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Yousef’s Journey

Yemeni Muslims

Trouble at School
Yousef, his parents, and his younger brother lived in Djibouti, an African Muslim country where Christians are sometimes persecuted. Yousef was the only Christian in his school. Ibrahim, his father, told Yousef’s teacher that he did not want Yousef to pray the daily Muslim prayers. But the teacher said Yousef would have to join the class in reciting the prayers, because the school was a Muslim school.

Scary Phone Calls
Then, on the morning of his 17th birthday, Yousef got a phone call. “Today is your birthday,” the mysterious caller said. “And we don’t want you celebrating with unbelievers.” (When the caller said “unbelievers,” he meant non-Muslims.) Yousef thought it was just a prank call, and he left for school.

At about noon, Yousef’s mother, Fatima, answered a call from Yousef’s phone. A strange voice said, “Your son is dead.” Fatima and Ibrahim were devastated. But then at about 6 that night, Yousef called them! He was alive!

More Moves
Violent Muslims had kidnapped Yousef and flown him to Yemen, where Yousef’s family used to live. The family had converted from Islam to Christianity, but had left Yemen to avoid persecution. (Islam is the religion of Muslims.) The kidnappers tried to convince Yousef to return to Islam, but he would not.

After the kidnappers released him, he and his family moved again — this time to Ethiopia. Ibrahim now shares the good news of Jesus with Yemeni refugees in several countries. Yousef earned a degree in biblical studies, and he is studying social media so he can share the gospel online. He helps his dad work with Yemeni immigrants in Egypt.

Yousef’s family has been on a long journey since deciding to follow Jesus, but they believe it’s worth it. “The purpose of all of this is for Jesus to be glorified,” said Ibrahim. Please pray for the family to reach more Yemenis for Christ.

(Source: The August 2019 The Voice of the Martyrs magazine. Edited for length, clarity, and age appropriateness)


This Month: Overcoming Fear

Parents and Teachers

The August 2019 issue of The Voice of the Martyrs magazine tells stories of Christians who have overcome their fear of persecutors and enemies with God’s help and by His grace.

The issue features stories about Christians facing Islamic extremism in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, and Egypt. You can share stories of Christians in these countries from the magazine and this site with your children, then pray together for the people in the stories.

Related Resources
* To subscribe to the free monthly The Voice of the Martyrs magazine, visit the subscription signup page.
*The Voice of the Martyrs Global Prayer Guide includes information about Christians in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, and Egypt.
*Download Bold Believers activity books for kids that highlight Egypt, Syria, and Iraq here.
*Find a lesson plan for Egypt here.
*Watch video clips about refugees from Syria and Iraq here and here.


Egypt: Meriam

Girl in Egypt

When Meriam was 3 years old, her father left Islam (the religion of Muslims) and began to follow Jesus. In Egypt, where her family lives, most people are Muslims. People who become Christians are often given a hard time by Muslim friends, relatives, and bosses.

When Meriam’s mother found out that her husband was now a Christian, she told her family. They insisted that she get a divorce. Meriam’s father was able to take Meriam with him, and the two of them moved in with Meriam’s grandmother. Eventually, because he shared his faith with them often, Meriam and her grandmother became Christians, too.

When Meriam’s aunts, uncles, and cousins found out that she, too, was a Christian, they came to the home and demanded that she deny Jesus. Meriam refused and told them that she loves Jesus and would remain a Christian. Then her angry uncles hit and kicked her!

Meriam and her dad escaped their hometown and are now in hiding in Cairo, the capital of Egypt. Even though she is afraid sometimes, Meriam refuses to deny Jesus and is continuing to follow God. Now Meriam and her father are rebuilding their lives together.

(Source: VOM Australia)

Read more about courageous Christians in Egypt in Bold Believers in Egypt available in the Downloads section.


Pray with Kids in the United Kingdom

Release International, located in the United Kingdom, is a member of The Voice of the Martyrs’ family of missions. (Read more about VOM’s family of missions around the world here.) Release International encourages kids to pray for Christians in countries where followers of Christ are persecuted. Read some of their recent suggested prayers below, and choose one to pray today.

Pakistani girls

Pakistan
Ask Jesus to be very close to Christian girls in Pakistan who are kidnapped and taken away from their families. They are often forced to marry Muslim men and even become Muslims themselves. Ask God to rescue them and get them back to their families. Pray that the girls will know Jesus’ love with them night and day and to know He is looking after them. Ask God to make their families brave and strong. Pray that teenagers Rimsha and Riffat, who were kidnapped, will know God’s love and peace and return home safely.

 

Afghan girl with a Bible

Afghanistan
Pray for a girl who has been persecuted at a school in Afghanistan. Her family moved to a different city to find a new school for her. However, her old school will not send her reports, so the new school will not allow her to start. Pray that God will give great love and peace to her family. Ask Him to give them hope and strength not to give up. Pray that God will provide a new school where the girl can learn, make new friends, and be happy.

 

 

Leah

Nigeria
Keek praying for Leah Sharibu, the 15-year-old girl who was kidnapped in Nigeria. Boko Haram, the radical Muslim group that took her away, said they will keep her as a slave because she will not stop loving Jesus. Pray for God to show His love in powerful ways to the kidnappers so they will let her go. Pray that another captive, Alice Ngaddah, and all other women and girls held as prisoners, will also be set free. Ask God to show them and their families His great love and to give them courage and hope.

 

 

Egyptian boy

Egypt
The following is a prayer for a boy in Egypt.
Dear God, thank you for protecting an 11-year-old boy who was nearly kidnapped by two men in Egypt. They wanted to take him away from his Christian parents just because they follow Jesus. Thank you for the person who rescued the boy. Please give the boy, his mom, and his family strength, peace, and healing. Help them trust You to keep them safe. Please look after the children of people who are helping Christians. Thank You. Amen.


Two Ramadan Problems

The previous post told facts about Ramadan, the Muslim holy month when Muslim adults and older children fast from food and drink from sunrise to sunset.

Problem: When is Sunset?
Ashraf El Dakrouri, the first Egyptian explorer to go to Antarctica, is a Muslim. He wanted to fast until sunset during Ramadan, like other Muslims. But the sun never set at that time of the year in Antarctica! Muslim leaders decided that he could eat when the sun set in New Zealand.

Problem: Which Way Is Mecca?

Dr. Sheik Muszaphar Shukar, Malaysia’s first astronaut, was also the first Muslim to travel in space during Ramadan. Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset during Ramadan. But in an orbiting spaceship, the sun rises and sets many times a day. Though Muslims are not required to fast while traveling, Dr. Shukar wanted to try it. Muslims must also pray memorized prayers five times a day while facing Mecca, Saudi Arabia. But what direction should an astronaut face in space? A group of Muslim leaders made new rules for prayer and fasting in space before Dr. Shukar blasted off.

Enter “Ramadan” in the search box to find more facts and stories about Ramadan.