until the day of graduation. Then they were told, “You won’t be able to get your diploma. Sorry.”

Jonathan: I asked a pastor’s son, “How do you feel about this?” He said, “It’s okay. We all pay a price.” A young man said that he has the world in front of him, but he is never going to get to experience it because of his faith.

The children have to go to a state school where they are taught communism all day long. [Learn more about communism here.] So VOM tries to help parents and families minister to their children.

(Source: VOMRadio.net. Edited for clarity, length, and age appropriateness.)

To Talk About
*What did the pastor’s son mean when he said, “We all pay a price?” (Read 2 Timothy 3:12.)
* What is your favorite activity? What would you do if you were told you could no longer participate in the activity because of your faith in God?


Cuba: Past and Present

Cuba

The events in the true story below happened in the late 1990s. At the time, Fidel Castro was the leader of Cuba.

The story reminds us that it is important to pray for countries we hear about in the news, and for Christians in those countries.

Story: The Christmas-in-Cuba Kids
Every morning, the kindergarten class at a Christian school in Florida prayed for nations around the world. They used an alphabetical list of countries in a prayer guide to help them. Soon they got to countries that begin with the letter “C.”

At about the same time, their teacher, Mrs. Carter, began reading aloud to the class from the book by C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. “In the story,” said Mrs. Carter, “it is always winter, because the evil queen forbade springtime. Most of all, she forbade Christmas.”

Mrs. Carter told what happened in her class next.

Read the rest of this entry »


Praising God Around the World: A QR Code Activity

Instructions for Parents and Teachers
Print the QR codes and descriptions below, cut them out, and attach them to the corresponding country on a world map on the wall or in an atlas. Download any QR code reader app on your smartphone or tablet. Have students use the app to scan the QR code and watch videos of Christians around the world praising God.

QR Code Description: Most of the people in Turkey are Muslims. A camp in Turkey gives Christian children the opportunity to spend time with other Christians. The words “Isa Masih” in the song mean “Jesus” in Turkish.
QR Code Description: Watch children in Bangladesh singing, jumping rope, playing cricket (a game like baseball), threshing rice, and riding on a bus. Dutch Christians took the video, and the captions are in Dutch, the language of the Netherlands.
Bangladesh has the fourth largest Muslim population in the world. Less than one percent of the people are Christians.
QR Code Description: A refugee is someone who flees from a place of danger to go to a safer place. The video shows Christian refugees in Indonesia who left their homes after Muslims attacked their area several years ago. They are singing about their joy in the Lord.
QR Code Description: Iranian Christians dance while chanting the names of God. On the video, their faces have been hidden to protect their identity because Christians in Iran are in danger of persecution by Iranian officials.
QR Code Description: A few years ago, officials in Vietnam warned members of a house church that it was against the law to display a “Joy to the World” banner at Christmastime. The officials also said the church could not have a Christmas celebration with neighbors and friends.

Officials in Vietnam still give tribal Christians a hard time, and the Christians still sing of their joy in Christ.

QR Code Description: Watch Christians worship at a church in Cuba, where freedom of religion is not always observed, and persecution still happens.