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A Blessed Baby

Rajah
Rajah

A man and his wife who work for The Voice of the Martyrs recently had a baby girl! Dory, the baby’s mother, recently shared her thoughts:

“We named her ‘Rajah,’ a transliteration of the word for ‘hope’ used in Arabic Bibles when it refers to future hope. [Arabic and English use different alphabets to form words. Transliteration is when a word in one language is written using characters from another alphabet.]

“Here on earth we expect tribulation, enduring patiently, but we also rejoice in our hope for the future (Romans 12:12).

“In the last three months, my husband and I have hosted VOM workers from Syria, Lebanon, Turkey and Israel in our home. Each time we introduced Rajah to our Middle Eastern brothers and sisters, every one of our friends immediately offered a blessing over our baby daughter….

“They prayed for God’s favor for Rajah in expectation that she, too, will be used by the Lord to point people to his truth. This path might not be easy.

“When our friends bless Rajah, do they bless to request God’s favor and protection on her? No, they bless her to dedicate her to God’s service, a position they know from experience is not always pain-free, but they also know that there is no better place to spend a life than to spend it dedicated to God’s service.

“That is my prayer for my daughter, for myself, and for all of us as we work together to fellowship with the persecuted. We may need to make difficult choices, endure difficult circumstances, but we do so in hope that we will someday enjoy an eternity worshipping the only One who is worthy of our efforts.”

Source: Persecution Blog


Amal

IsraelA church service in the Holy Land

Parents and Teachers: The following story was adapted from the February 2014 The Voice of the Martyrs newsletter. The issue includes stories about bold believers in Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank. To subscribe to the free monthly newsletter, visit our subscription signup page.

As you read the newsletters, 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.

Amal
Amal, a Muslim girl in Israel, first heard about Jesus when she was 13. She studied to learn more, but after two years, she still did not know which was true: Christianity or Islam. (Islam is the religion of Muslims.)

One night she prayed, “Okay, God, I want to ask you if you are the God of Islam. Just tell me that you are, and I will wear the hijab [Muslim head covering], and I will do all the prayers that you want.” (Muslims believe they should pray memorized prayers five times a day. Strict Muslims believe that women should wear head coverings.)

Amal continued praying, “But if you are the God of Christians, even if this will lead me to be killed, I will still believe in you.”

Read the rest of this entry »


Ask a VOM Worker: More About Bethlehem

Bethlehem
Bethlehem today

Question: What are your thoughts about your recent visit with Christians in Bethlehem, where today most people are Muslims?

Answers: Traveling to Bethlehem and meeting Christians there is very special. Knowing that Jesus was born there, and now 2,000 years later meeting followers of that same Jesus shows me God’s faithfulness to his children.

I met Pauline and her three children, whose father, Rami, will not be coming home anymore. [Rami was the manager of a bookstore in Gaza that sold Christian books. A few years ago, radical Muslims kidnapped Rami and shot him, and sadly, he died. Rami was 26 years old.]

Pauline hears stories of how Rami affected people with his generous faith. Meeting Pauline showed me that our brothers and sisters in that region need us to pray for them.


A Christian in Bethlehem

Church
A church in Bethlehem

Sameer attends a Christian church in Bethlehem, the town where Jesus was born. Today Bethlehem is in the West Bank, an area where most of the people are Muslims.

Sameer has difficulty moving around. For years he used homemade crutches until he finally got a wheelchair.

He grew up in a Christian family, but never really knew Jesus until he started going to the church in Bethlehem. After he gave his life to Jesus, his heart was filled with joy. But he also learned about the persecution that comes with following Christ.

One Wednesday night several years ago, during a time when angry Muslims were protesting against Israel, some radical Muslims interrupted an evening service at the church. The Muslims yelled at the Christians and threw rocks at them. One of the men hit Sameer. Some went to the church’s bookstore and tore pages out of the Christian books.

The attack was not the only time Muslims came to the church. “They did this many times,” said Sameer.

“I began dragging myself up to the second floor of the church near the bell tower so I could be a lookout,” Sameer continued. “I wanted to keep watch and alert the security guards on the first floor if trouble was on the way. We had walkie-talkies. I would stay up all night until 3 or 4 in the morning. It was exhausting…but I felt joyful. I felt like I was giving something to the Lord. I felt afraid, but when you have faith in the Lord, nothing shakes or scares you!”

(Source: In the Backyard of Jesus, by Steven N. Khoury, available at VOM Books. Edited from original source for clarity.)


Names in the News

Gaza

Gaza, Israel, Hamas, and Fatah are names in the news this week. Find more about the geography, history, culture, religions, and Christians of the places in the news in Bold Believers in Gaza and the West Bank in the Downloads section of this site.

Additional information is available in the following posts:

Use what you learn to help you pray for the region when you hear news reporters talk about what’s going on there.