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Back to School

 

(Photo: Two children at a school in Africa. Their faces are covered to protect their identity from people who may want to harm them or their families.)

This is the time of year when most American kids return to school for the fall semester. But Christian kids in some countries don’t always have the freedom to get a good education in peace.

*Cuba
Christian children are sometimes mocked, bullied, and not promoted to the next grade.

*China
Officials in China closed a Christian school last year, claiming that the children were “brainwashed.”

*Indonesia
Muslim parents warn their children not to play with Christian children or make friends with them.

*Uganda
In parts of Uganda, Christian children are not welcome to attend school in Muslim areas.

*Mexico
In Chiapas, Mexico, authorities sometimes refuse to let children stay in school if their parents become Christians.

*Egypt
Christian children in Egypt have been forced to sit in the back of the class, and some students are given bad grades just because they are Christians.

*Pakistan
Christians in Pakistan are often hired to do only low-paying jobs. They sometimes can’t afford to send their children to school.

To Talk About
*Will you thank God today for your school assignments and for the opportunity to get an education?
*Ask God to protect and provide for children in each of the countries mentioned above.


Indonesia: Encouraging Friends to Turn to God

Indonesian children

(From the Kids of Courage archives)

One thousand students attended a school in Indonesia, but only three of them were Christians. The rest were Muslims. Merpati was one of the Christians.

“After I became a Christian, I dared to bring my Bible to school,” said Merpati. “My Muslim friends were curious about the book, so I let them read it.

“Some of the Muslims avoided me. They mocked me when I walked by them, saying, ‘Hallelujah,’ or ‘Watch out. Jesus is passing by.’ Sometimes they read verses from the Quran when I passed by.” (The Quran is the Muslim holy book.)

“My teacher and counselor called me to the office and questioned me. ‘Did other Christians persuade you to become one of them by giving you money?’ they asked. I said to them: ‘I believe Jesus because He saved me and loves me. I became a Christian because of my heart instead of for money.’

“Many of my Muslim friends came to me to ask advice about their problems. I told them to pray and ask the living God for help. Some were interested to know about Jesus, and there were a few who listened to my testimony. I realized the consequences of sharing my testimony, but I was not afraid to get expelled from school. I would not stop testifying about God because I wanted all my friends saved.

“I would like to tell students in America: ‘Do not believe in other gods, but believe in Jesus, because Jesus is the only way. He’s the only one who can save us.’”

(Source: VOM contacts. Translated, paraphrased, and edited from original testimonies.)

(Read more about Merpati and other Indonesian Christians in Bold Believers in Indonesia, available in the free Downloads section.)

To Talk About
Which of the following is something you have done or something that has happened to you?

*You took your Bible to school or to another public place.
*You loaned your Bible to someone who had questions about it.
*People mocked or avoided you because you are a Christian.
*Someone has asked you for advice or told you about a problem they had.
*When someone confided in you, you encouraged them to pray to God for help.
*Someone in authority has questioned you about your faith.

Where do you think it would be easier to be a Christian, in America, or at Merpati’s school?
The story tells several ways Merpati shared her faith. What were the ways?
In which of those ways could you share your faith?


“God Uses Everything”

Mission Aviation Fellowship helps missionaries share the love of Jesus in hard-to-reach areas. MAF pilots transport people into and out of faraway places. They bring them groceries and supplies. Sometimes they take sick people to doctors.

Do you think the pilots ever wonder if running errands for missionaries truly helps to spread the good news of Jesus? Recently a pilot from MAF visited The Voice of the Martyrs headquarters. He told about taking soap to missionaries, and about how God used the soap to teach tribal people in Indonesia about Jesus.

The tribal people covered themselves in pig fat to stay warm on cold days and nights. They kept a fire going in their homes. Soot from the fires stuck to their bodies. Without soap, they could never get completely clean.

A missionary asked MAF to bring him soap, which he used to pay the tribal people who had helped him build an airstrip where planes could land. The people bathed in the river with the soap. “We’ve never been so clean!” they exclaimed.

The missionary answered, “Tonight we can talk about how to be clean on the inside.” And he taught them how Jesus cleanses people from sin like the soap cleaned the pig fat and soot from their skin.

The soap helped the tribal people understand God’s love, and they spread the news to other groups in the area.

“We think some things are not important,” the MAF pilot told VOM workers. “But God uses everything!”

To Try
Soak a cotton ball in cooking oil. Cover your thumb or fingers with oil from the cotton ball. Run water over your thumb or fingers. Did the oil come off? Now try using soap. Did that work better?

A Verse to Learn
1 John 1:9: If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.


Sunday School Around the World: Indonesia

 

Indonesia has the largest Muslim population in the world. The Voice of the Martyrs takes Bibles to Christians in Indonesia to help them stay strong in their faith in Jesus. The Sunday school children in the photo are reading a children’s Bible.

To watch a video clip about a man with no hands who delivers Bibles to Christians in Indonesia, click here.


Doing Nothing

Indonesian Pastor

The Voice of the Martyrs reports about Christians who are persecuted so that Christians in free countries can help them and pray for them. It is often helpful when praying for people if you learn true facts about their lives and their country.

Two Common Mistakes

  • Some people believe that persecuted Christians are “super Christians.” As a VOM worker said, “Persecuted Christians are not super Christians, but ordinary people who through God’s grace and power have been enabled to do extraordinary things. We serve the same God and have access to the same grace and power.”
  • Some people believe that no Christians can ever worship in countries where Christians are persecuted. But in many countries where VOM works, there are Christian churches in large cities.

    “Some of them obey laws against witnessing to others,” said a VOM worker. “Those churches are not persecuted because they aren’t doing anything.” They may obey laws against talking about Jesus outside of church, teaching children about Jesus, or allowing non-Christians to visit their church.

    But often other Christians in their country are persecuted because they obey God’s command to “make disciples of all the nations” (Matthew 28:19). The Indonesian pastor in the photo above preached outside after his church was destroyed by enemies.

  • To Talk About

    • Read John 15:20–21. Why are Christians persecuted?
    • How can we pray for churches whose members are persecuted?
    • How can we pray for churches whose members love Jesus but are afraid to tell others about Him?
    • Are you ever afraid to tell others about your faith?
    • If there were a law in your country against talking about Jesus in public, would you ever be arrested?