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David in Nigeria, Part 2

David on the cover of Stef

The previous post told about David, a boy from a Christian family in Nigeria. His story was in Stef, the children’s publication of SDOK, The Voice of the Martyrs’ sister mission in the Netherlands. Read more about him and his family below, as told by David.

My Dad
My dad was a leader in a church. Strict Muslims in our country want to make our country Muslim. Unfortunately they do a lot of really bad things.

One evening I was awakened by a very hard pounding on the door. What happened afterwards still doesn’t seem real. Men came in with guns, and they asked my dad if he wanted to become a Muslim.

My dad said no. One man said to him, “So you want to die as a Christian?”

“I want to,” said my dad. Then the man shot my dad in the head. I thought for sure he was killed but miraculously he could still talk.

My mom tried to get help after the man left, and I sat the whole night next to my dad. That’s all I want to say about it.

Fireworks Are Stupid
Thankfully my dad did not die.

Last year during Christmas somebody lit some fireworks. I heard loud bangs, and I thought fighting had broken out. I was very scared. Only the next day did I realize my fear wasn’t necessary.

Now I can laugh at it, but then I thought fireworks were really stupid.

I want to talk about something nice — about my teacher, Hassan. I think he is really cool because he knows so much. Later I want to become a professor or a teacher because I love learning so much.

Bye, David.

(Source: SDOK, translated and edited)

To Talk About

  • Why did David’s family move?
  • Why are radical Muslims attacking Christians in Nigeria?
  • Why was David scared of the fireworks?
  • What can you pray for David?

David in Nigeria

David on the cover of Stef
David on the cover of Stef

The following story comes from Stef, the children’s publication of SDOK, The Voice of the Martyrs’ sister mission in the Netherlands. SDOK workers visited David in Nigeria and listened to his story.

David’s Story
Hi. I’m David, and I live in Nigeria, a large country in Africa. At home I haul water from the water well. Every day my mom needs several buckets of water to cook, clean, and wash clothes.

There is a lid on the well because I can’t imagine that my little sister, Gladys, would fall into it. Getting water is boring work. But thankfully my dad does it once in a while also.

Not long ago we moved to a different house. I liked our first home a lot better. But we were living in a dangerous area.

I had a friend there named Joseph. I miss him every day. I would like to go just hang out with him and talk, but that’s not likely. “Much too dangerous,” my parents tell me. And of course I know that’s true.

Maybe I should share a little bit more about the danger. I don’t like to talk about it, because I always get a bad feeling when I do. But I really think you should know about this.

Read in the next post about what happened to David’s family in their old home.

Justin the Chicken Farmer, Part 2

Hen and Chick

Read the previous post about Justin, a teenager from Mindanao, an island in the Philippines. His father died in an attack by radical Muslims. His story continues below.

Living on the Chicken Farm
Two years later, someone came and saw our difficult situation. He told us there was a pastor somewhere who cared for children who could no longer live at home. He said I could live there, too.

At first I didn’t want to go. I thought I needed to find work to take care of my mom and my little sister, Genevieve. But later I changed my mind. I decided going to school was more important, so I went with him. I was 10 years old.

I lived in the house of the pastor’s daughter and son-in-law. They had a chicken farm. They take good care of me and are raising me. So I take care of the chickens.

Since I left, I’ve only seen my mom and sister once in six years. They live in a difficult area, and it is hard for me to go there. I can’t call them; they don’t have a phone. I miss them very much.

Thankfully their pastor visits the chicken farm every once in a while, and I get to hear how they’re doing. Sometimes I get letters from them.

Nice Memories
I still think a lot about my dad and sometimes I get sad. But sometimes I get happy because I have nice memories of him.

When I’m struggling, I ask God for help. I like to read the Bible, too. The best part of the Bible for me is Psalm 23. You most likely know it — “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” Then I know that God takes care of me even better than I take care of the chickens.

To Think About
What did Justin have to leave behind to move to a safer place where he could go to school? What does Justin do when he is sad about his situation? What do you do when you are sad or scared?

Mindanao: Justin the Chicken Farmer

Hen and Chick

The following story comes from Stef, the children’s publication of SDOK, The Voice of the Martyrs’ sister mission in the Netherlands. (Translated and edited from the original.) The story is told by Justin, a teenager from Mindanao, an island in the Philippines.

