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Praise the Lord Around the World

Use the chart below to learn how to say “Praise the Lord” in 10 other languages. Sing the song “Hallelu, Hallelu, Hallelu, Hallelujah” or another song with the words “praise (ye) the Lord” in it. Substitute one or more of the phrases for the English words.

Country
Language
How To Say It
Iran Farsi KHOH-dah-rah SHOH-kr
Pakistan Punjabi RAHB-dee tah-REEF HO-vay
China Chinese tzahn-may joo
Colombia Spanish GLOH-ree-uh ah dee-ohs
Russia, Kazakhstan Russian SLAH-vuh BOH-goo
Many Muslim Countries Arabic MAHG-duh lah rahp
Eritrea Tigrinya gway-tah yeh mess ghen
Malaysia, Brunei Malay Poo-jee TOO-hahn
Nepal Nepali jay muh-SEE
Bangladesh Bangla ee-shohr-air goor-ohb hohk

The Gospel in a Taxi

(Source: VOM Australia)

Some of the best evangelists in Iran are taxi or Uber drivers. (An evangelist is someone who spreads the gospel of Jesus. Most of the people in Iran are Muslims and many have not heard about God’s love for them.)

Two Passengers
One day, an Iranian taxi driver picked up a husband and wife who both worked in a hospital. The man and woman sat in the back seat talking about how bad the COVID situation is. They were tired, stressed, and frustrated. Soon they began saying that they were angry with God about the virus.

The driver listened patiently and then gently offered his thoughts. He agreed that the country is in a sad and difficult situation. But he told them he has peace and hope in the midst of the trouble. He talked about how he knows God as a God of love, compassion, and peace.

Seeing Things in a New Light
The driver probably earned less money on his taxi-driving job that day. He spent three hours explaining the truth about God, Jesus, and the Bible to the passengers. Then the couple trusted in Jesus as their Savior!

The driver gave them a Bible and kept in touch with them. He found out that they share the gospel on their job now, offering a Bible to everyone they talk to and praying for them. (See the photo above.)

To Do
*Praise God for the taxi driver’s faithfulness in sharing the gospel! Ask Him to strengthen the new Christian couple in their faith.
*With a family member or classmate, role play what you would say if someone told you that they were scared about the coronavirus or another situation. Ask a mature Christian to help you prepare an answer. (Read 1 Peter 3:15.)


How Omid’s Heart Changed

(Source: VOM Radio. Edited for length and clarity)

Omid grew up in a Muslim family in Iran. His father was a movie producer, and Omid loved reading books and watching movies. He was always fascinated with stories.

His interest in books led him to read about world religions at a young age. “I often read religious books to compare religions,” Omid said. “I wanted to prove to myself that religion was invented by the human mind. I believed that all religious books were written by a genius who wanted to control people.

“Then later my wife gave me the New Testament and asked me to read it. I agreed to read it and to make notes of the mistakes that I found. But I read about loving your enemies and loving your neighbor. I thought to myself that I needed to find the Old Testament to find the mistakes, because the Old Testament is older.

“I didn’t ask anyone how to get an Old Testament, because I didn’t want someone to know that I read the New Testament. Then one night I had a dream. I was on a big ship, and many boats were around us. There was a man on the deck with some people around him. They called me to come and pray for him.

“Suddenly a man in white touched my shoulder from behind. He gave me a golden guitar and a small box wrapped in a piece of cloth. Then He said, ‘Stay on My way.’”

The Taxi Ride
The dream was fresh in Omid’s mind the next morning when his car wouldn’t start. He had to hurry to get to work on time, and he decided to take a taxi.

Omid told what happened next. “The driver didn’t pick up any other passengers,” he said. “In Iran, it is not normal to take only one passenger. They usually take four passengers. When we arrived, I got out of the taxi. I asked the driver how much I owed him, but he handed me a package.”

The package looked like the box he had seen in his dream.

“I was so confused,” Omid continued, “and when I finally recovered, the taxi driver was gone. When I unwrapped the package, I was shocked. It was the Bible, the Old Testament and New Testament together. It was unbelievable. My hand was shaking when I touched it.”

God used a dream to get Omid’s attention, but that was only the first step in his understanding the gospel. When Omid and his wife started to read the Bible, their hearts changed right away. They both trusted in Jesus to forgive their sins and make them new.

