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“I Was a Beast”

A girl in India

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 publication and website.

The following story comes from Stef magazine.

Hi, my name is Azra. I live in India and come from a normal family. At least I thought I came from a normal family. One day I discovered scary things. I will try to tell my story.

Religion
First, I have to explain that the oldest religion in the world, Hinduism, started in India. That’s why all the people in India are Hindu. To be honest, ALMOST all the people.

We were Hindu ourselves. I remember that my dad was always complaining about people who are not Hindu. In our neighborhood, there were people who called themselves Christians. I had no idea what kind of people they were. But my father did.

“They are bad,” he said. “The reason why there are so many sick people these days is because of the Christians. Yuk. I hate them,” he often said.

Attack!
At first my dad only complained about the Christians. But it gradually got worse. He started calling them names and wished all kinds of bad things for them. One day, he was in one of those moods again.

Then I heard shouting outside. It was a large group of young men and they had all kinds of weapons with them — knives, sticks, and even guns. I was scared. The men ran into our house and shouted at my father, “Will you join us? We are going to attack a Christian village. We will teach them a lesson!”

Right away, my dad joined their group.

Blood
It was already evening when my father returned. It was dark, but I’m sure of what I saw. He had blood on his pants and his shirt. In the following days, I thought my dad was different; he was much quieter.

Sick
I think it was about a week later when my mom and sister got very sick. My father made sacrifices to the gods, but nothing helped. After a few days, my father grew desperate.

“It’s my fault,” he said. “We are cursed. I have beaten innocent Christians and burned their houses and destroyed their churches. I acted like a beast.”

Help
After that, my father put his sandals on and said, “I’m going to get help. I have heard that Christians pray when you are sick. I’m going to them and ask for forgiveness.”

The Pastor
That same evening, a pastor came to our house. He read beautiful things from a big Book and then got down on his knees. We also knelt down.

The pastor prayed for us, and my big strong father prayed, too. He promised he would never persecute Christians again. When I opened my eyes, for the first time I saw a dad who had joy on his face.

Peace
The next day, Dad said he had had a special dream. In the dream, he saw all the Christians he had persecuted standing in a circle in our room. They prayed for us to have healing and peace. It was so special!

My mom and sister were healed the next day, and on Sunday we went to church. Not long after, our whole family was baptized.

So that was my story, and I’m very glad that we have learned a lot about the Lord Jesus.

Good bye.

Prayer and Thanks
*The people in Azra’s village think it’s strange that her family are Christians and do not want anything to do with them. Pray that the villagers also get to know Jesus.

*Thank God for Christians who forgive their persecutors. And thank God that Azra’s father no longer persecutes Christians, but that he and his family became followers of Jesus.

(Source: SDOK. Translated and edited. To protect their identities, the names of some of the people on this website and some identifying details have been changed.)


India: Pratik’s Family

Parents and Teachers: The September 2017 issue of The Voice of the Martyrs magazine features stories about courageous Christians in India. You can share the adapted stories from this site about the featured Christians with your children, then pray together for the people in the stories.

Note: To subscribe to the free monthly The Voice of the Martyrs magazine, visit the subscription signup page.

Akuti and Alisha do not have an easy life. They live in a village in India surrounded by 400 Hindu families. The girls and their parents, Pratik and Dharmi, are Christians. (Read about Hindu beliefs here.)

A group of Hindu leaders delivered a warning to all the villagers. The document included the following rules.

• No one can talk to Pratik’s family.
• Shops must not sell anything to members of the family.
• Anyone who disobeys the rules must pay a fine.

In addition, Akuti and Alisha are no longer allowed to attend school in the village. When the family walks outside their house, villagers curse and spit on them. Some villagers set up a Hindu idol on the family’s property and began worshipping it.

The family does not own a car. Akuti and Alisha’s mom now has to walk 10 miles to get groceries. The family recently found a church about 15 miles away. They walk to the church and back twice a week to worship and fellowship with other believers.

The Voice of the Martyrs is encouraging the family and helping pay for the girls to attend a school in another village. Please pray for the family as they continue to face serious persecution.

What the Family Says
Dharmi said:
“God has strengthened us to face all of this. If nobody is there, God is there with us.”
“We know they [their persecutors] are perishing without Christ, so we are praying … that they should be saved,”

Pratik said:
“When they are perishing without knowing Christ, we are feeling bad,”

(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.)