Justin’s Story
Do you like chickens? I do. I have a lot of them. Well, I take care of a lot of them — and also turkeys — in the orphanage where I live.

Why do I live in an orphanage? I’ll tell you why. But first let me properly introduce myself.

I am Justin, and I live on Mindanao, a large island in the Philippines. I like chickens, but I also like listening to music. And besides being a chicken farmer, I am also the handyman in the church. So I am very busy.

Of course I go to school every day, too. I go on a “tricycle.” It’s a motorcycle with a little shelter built on top where they can fit a lot of people. Here on Mindanao almost everyone uses a tricycle to get anywhere.

Why I Came Here
I came from a different place on the island of Mindanao. The area where I used to live is quite dangerous. Christians’ villages and homes there are attacked by armed “rebels.” They attack Christians because they think they whole island should belong to Muslims. So they want to take houses and land from the Christians.

Our village was attacked several times. We had to run for our lives.

When I was 7, something very bad happened. My dad died. He worked in the fields as a farmer. He was also a helper for the village leader (like a mayor). The rebels were fighting against the leader.

One day the leader drove through the rebel area. Rebels exploded a bomb under his car. The leader, my dad, and another person died.

At first, when my dad died, I was very angry toward the Muslims who did it. I couldn’t think of anything else every day. “When I’m bigger, I’ll get revenge,” I thought. I wanted to become a soldier and fight them. But things turned out differently.

Life was very hard for my mom. We had hardly any money for food or other things.

Justin’s story will be continued in the next post.

Photo credit: Bin Gregory / Flickr (bingregory) / Wikipedia / CC BY 2.0

Stef’s Riddle

Give Thanks

The story below comes from Stef, the children’s publication of SDOK, The Voice of the Martyrs’ sister mission in the Netherlands. The story is told from the point of view of a boy in the Netherlands.

I’m bored and not just a little bit. My sister is doing something only girls like, my dad is at work, and my mom has been cleaning the attic for hours. When I see the mess in the attic, I don’t think she will have time for me the rest of the week. But I’m going to try.

“Mom! I’m bored!” I yell. “Good!” Mom answers from behind a stack of rubbish. “You have time to think about God!”

I must look puzzled. Mom is laughing and flipping through a booklet. Ah, that’s why cleaning takes so long.

It is a booklet about kids who say special things about God. She hands me the booklet and points to a story that tells what a dad said to a kid who was bored.

The dad told the kid a riddle. I have heard the riddle somewhere before, but I am curious about the answer, so I read the story.

The riddle goes like this: A man on a river bank has a wolf, a lamb, and a cabbage. He wants to get them safely on the other bank. He is only allowed to take one at a time in his boat.

If he takes the wolf first, the lamb will eat the cabbage. If he takes the cabbage first, the wolf will eat the lamb. He could take the lamb first, but on the next crossing, he will have to take either the wolf or the cabbage. In both cases, one of the objects would be eaten on the other shore unless the man stayed with them to prevent it.

A girl in the book offered this solution to the riddle: “We should pray for Jesus to return, because when He does, the wolf and the lamb will be friends (Isaiah 11:6). The cabbage will be safe, too, because the kingdom of God is not a matter of food and drink (Romans 14:17).

I think the girl had a good answer. I read it out loud to mom.

“Indeed,” Mom says. “Hopefully it will happen soon, and then there will be no more sad things like the kidnapping of girls in Nigeria and people put in prison in North Korea.”

Being Bored Is Good
Mom and I are quiet together. Then Mom says, “I’m glad you are bored. Now we have time to think about God together.”

(Sources: SDOK, From the Lips of Children by Richard Wurmbrand, available from The Voice of the Martyrs. Preview is recommended before sharing the book with children.)

Note: The answer to the riddle is as follows. On his first trip across the river, the man takes the lamb. The wolf and the cabbage stay behind. The man returns alone and takes the cabbage on his second trip across. He leaves the cabbage and puts the lamb back in his boat. He takes the lamb back, leaves it, and picks up the wolf. He leaves the wolf across the river with the cabbage, and returns and gets the lamb. Soon all three are safely with the man on the opposite shore.