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Praying for Missionaries During the Coronavirus

“This is a unique time in history. Many of our people are hunkering down around the world,” said Todd Lafferty of the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. Mr. Lafferty was describing life for missionaries during the time of the coronavirus. He was talking to Todd Nettleton at VOM Radio.

“Our folks in India are now seeing 100,000 cases a day across the country,” Mr. Lafferty continued. “Some of them were locked up for months in their places. With little kids, that’s hard. So pray for those [missionary] families around the world who are struggling, being locked down and just living through a screen to the outside world. That gets hard.

“Many of our people have had to leave their country because of a lack of medical care in that place. Some have had to come here [to the U.S.] and are on temporary assignments. Pray for families who have been uprooted this year. It wasn’t their plan when they started 2020, and it has totally thrown them for a loop. Pray for them, and pray that the Lord would continue to send out laborers into His harvest field.

(Source: VOM Radio. Edited for length, clarity, and age-appropriateness.)

To Talk About
What does it mean to send out laborers into the harvest field? (Read Matthew 9:37-38.)

One Way

Pastor WurmbrandPastor Wurmbrand

Richard Wurmbrand, the founder of The Voice of the Martyrs, told a story about a missionary to India.

A Hindu told the missionary, “It would be good if you would preach that Christ is one of many ways to the truth, along with Hindu gods. If you would say that, all of India would listen to you.”

Of course the missionary could not do what the Hindu man said. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

Pastor Wurmbrand said, “What led to the persecution of the first Christians was their belief that Christ is the only way, and that all others are false.

“Personally I would like it very much if there could be many ways. However, in no way is the universe made according to my wishes. Someone wiser than I, who knows better, has created it.

“I cannot decide how people should be saved. The master of the universe has appointed only one way of salvation.”

Christians around the world are still persecuted for saying that Jesus is the only way to God.

(Source: Reaching Toward the Heights by Richard Wurmbrand. Paraphrased and edited for clarity and reading level.)

Growing in Faith

Christian kids in India

(Source: My Father’s Business by Brother Bennie.)

Bennie’s first memory of his father was seeing him get beat up by an enemy. His father was a Christian pastor in India, and the enemies were anti-Christian.

The Real World
Bennie knew that his father’s God was real and powerful. But he believed that his father didn’t understand the “real world.” Bennie’s “real world” was his school, where he was teased and bullied by non-Christian classmates.

The students at the school were required to wear uniforms. Most of them had two uniforms. But Bennie and his siblings could afford only two sets of clothes to wear outside the house — one school uniform and one set of church clothes.

Bennie’s class used fountain pens with ink in them. When he stood up, other students squirted ink on his bench. When he sat back down, the ink stained his only school pants.

Bennie took his pants home and scrubbed them. He put coconut shells in the fire, then placed them on a steel plate when they got hot. He picked up the plate with thick napkins, and used his homemade “iron” to try to dry the pants. But sometimes, especially in the winter, the pants would still be damp.

The next day, the other students would laugh at Bennie and say, “He’s wearing wet pants!” Bennie’s parents encouraged him to pray and trust God to help him with all his problems.

Trusting in God
Bennie promised himself that he would make lots of money and enjoy worldly success when he grew up.

But as his parents continued to patiently teach him God’s truth over the years, and as he witnessed God’s faithfulness in his own life, his faith grew. He then understood that it was a privilege to share the gospel around the world, even if doing so required him to sacrifice his own desires.

Read what Bennie says about some of the ways Christians are helping others in Asia during the coronavirus here.

Ten Sports from Around the World

Read about the 10 sports below. Then enter the name of a country where they are played in the Search box to learn more about life for Christians in those countries. Find ways to pray for the countries in The Voice of the Martyrs’ Global Prayer Guide.

Buzkashi is a favorite sport in Afghanistan. It is a difficult and dangerous sport played by two teams on horseback. As in football, the players try to get control of an object and take it to a scoring area. But the object is not a ball; it’s a dead, headless goat or calf. Players compete to win money and prizes, and some fans dream of seeing the sport played in the Olympics someday.

