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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.


What Can You Do? More Countries to Pray for

The previous post included suggested prayers for Christian children around the world. Below are three more prayers provided by Release International, The Voice of the Martyrs’ sister mission in the United Kingdom. Can you choose one to pray for today?

Dear Father God,
Please protect Christian children and their families in India who are attacked and hurt badly because they love You. Help them to find people who will look after them and be kind to them. By Your great power, heal Your children and families who are still hurting. Amen.

Dear Jesus,
Please be very close to Your children and their families in North Korea who are sent to prison for loving You. Many are killed or hurt badly. They have very little food to eat. Hold them tightly in Your arms of love. Shine the light of Your love in their hearts. Let them know how much You love them. Let them know You are with them every second of every day and every night. Fill the hearts of the prison officers with Your love and truth so they will believe in Jesus, too. Amen.

Dear Father God,
Please heal the children who have been hurt in attacks in Egypt. Some have been bombed in churches or attacked on their way home or on buses. Protect the girls who are being kidnapped and taken away from their families. Bless their hearts with Your love as they miss each other so much. Act in Your almighty power and bring them home. Show Your love to the people who kidnap the girls. Help them to follow Jesus, too, and to know that You are the only God. Amen.

(Source: Release International, Edited)

Read more about Christians in India, North Korea, and Egypt in Bold Believers books in the Downloads section.

 


Egypt: Rana

Egyptian girls

Eight-year-old Rana was very sad when her father died. But she and her mother, Muna, could take comfort in knowing that he was in heaven with Jesus.

Rana’s parents, like most people in Egypt, were Muslims. After they learned the truth about Jesus, they decided to follow Him. But they kept their faith a secret. Sometimes Muslims in Egypt who become Christians are persecuted for their faith.

After Rana’s father died, her grandparents insisted that Muna get married again. They gave her a choice between two Muslim men. Muna did not know what to do. She and Rana lived with Rana’s grandparents, so it would have been hard to go against their wishes.

Then one day, Muna was watching a Christian TV program. A Christian speaker on the program said that marriage is a holy covenant with God. They told about the verse in 2 Corinthians 6 that says Christians should not be “yoked together” with unbelievers.

The words gave Muna courage to tell her parents that she would not marry either of the men they chose, and to move out of their house with Rana. She would not marry a Muslim man, and Rana would not have a Muslim stepfather.

Pray for Rana, Muna, and other secret Christians, and pray that Christian TV programs will reach more who need to hear Christian truths.

To learn more about Christians in Egypt, read Bold Believers in Egypt, available in the free Downloads section.

(To protect their identities, the names of some of the people on this website and some identifying details have been changed. Some of the quotes and stories have been edited and paraphrased from the original sources for clarity, length, and age appropriateness.)


Egypt: Christine, a Christian

Girl in Egypt

The Voice of the Martyrs USA is part of a worldwide family of missions that were started through the influence of Pastor Richard Wurmbrand. SDOK is VOM’s sister mission in the Netherlands. Stef is SDOK’s children’s magazine and website.

The following story about a girl in Egypt comes from Stef magazine.

I Wish I Could Fly
Hi, I’m Christine. I live in Egypt. In my family we have three boys and three girls. My brothers are called George, Mohammed, Mina, Anwar, Kirelos and Ahmed. My sisters are called Maryam, Souad, Marina and Yasmine. And then me. My name is Christine and Fatima.

It’s true that we have six children, but it looks like 12! Everybody has two names: an Islamic name and a Christian name.

Poverty
When I was born, my parents were Muslim. We lived in a small village and were very poor. My father is a baker. The money he earned was never enough for us. My father decided to follow Jesus, and then our lives became very different.

Baptized
After my father became a Christian, he became a better father. My mother and all of us became Christians, too, and then we were all baptized. If you are baptized, you leave your old life behind you and you get a new life with Jesus.

And with a new life, we take a new name. But we don’t use our new name. In Egypt, it is not allowed to change your faith. On my identity card, I am called Fatima, and it says I am a Muslim. Muslims are expected to go to the mosque, to learn verses from the Quran at school, and to wear a headscarf if you are a girl. [A mosque is a building where Muslims worship, and the Quran is the Muslim holy book.]

Christian?
No matter how careful we were, our neighbors noticed we were different “You have changed,” they said. “Are you Christians or something?”

That might seem like a compliment, but in our village, it is an insult. We never responded to their comments. Thankfully, other Christians invited my father to live in a big city. Nobody would know us there.

Or would they?

Recognized
It was wonderful to be in the big city and to go to church. I felt so close to God! I want to learn more about Him and to be more like Jesus.

But we lived there only a short time, then things went wrong. My brother was recognized by someone in the city from our village. The man was hostile. He said, “Now I am sure you are a Christian.” My brother ran anxiously through the city with the man chasing him. When he was sure he was no longer being chased, he came home.

Now we are moving to another part of the city. My brothers almost never go outside anymore.

Sometimes friends ask them to join them in going to the mosque. But they do not want to go, of course, and they say they are sick. I think that is true, because they do not really look good.

To Hide or Fly
I sometimes don’t know how we can go on. We cannot keep playing hide and seek. I just want to say what I am, and that is Christine. A Christian.

I wish I had wings and could fly away.

There are also people in the Bible who wanted to fly away. David wrote in a song that he wished he had wings like a dove, then he could flee to a safe place. And I want that too!

Bye, Christine

To Do
*Read Psalm 55:6-8. Pray for Christine and her family


Egypt: A Hard Situation

Egyptian boy

SDOK is VOM’s sister mission in the Netherlands. A worker from SDOK recently visited Egypt and talked to Christians there. After she returned home, the worker wrote told the story below. It appeared in Stef, which is SDOK’s children’s magazine.

The worker asked readers who read the story, “What would you do if you were the boy?” Many readers responded. “We have had a lot of reactions,” the worker said. Read the story and see what you think. And pray for the boy and his family.

What a story I heard in Egypt!

It’s about a boy of ten. He tells his story like this:

“I have a brother and a sister. My sister is ten years older than I am. We are Muslims, and I think we are quite good people.

“My father even went to another country with my sister, and when she came back, she was wearing a long black coat with a headscarf.

[Note: In some Muslim countries, veils and other coverings are symbols of strict Islam. Some women and girls wear coverings to bring honor to their families. Others cover their heads to show they are serious about their faith. Many cover themselves in front of people outside their family.]

“But after a while she put on regular clothes. After a few months, she quit even wearing a headscarf.

“One day my father came out of my sister’s room with a black book in his hand and he was very angry. ‘What are you doing with a Bible in your bag?’ he yelled at my sister. My sister did not say anything. My father kept yelling. ‘You have changed! Have you become a Christian or something? If so, I’d rather be dead!’

“My father really said that. Suddenly he turned to me and whispered in a threatening way, ‘She cannot step outside of the house the door without you. You must spy on her. Understood?’

“I nodded, but did not understand.

“That same night, a terrible thing happened. My father suddenly died of cardiac arrest. Everyone is now blaming my sister. She is still sweet and beautiful, but she has become very pale and thin.

I’ve been worrying for weeks about what to do. I know I should obey my father’s final wishes, but I do not want to be a spy and certainly do not want to spy on my dear sister.”

“What would you do?”