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Two Ramadan Problems

The previous post told facts about Ramadan, the Muslim holy month when Muslim adults and older children fast from food and drink from sunrise to sunset.

Problem: When is Sunset?
Ashraf El Dakrouri, the first Egyptian explorer to go to Antarctica, is a Muslim. He wanted to fast until sunset during Ramadan, like other Muslims. But the sun never set at that time of the year in Antarctica! Muslim leaders decided that he could eat when the sun set in New Zealand.

Problem: Which Way Is Mecca?

Dr. Sheik Muszaphar Shukar, Malaysia’s first astronaut, was also the first Muslim to travel in space during Ramadan. Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset during Ramadan. But in an orbiting spaceship, the sun rises and sets many times a day. Though Muslims are not required to fast while traveling, Dr. Shukar wanted to try it. Muslims must also pray memorized prayers five times a day while facing Mecca, Saudi Arabia. But what direction should an astronaut face in space? A group of Muslim leaders made new rules for prayer and fasting in space before Dr. Shukar blasted off.

Enter “Ramadan” in the search box to find more facts and stories about Ramadan.


A Malaysian Treat and a Craft

Easy batik

The previous post told about Malaysia’s Independence Day. To make a Malaysian treat, try the recipe below.

Banana Fritters
Banana fritters are a popular treat in Malaysia. To make them, combine 1½ cups of flour, 2 tablespoons of sugar, and ½ teaspoon of cinnamon. In a separate container, mix 2 eggs, 1 cup of milk, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Then mix the liquid ingredients with the dry ingredients. If the batter is too thick, add water a little at a time until it is the thickness of pancake batter.

Heat enough oil for deep frying until hot. Slice 4 to 6 bananas lengthwise, and dip them into the batter to cover them completely. Deep fry the bananas until golden brown. Serve warm.

Easy Batik
Batik is an art practiced in Malaysia. Find easy instructions to make a batik prayer reminder here.

Learn more about Malaysia in Bold Believers in Malaysia, available in the free Downloads section.


Malaysia: Independence Day

Muslims in Malaysia

On August 31st, Malaysians celebrate the day in 1957 when their country became independent from Britain. Independence means freedom. But not all Malaysians have freedom of religion. Read the paragraph below about life for Christians in Malaysia, then name three things Christians aren’t free to do in Malaysia.

Islam, the religion of Muslims, is the official religion. All people who are part of the Malay ethnic group are considered Muslim. It is a crime for them to become Christians. The government makes rules about what Christian books and materials can say. It is illegal for Christians to try to lead Muslims to Christ, or to say anything that insults Islam.

(Source: The Voice of the Martyrs’ Global Prayer Guide)

Christians who minister to Malaysians are asking for prayer for the following.
*The nation of Malaysia.
*The people of Malaysia to be saved.
*Freedom for Christian prisoners.

Learn more about Malaysia in Bold Believers in Malaysia, available in the free Downloads section.


Quiz: What Do You Know About Persecution?

Question Mark

The following questions cover Bible stories about persecution and information about current situations. See how many you can answer, then share them with your family, group, or class to see if they know the answers.

  1. Who will suffer persecution, according to the Bible? (See 1 Timothy 3:12.)
    1. The rich
    2. All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus
    3. Everyone who chooses not to follow Jesus
  2. Leaders in some countries try to stop people from celebrating Valentine’s Day, which they consider a Christian holiday. What are some of the countries?
    1. Mexico, Canada, the United States
    2. Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Iran
    3. Japan, Spain, South Korea
  3. Missionaries drop small parachutes carrying Christian books out of planes over guerrilla-controlled parts of Colombia. What kind of areas do the planes usually fly over?
    1. Oceans
    2. Desert
    3. Jungles
  4. In the Bible story of Nehemiah, how did Nehemiah’s enemies try to get him to stop doing the right thing?
    1. Laughed at him, lied about him, tried to get him to come to a meeting
    2. Got angry, made plans to attack him
    3. All of the answers in “a” and “b”
  5. People in North Korea can go to jail for which of the following?
    1. Bowing to statues of North Korean leaders
    2. Owning a Bible
    3. Talking against the United States
  6. Which of the following is true about persecution?
    1. The apostles in the Bible (Acts 5) rejoiced when they were persecuted.
    2. Almost all of the persecution of Christians happened long ago.
    3. If you do the right things, you are certain to avoid persecution for your belief in Jesus.
  7. According to Acts 14:22 (NIV), Paul and Barnabus said:
    1. “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.”
    2. “We must do many good deeds to be sure to enter the kingdom of God.”
    3. “We must follow the Ten Commandments to be sure that we will enter the kingdom of God.”
  8. How did Paul say we must overcome evil? (See Romans 12:21.)
    1. Overcome evil with force
    2. Overcome evil with strict rules
    3. Overcome evil with good
  9. What is an “underground church?”
    1. A church that meets in a subway
    2. A church that meets in a secret location
    3. A church that meets in a cave
  10. What is a “martyr?”
    1. Someone who complains about their circumstances
    2. A bully
    3. Someone who makes a big sacrifice or risks losing something important because of their beliefs

Visit this link to view the answers to the quiz.

Quiz Answers

  1. b. All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus
  2. b. Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Iran
  3. c. Jungles
  4. c. All of the answers in “a” and “b”
  5. b. Owning a Bible
  6. a. The apostles in the Bible (Acts 5)
  7. c. “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.”
  8. c. Overcome evil with good
  9. b. A church that meets in a secret location
  10. c. Someone who makes a big sacrifice or risks losing something important because of their beliefs

Update: Priscilla and Naomi

Malaysia
Priscilla and Naomi

A post on this site in 2011 told the story of Priscilla and Naomi, Malaysian sisters who had to live in another country with their mother, Rose. They could not live with their father, Felipe, in Malaysia because Felipe was born into a Muslim family. He became a Christian when he was a boy, and later married, Rose, who is a Christian.

But Malaysian laws consider anyone born into a Muslim family to be a Muslim, and they do not allow Muslims to marry Christians. So Rose, Felipe, Priscilla, and Naomi could not live as a family in Malaysia.

Update
The Voice of the Martyrs has learned that the family has been reunited! Their lives are still not always easy. Felipe said, “I am thankful for my children, who live close to the Lord. They are very brave, and that comforts me.”

Please continue to pray for the family.

(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.)