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Ramadan and Muslims Coming to Christ

30 Days

From June 18 through July 17 this year, Muslims around the world will not eat or drink from sunrise until sunset. During this month, called “Ramadan” on the Muslim calendar, they will turn their thoughts to the teachings of Islam, their religion.

The following information comes from “30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World,” a guide to help Christians pray for Muslims during Ramadan.

Since Muhammad founded Islam in 622, millions of Christians have been swept into Islam. But what about the opposite? Have very large groups of Muslims come to Christ?

Not until recently.

In the last two decades of the 20th century, the tide began to turn. Movements of at least 1,000 people away from Islam broke out in Algeria, Soviet Central Asia, Bangladesh, and Iran.

In the first 14 years of the 21st century, new Muslim movements to Christ have erupted across the Muslim world. In our day, we are seeing the greatest and most wide-reaching turning of Muslims to Christ in history.

The current wave of Muslim movements to Christ has happened at the same time as an increase in prayer for the Muslim world.

Source: “30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World.”

To find more information about Islam for kids, download Learning About Islam from the free Downloads section of this site.

Will you join Christians around the world in praying for Muslims during Ramadan?


“When I Am Weak, I Am Strong”

Gilbert Hovsepian
Gilbert Hovsepian

“For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (See 2 Corinthians 12:10.)

Gilbert Hovsepian grew up in a Christian family in Iran, where most people are Muslims. His father, a pastor, lost his life because of his Christian work.

The following story is from an interview with Gilbert on VOMRadio.net.

(Gilbert is continuing to heal from a serious motorcycle accident in December 2014. He appreciates everyone’s prayers.)

Gilbert: One time I had this incident where these three men came to me with knives and they said, “We want to take your life unless you deny Jesus.” Well, I don’t know. I always thought if that moment comes I will deny Jesus, then later I’ll say, “God, I’m sorry.” But I don’t know; something happened at that moment and my answers were not what I thought I would give.

For example, [one of them] said, “Deny Jesus, or I’ll kill you.” And I said, “You know what? My dad was killed and God was glorified, and the church grew. Isn’t that my purpose?”

And then I caught myself [and thought], “Gilbert, what are you saying? Just deny and let these crazy people go.”

It took almost 45 minutes. They were threatening me, they were pushing me, and it was dark at night. No one was there to protect me. I don’t know, but when God calls He also provides for the calling. And of course in the last minute when he was very ready to [use the knife], I was afraid. But I wouldn’t deny; I don’t know why. Again, even after that, I’m like, “Gilbert, why didn’t you deny? You should have just denied.” But God provided.

Interviewer: I think that’s an encouragement for our listeners. Sometimes we feel we are weak in our faith and that people who are persecuted must be really strong. They’re “super-Christians,” and we’re just normal.

But what you’re saying is even in that moment you were weak. But God gave strength, and God provided the power and the encouragement to do that.

(Source: VOMRadio.net. Edited from the original for clarity and length.)

Read more about God’s provision during persecution in the post Corrie ten Boom.


Mighty Men in Iran

Woodcut
David and his mighty men

David’s Mighty Men
King David chose a group of “mighty men” to help him in his battles. The men were loyal to David, and he loved them.

One day when David was thirsty, he said, “Oh that someone would give me a drink of the water from the well of Bethlehem, which is by the gate!” Three of the mighty men heard his wish. They decided to get David the water he desired, even though the enemies, the Philistines, were at Bethlehem. So they broke through the Philistines camp, risking their lives. They drew water from the well and took it to David.

David would not drink the water. He did not want to selfishly enjoy something that caused his men to risk their lives. He poured out the water as an offering to the Lord.
(From 2 Samuel 23:13–17)

Mighty Men in Iran
Cole Richards, VOM’s Executive Vice-President of International Ministries, told the following story. (Edited from the original in the April 2015 The Voice of the Martyrs magazine.)

We need to remember that the Bible is illegal in some countries today. We also need to remember that our brothers and sisters risk their lives to overcome these restrictions. They risk imprisonment and torture to run smuggling and underground printing operations because they would rather obey God than men (Acts 4:19, Acts 5:29). No government has the authority to undo God’s desire for His Word to go forth or Christ’s instructions to us to preach the gospel.

[Mr. Richards told about warning a Christian in Iran who secretly printed Bibles. He told the Christian that all who had done similar work in his country had gone to prison.]

The next time I saw him a year later when he had a chance to come out of Iran again, he handed me a book with a plain white cover. It was a New Testament they had printed in the underground [secret] print shop. He brought it to me to show the quality of work they were able to achieve in complete secrecy.

I was upset that he risked me so much to bring me a copy of this forbidden book…. Today I often bring the book when I speak in churches and tell people that it is probably the only Bible to ever be smuggled out of Iran.

[The man who printed the Bible was later put in prison. He is currently free.]

To Talk About

  • How is the story of the underground Bible printer similar to the story of David’s mighty men? How is it different?
  • In what ways do Christians today risk danger to follow and obey God?

Bibles in Difficult Places: A Challenge We Accept

Newsletter

Parents and Teachers: The April 2015 issue of The Voice of the Martyrs magazine features stories about bold believers who distribute Bibles in difficult places and unbelievers whose lives have been changed by the Scriptures they received.

“Bibles are illegal in many nations where Christians are persecuted for their faith, and in other nations they are often hard to find and expensive. As more people come to faith in Christ in Asia and the Middle East, it’s a challenge to keep up with the demand for Bibles, but it’s a challenge we gladly accept.”

— The Voice of the Martyrs’ President
April 2015 VOM magazine

Last year VOM distributed more than one million Scriptures in areas where Christians are persecuted.

Upcoming Kids of Courage posts about Scripture distribution and smuggling will include stories about the following:

  • William Tyndale, Bible translator and smuggler
  • Scriptures floated by balloons into North Korea on USB devices
  • An Iraqi Muslim transformed by the Bible
  • A Bible smuggled out of Iran
  • A Christian doctor who distributes out Bibles in Syria

To subscribe to the free monthly magazine, visit the subscription signup page. As you read the magazines, you may want to share stories from this site about the featured Christians with your children. Then pray together for the people in the stories.


A Calling to Preach

Gilbert Hovsepian
Gilbert Hovsepian

Note: Gilbert Hovsepian was badly injured in a motorcycle accident in December. Please pray for his complete recovery.

Gilbert Hovsepian is a Christian from Iran. His father started a church among Muslims in their country.

At first the church was very unpopular. The Christians left the windows of the church open during the services to get some fresh air. People in the community threw trash in through the windows! Sometimes they threw rocks and broke windows in the church and in the cars at the church.

The church started with only three people attending. “One day there were only two people, and my father preached like 1,000 people were there,” said Gilbert. “The two people left, maybe to go to the restroom, and he kept on preaching. My mother said, ‘There is no one here!’

“My father answered, ‘I’m not preaching because of people; I’m preaching because of my calling to preach.’”

To Think About

  • What do you think God is calling you to do? Can you follow Him even if it makes you feel alone and unpopular?
  • Gilbert’s church grew, but it became even more unpopular with non-Christians. When Gilbert was a teenager, his father was killed because of his Christian work. Luke 12:4 says, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that there is no more that they can do.” How might the verse be a comfort to Gilbert and his family?