Langdi is a traditional game from India. Would you like to try it? Here are the basic rules. Two teams play on a square field. Players from one team stand in the square. The other team sends one player at a time into the square. That player must hop on one foot. Whoever is touched by the hopping player is out of the game. If the hopper puts his raised foot down, he is out and the teams change positions. The game is over when all the players on one team are out.

Kabaddi is another popular sport in India. The rules are similar to the rules of langdi. But in kabaddi, the “raider” who enters the opposing team’s territory must repeat the word “kabaddi” [kah-buh-dee] over and over as he tags players. His goal is to tag as many players as possible—all in one breath. If he takes a second breath, he is out of the game.

Children in Nepal play dhandi-biu [DAHN-dee byoo]. The equipment for the game includes a long, flat stick and a large seed or small stick. The seed (or small stick) is placed on the ground. A player hits the end of the seed with the long stick, flipping the seed into the air. When the seed flies up, the player then taps it lightly into the air two or more times with the long stick. On the last hit, the player hits the seed as far away as he can.

Cricket is somewhat like baseball. (See the photo above.) It is played mostly in countries that are British territories or used to be British territories. The bat looks a little like a boat oar. The fielders do not wear gloves. Unlike in baseball, after the “bowler” (pitcher) throws the ball, it may hit the ground and bounce up to the “batsman” (batter) before it is hit.

Kho Kho
Kho kho was invented in India. It is a form of tag played on a field between two teams. One team is the chasers and the other is the defenders. They switch roles after seven minutes. The team that tags out the defenders the quickest wins.

Chinlone is the national sport of Burma. Players stand in a circle. They try to keep a rattan ball (see the photo) in the air for as long as possible. The players may kick the ball up or pass it to another player with their feet or knees, but not with their hands.

Jaegi [JAY-ghee] is a Korean game similar to hacky sack. You can find instructions for making a jaegi here.

Netball is played in many countries, including Malaysia and Tanzania. It is a popular sport for women and girls. As in basketball, two teams try to shoot the ball through a hoop. But players do not dribble the ball. They may take only one step while holding the ball, and they must pass it to another player within a few seconds. Defenders who are trying to stop a player from shooting must stay at least three feet away from the player with the ball. The goal has no backboard.

Tent Pegging
According to legends from long ago, soldiers in some parts of the world had an unusual way of attacking enemy camps. While racing through the camp on horseback, the soldiers speared the pegs holding up their enemy’s tents, causing the tents to collapse. Perhaps that is how the sport of tent pegging began.

In modern tent pegging, players on horseback compete to see who can best draw a wooden block out of the ground with a sword or lance and carry it across a field. The sport is played in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and other countries.

Wedding Day in Jail

[Photo: Ramish and Summandi]

One day, Ramish, a young man in India, attended a wedding party where he met a young woman named Summandi. The two became good friends, and Ramish wanted to marry Summandi.

Like the majority of people in India, Summandi’s father was a Hindu.  But Summandi, her mother, and her siblings were Christians, and Summandi did not want to marry a man who did not follow Jesus.

Summandi tried to explain her faith to Ramish, but often they just ended up arguing. Then Ramish became ill with malaria. After he experienced healing through prayer, he trusted in Christ as his Savior, and Summandi agreed to marry him.

Summandi’s father and village leaders did not approve of their plans to have a Christian wedding. Villagers began to plot an attack on the couple. So Ramish and Summandi went to the police station to ask for help. But the police arrested them and put them in jail on false charges! They spent May 30, 2018, the day they had planned to get married, in jail. Their pastor and a woman from their church went to the police station to get Ramish and Summandi released, and the police arrested them, too.

Six weeks later, the four Christians were freed. Ramish and Summandi had a small, quiet wedding ceremony. Since then, they have moved to a new city and started a house church. They are thankful that they have each other, and they know that God will always be with them.

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

Thankful for Prayer
The woman from Ramish and Summandi’s church wept when she learned about a post on a VOM website about their situation. She was moved to learn about the prayers Christians in the United States had offered when she and the other Christians were in prison.

Can you choose a Christian on this website or on to pray for today?