What do you say when you hear about someone being mistreated or when you are mistreated?


National Geographic Bee Question and Action Bibles for India

One of the final seven questions in the 2015 National Geographic Bee was: “In 2014, the government of India established a new state out of the northwestern part of Andhra Pradesh. Name the new state.” The boy who correctly answered that question and six other questions won a $50,000 scholarship.

Andhra Pradesh is a state in India. It was larger than England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland combined. More people lived in Andhra Pradesh than in France or Spain.

A new state, Telangana, split off from Andhra Pradesh in 2014. The main language of both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh is Telugu. The majority of the people are Hindus.

In 2014, a Telugu-speaking pastor was attacked in Andhra Pradesh by radical Hindus who had warned him to stop telling people about Jesus and holding prayer meetings. The violence against Christians is still going on.

In spite of the dangers, Telugu-speaking Christians in India are asking that The Voice of the Martyrs provide them with Christian books and Bibles. As The Voice of the Martyrs founder, Pastor Richard Wurmbrand, said, churches in hostile areas are sending us the following message: “Give us the tools we need; we will pay the price for using them.”

VOM is working on a Telugu translation of the Action Bible for children and adults in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. Pray for the Christians who will distribute Bibles for VOM and for the children and adults who will read them.

Now you can answer the National Geographic Bee question above!

For more information about Christians in India, download Bold Believers in India from the Downloads section.


India: Laxmi Learns to Share her Faith

Laxmi and Sukdev

Something was different in Laxmi’s house. Her father, Sukdev, heard about Jesus and decided to trust Him as his Lord and Savior.

Few Christians lived in their part of India. Sukdev wanted to tell all his neighbors how Jesus can save people from sin.

But Sukdev didn’t know how to read. He did not need to read to do his job as a farm worker.

Laxmi was 12 years old, and she had learned to read at school. So Sukdev took Laxmi with him and they went from house to house in their village. When their neighbors answered the door, Laxmi read to them from a Bible, and Sukdev shared the gospel message that had saved him. Many people believed and were baptized! Several new churches started in homes around them.

Now Sukdev has an audio Bible provided by The Voice of the Martyrs. He can visit homes by himself to spread the Good News of Jesus.

But Laxmi does not stay home while her father talks to people. Something had happened in her heart as she helped her father. She, too, grew in faith and began sharing the gospel with her friends. She even gave a Bible to her teacher, who was not a Christian! Laxmi is becoming a strong church youth leader.

A VOM worker who met Laxmi and Sukdev said, “Praise God for raising up future Christian leaders in a country where they are certainly needed.”


Pastor Suta: Bringing an Enemy to Christ

Suta

Parents and Teachers: The September 2015 issue of The Voice of the Martyrs magazine features stories about bold believers who have forgiven their enemies.

Some of the stories may not be suitable for children. Please preview them before sharing them with your children or class. Or, share the adapted stories from this site about the featured Christians with your children, then pray together for the people in the stories.

Note: To subscribe to the free monthly The Voice of the Martyrs magazine, visit the subscription signup page.

Pastor Suta knew that the Bible says, “Love your enemies” (Matthew 5:44). The pastor wanted the Hindus who lived near his village in India to know about Jesus. Pastor Suta had grown up in a Hindu family, and he understood how much Hindus need Christ.

So the pastor continued to share the love of Jesus with the Hindus, even though they threatened to hurt him. You can read the story of what happened to Pastor Suta in an earlier post.

As the story reveals, Pastor Suta brought one of his enemies to Christ! See the photo for this post of Pastor Suta (on the right) and his former enemy Raji.

(Suta’s face is covered to protect his identity. Read more about how VOM decides whose faces to cover in this post.)

All over the world, Christians offer the hope of Jesus to people who may persecute them for their faith. Jesus told His disciples that this would happen. (See John 15:20.)

Now Raji knows that he, too, may be persecuted. He believes the risk is worth it. “I am happy in the presence of the Lord,” he said.

(Source: The September 2015 The Voice of the Martyrs magazine. Edited and adapted from the original. To protect their identities, the names of some of the people on this website and some identifying details have been changed.)