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Safely Home

An evangelist in India once told the following story.

One day a scientist found some bird eggs that had not hatched. He took the eggs to a country where the climate was cold.

The scientist hoped the baby birds that hatched from the eggs would think the new country was their home. He hoped they would be happy to stay in their new home.

The birds hatched, and they stayed in their new home during the summer. But when the summer was over, they flew back to the country where the scientist had found their eggs. They never came back.

Christians are like the birds, the Indian evangelist said. We were born in this world, but it is not our home. When the time comes for us to leave the earth, we will go to a true eternal home in heaven.

To Think About
Persecuted Christians understand that the Christians’ eternal home is in heaven. Hebrews 11:13-16 talks about heroes of our faith with such an “eternal perspective.” How can the knowledge that our true home is in heaven give us the courage to face the struggles we have on earth?

Hebrews 11:13–16: These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.

“This is Going to Be Normal”

(Source: January 2021 The Voice of the Martyrs magazine.)

India is a mostly Hindu country, but many Muslims live in the country as well. In one Muslim village, older Christians taught a group of siblings and cousins about God’s love for them. The kids studied the Bible, and they understood that following Jesus in a Muslim town could be risky. Christians in their area kept their faith secret and hid their Bibles. If they were discovered to be Christians, they could be shunned or attacked.

The youth continued to follow Christ anyway, and even went away to another location for Bible training. When they returned to their village, Muslim villagers gave them a hard time and demanded that they tell where they had been and what they did when they were gone.

“Proud to Follow Jesus”
The father of one of the girls in the group feared the Muslims. To try to solve the conflict, he gave them an SD card with an audio Bible on it. “This is why they left,” he told the Muslims. He also told the villagers, “Repent! Come out of the darkness!”

The Muslims grew angry anyway. They took the youth to a Muslim boarding school to try to convince them to become Muslims. Some of the girls in the group were kept for more than a month, part of the time without clean clothes or daily necessities. (See the photo of some of the youth above. Their faces are covered to disguise their identity.)

The girls, led by the Holy Spirit, gave wise answers to the Muslims who questioned them. Their faith grew as they saw how God sustained them during the ordeal.

After they were finally released, their community still shunned them and refused to let them attend their school. But they still study God’s Word. “They are proud to follow Jesus, and they are confident,” said a Christian who knows the youth. “We want them to know what they Word says — that this is going to be normal for them.”

To Talk About
*What does “repent” mean? What did the girl’s father mean when he told the villagers, “Come out of the darkness”?
*When did the girls’ faith grow?
*Why do you think some people’s faith grows during difficult times?

This Month

Parents and Teachers
“The power we need to overcome the world’s greatest hardships is from God, not from us.” — Cole Richards, The Voice of the Martyrs’ president

The January 2021 The Voice of the Martyrs magazine includes stories of Christians that God has empowered to be His ambassadors while facing courts, judges, and leaders of false religions.

Readers will learn about:
*Teens in India who boldly shared the gospel in a Muslim community, angering radical Muslims. The students were forced to stay in a Muslim boarding school, some for more than a month.

*A drug addict in Iran who placed his trust in Christ while fighting his addiction. He led others who were recovering to Christ, angering security officials.

*Mina, a Christian who first started sharing the gospel with people in the streets of a city in Indonesia when she was a teen.

You can share photos and stories from the issue and from this site about some of the featured Christians 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 the featured countries.
*Download Bold Believers activity books for kids that highlight several countries.
*Watch video clips about Christians from several of the countries in the Video section of this site.

Secret Christmas

What are some of your favorite things to do during the Christmas season? Do you like to:

Visit others’ houses to sing Christmas carols?
Get out of school for Christmas vacation?
Join with other Christians for a Christmas worship service?
Put lights and decorations outside your house?
Buy Christmas cards to send to friends?
Visit nativity scenes displayed in your town?

You might be in trouble if you did those things in some countries.

Schools in Saudi Arabia are not allowed to make Christmas a school vacation day.
A group of 150 people attacked 16 Christians singing Christmas carols in India.
It is illegal to sell Christmas cards in Maldives outside of areas where tourists visit.
In one location in China, officials banned children from playing angels in church plays, joining the choir, or singing hymns.

Some people in strict Muslim countries celebrate Christmas secretly and post photos of their secret celebrations on social media. But they are careful not to include any photos that would allow government officials to find them.

This Christmas season, thank God for your freedom to honor His Son. Pray for those who don’t enjoy the same freedom.

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.)