To Talk About
*Why did Omid read books about religion?
*Why did he want to read the Old Testament?
*Why do you think Omid didn’t want anyone to know he had read the New Testament? (Learn more about Christianity in Iran here.)
*Learn how you can help provide Bibles for people in countries where the government does not want Christianity to spread here.


Learning Verses in Secret

[Photo: Iranian Christians praying]

Many Christians gather in secret in Iran. Most people in the country are Muslims, and the government does not want them to leave their religion to follow Jesus. It’s not unusual for Christians to be put in prison.

It’s against the law to print Bibles in Iran. Some Christians learn Scriptures using websites, mobile phone cards, and smartphone apps. They listen to Christian programs on satellite TV.

The Voice of the Martyrs recently received a list of 125 Bible verses that house church members and their leaders in Iran are memorizing. “They are recalling these verses when they are in jail or other places and are unable to access a Bible,” a VOM worker said.

You can see 10 of the verses below. Can you memorize one of the verses today? Why might each verse be inspiring to Iranian Christians today?

1. Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
2. Who brought me out from my enemies; you exalted me above those who rose against me; you delivered me from men of violence. (2 Samuel 22:49)
3. The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1)
4. Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. (Proverbs 3:5–6)
5. But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. (Luke 6:27–28)
6. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)
7. Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)
8. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. (1 Peter 4:14)
9. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. (Matthew 5:11)
10. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. (Psalm 23:1)


Ebrahim: Wise Words from Exile

(Source: VOM Radio. Edited and condensed for length and clarity)

Photo: Interviewing Ebrahim

Internal Exile: Being forced to move from one’s home or community to another place, usually far away from main centers of population.

Ebrahim Firouzi spent seven years in prison in Iran. Most people in Iran are Muslims, but Ebrahim became a follower of Christ after he heard the Good News of Jesus on the Internet.

“What I did was a crime under Islamic law, and you have to pay,” said Ebrahim. “But let me tell you what I actually did, which was basically my involvement with Christian groups, Christian activity, and fellowship.” (Islam is the religion of Muslims.) After Ebrahim got out of prison, the government sent him into internal exile in Iran. Christians who have been through struggles often have words of wisdom that can help others grow in their faith. Read below some of his inspiring words.

A Choice
Ebrahim had a choice about going to prison. “At one of my court appearances, the judge told me they would free me if I would renounce my faith and convince other [Christians] to renounce their faith,” Ebrahim said. “I never responded to these offers, never argued or compromised in any way. By God’s grace, I endured a few years in prison in exchange for eternity with Him.”

“We can never have anything bigger or more valuable than God Himself and His wonderful presence with us at all times,” Ebrahim continued. “In that sense, I have to say it was absolutely worth it.”

Open to the Truth
“If [the government’s] intention for imprisoning us was to discourage us from sharing the message of the gospel with others, it worked quite the opposite,” said Ebrahim. “Once you are in prison, you realize the value of freedom from bondage even more. Everyone is more open to receive the Good News. I always showed love and grace to others, never projecting any superiority. That is why I never had any bad experiences and was never abused by anyone.”

Living in Exile
Ebrahim described his daily life in exile. “Most days I have to report to local police here. Then I start my day afterwards with resting, preparing meals and most importantly, catching up with reading many new Christian books, seeking God and spending as much time as I can pursuing Him.”

While in exile, Ebrahim now lives very close to the border of a neighboring country. It would not be difficult for him to cross the border and escape his captivity. But he doesn’t do that.

“I was not looking to escape the will of God for my life,” Ebrahim said. “I always believed I must stay and bring change through the gospel and sharing the Good News with my people. God chooses everyone according to His will and has a unique plan and purpose for each one.’

Grace and Strength
“I would like to emphasize that I don’t want people to get discouraged by hearing stories of people like myself being in prison,” said Ebrahim. “But instead, I want them to emphasize on the fact that God is with the church in Iran and gives grace and strength to believers to endure difficult times.”

To Talk About
*What did Ebrahim mean when he said, “By God’s grace, I endured a few years in prison in exchange for eternity with Him”?

*Why do you think people in prison may be more open to hearing the gospel?

*Why does Ebrahim not sneak out of Iran?