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Make a Coptic Cross

Needed: Paper, old CDs or DVDs, scissors, pencils, colored paper or poster board

Note: Some Coptic Christians in Egypt tattoo a cross on the inside of their wrist as a reminder of their Christian faith. Gangs that kidnap Christians remove the cross tattoos of their victims. But they can’t remove Jesus from the Christians’ hearts.

Read more about Coptic Christians in the Egypt Lesson Plan here.


Remember an Egyptian Mother on Mother’s Day

Egyptian mother and children

 

After Hasina fell asleep at night, she often had dreams about Jesus. But Hasina, like most of the people in Egypt where she lived, was a Muslim. Muslims are taught that Jesus was just a prophet, and not the Son of God sent by His Father to save believers from the sin that separates them from God.

Hasina’s dreams led her to seek Jesus and the truth about Him. She kept her search a secret from her son and her Muslim husband.

When Hasina began reading the Bible, she learned that God loved her. He made a way for her to come to Him through Jesus. She trusted Christ as her Savior and was secretly baptized.

One day, a taxi driver who knew her secret threatened to tell Hasina’s husband that she was a Christian. Hasina knew that her husband might harm her if he found out. And if she ran away and took her son with her, her husband might harm them both.

Hasina had to make a very hard decision. Should she deny Christ, become a Muslim again, and stay with her family? Or should she follow Christ and risk never seeing her son again? Hasina thought and prayed about her decision.

“I trust God and His promises in the Bible,” she thought. “My son can’t bring me to Christ, but Christ can return my son to me. I will depend totally on God to one day bring my son to me once again.”

Christians took Hasina to a secret “safe house” where she will not be harmed. Other Christians where she lives, Christians around the world, and even you, are now her family.

“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers” (Galatians 6:10).

Hasina said, “God told us in the Bible that he will reward us when we lose our family. [See Matthew 19:29.] So He gave me a family. This is how God is helping me now and surrounding me with His love.”

(Source: The Voice of the Martyrs newsletter. Edited for clarity and length.)

This year on Mother’s Day, remember Hasina and other mothers in countries where Christians are persecuted.


Christians Attacked in Libya

Libya
Boys playing on a tank in Libya

Some Christian men from poor families in Egypt went to Libya to find jobs. (Libya is next to Egypt in Africa.) The men sent money they earned from their jobs back to their families in Egypt.

Ezzat Bishri Naseef, one of the men, was told by his Muslim boss, “You’re so clever. You’re a waste to Christianity. You should convert to Islam. I promise you prosperity and ownership of land.”

The offer for land of his own must have been tempting to Ezzat. But he refused to deny Jesus. He told his boss, “I would never give up my Lord even if I were killed by the sword.”

Months later, Muslim ISIS terrorists attacked a group of the Egyptian workers. Ezzat and 20 other Christians stood firm in their faith, and they lost their lives in the attack. Weeks later, some of their children still did not know about what happened to their fathers. Their mothers did not know how to tell them.

Even though the families of the men are very sad, they want to forgive the ISIS attackers. “[I would tell them] from all my heart, ‘May God forgive you and removed the scales off of your eyes and place you on the right path, the path of light,’” said the mother of one of the men. “Our Christ taught us love and peace and forgiveness. He didn’t teach us to take revenge. He didn’t teach us to curse if we’re cursed or kill if we’re killed.”

To Talk About

  • What did the mother say that Christ teaches his followers?
  • What did she say that Christ does not teach?
  • What did she mean when she said that she wanted God to “remove the scales” from the attackers’ eyes? (See Acts 9:1–18.)

Pray for the families of the Christian men. Ask God to comfort their parents, wives, and children.


Afghanistan: John and Mary

Afghanistan
John, Mary, and their baby Isa

Parents and Teachers: The January 2015 issue of The Voice of the Martyrs newsletter includes a story about John, the son of a Taliban leader in Afghanistan. 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 Christians with your children. Then pray together for the people in the stories.

The Taliban
The Taliban is a group of radical Muslims in Afghanistan. Taliban means “students” in Arabic. Members of the group think that women should not go to school, and men should grow beards. They do not like TV, music, games, or some sports. Taliban radicals believe in harsh punishment for Muslims who become Christians.

John
John is the son of a Taliban leader in Afghanistan. When he was a youth, his father sent him to Egypt to study at a secret school for Muslim radicals.

John married a woman named Mary, had a son, and began teaching Muslim beliefs to others in Afghanistan. Then John’s father decided to send John to the Muslim hajj in Saudi Arabia. (Read more about the hajj here.) Taliban bodyguards traveled with John to protect him.

Dreams
While John was in Saudi Arabia, Jesus came to him in a vision and a dream. “I am your God,” Jesus said to John in the vision. “I am Jesus Christ.”

When John woke up, he felt like a different person. “I was completely cleansed from the inside,” he said. “I felt like I was a newborn baby.”

Mary’s Dream
John flew home to Afghanistan and told his father about his experiences with Jesus. “I found my God,” John said.

In anger, John’s father threw John in a basement bunker and kept him there for 18 months. He told John’s wife, Mary, that he had sent John to Egypt again.

When John was freed from the bunker, he went home to Mary. He planned to tell her about Jesus.

“I have something to tell you first,” said Mary. She told John that she had dreams of Jesus while he was gone! She believed in Jesus but had not told the family. John and Mary cried with happiness because of their new life in Christ.

Houses in Heaven
John’s father and other Taliban radicals continued to severely persecute John and his family. John and Mary had to move to another country to be safe. Through all the persecution, John and Mary could only weep and pray, saying, “God, You know.”

John still shares about Jesus with others, even though he knows that his witness for Christ will make some people angry.

“I want to show people in Afghanistan how to believe in Jesus,” he said. “God made many houses in heaven; He needs people in them.”

Read John 14:2. Who is speaking the words of the verse? What does the verse mean? How might the verse comfort John and Mary? What part of the verse did John talk about in the story?
To learn more about Christians in Afghanistan, download Bold Believers in Afghanistan from the Downloads section.

(Source: The January 2015 The Voice of the Martyrs newsletter. 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.)


Egypt Update: Persecuted by Boredom

Egypt

A post on this site last year told about Rafi, an 8-year-old boy from a Christian family in Eygpt.

Rafi’s mother’s relatives were very angry because Rafi’s family follow Jesus. Rafi’s family no longer felt safe in Egypt. They tried to flee from the country, but the police caught them and put them all in jail — even Rafi and his 5-year-old brother, David.

The family was released from jail, but they had to stay inside almost all the time to be safe from people who might want have wanted to harm them. Rafi and David were bored and spent almost all day on the computer.

We don’t usually think of boredom as persecution. But boredom is a reality for some Christians in prison, in refugee camps, and in hiding.

Good News
SDOK, The Voice of the Martyrs’ sister mission in the Netherlands, reports that Rafi’s family has safely left Egypt! They live in a safe home in another country. The boys can now go to school and make new friends.

(Source: SDOK)