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Pakistan: Escape from a Snake

Rebekha

Rebekha was angry. Her teacher expected her to sit by a new girl in her ninth grade class in Pakistan. The new girl was a Christian, and Rebekha hated Christians! She chose to sit on the floor rather than sit by Mary, the new girl.

Rebekha then had to miss school because she was sick. She needed help studying for a test. None of the other Muslim girls would help her study. Mary offered to help, and Rebekha began to like Christians a little bit more.

A Bad Attitude
Some Christians started a sewing class in Rebekha’s village, and Mary invited Rebekha to attend. Rebekha went to the class, but she sat separately from the Christian girls. She still did not like Christians very well.

The Christian girls were sad about Rebekha’s attitude. They spent much time in prayer for her.

Rebekha realized that she could find nothing wrong with the Christian girls. After two months, she asked Mary for a Bible. Mary happily gave her one. Mary asked God to help Rebekha understand the Bible and follow Christ.

Honor
The girls’ prayers were answered! Rebekha not only quit hating Christians; she became one! Rebekha was happy, but her family was miserable. They tried to get her to return to Islam, the religion of Muslims.

Honor is very important in many Muslim countries. A man receives honor if others in his culture respect him. He loses honor if members of his family do not follow the customs of those around him. Some Muslims in Pakistan believe they will lose honor if someone in their family becomes a Christian.

That is what Rebekha’s uncles believed.

An Evil Plan
The uncles took Rebekha to a canal near their farmland. When they got to the canal, they saw a deadly cobra swimming in the water. “Good,” the uncles said, “the cobra will bite her.” They threw her into the canal and hurried away. Rebekha did not know how to swim. She prayed for help. The cobra disappeared. Rebekha climbed out of the canal and praised God for keeping her safe.

Rebekha returned home soaking wet. Her family was astonished. Her father said she could no longer live there since she had become a Christian. She left home, and Mary helped her find Christians who would take care of her. Rebekha was grateful to God for sparing her life.

(Source: Kids of Courage archives)

(Note: Rebekha’s face is covered in the photo above to protect her identity.)

To Think About
Mary came from a Christian family. What advice do you suppose her family gave her about attending school where most of the students were Muslims? What do you think they told her when she came home and said that Rebekha sat on the floor rather than sitting next to her?

Use this link to find drawings of a Pakistani family to photocopy and color. Cut out the pictures after you color them, and glue them to craft sticks to make stick puppets. With the puppets, act out what might have happened at Mary’s house after she began to attend school with Rebekha.


Pakistan: Sara’s Dad

Sara’s dad, Paulus, was a bully. And Christians were the main target of his bullying. As a Muslim police officer in Pakistan, he believed it was his duty to try to convince Christians to deny Jesus and follow Islam. (Islam is the religion of Muslims.) When Christians refused his invitation to Islam, he beat them up.

But one day, Paulus found a Bible at a bookstore. As he read his new book, he became curious about Jesus, so he asked some Christians to help him learn more. The Christians took Paulus to their pastor. After he talked to the pastor and then had a vision of Jesus, he trusted Christ as his Savior.

The Bully Is Bullied
Muslim family members and religious leaders often beat Paulus after he became a Christian. One day, he was holding Sara in his arms when a relative hit him so hard that he dropped her. Her left eye was permanently damaged. Sadly, after another beating, Paulus died in 2016.

Sara and her mother, Marriam, are happy that Paulus is in heaven with his Savior. But they have not had an easy time since he died. The Voice of the Martyrs has provided Marriam with a rickshaw so she can run a taxi business to support herself and Sara.

VOM also helped with school fees and medical treatment for Sara. She still can’t see out of her injured eye, but she was able to get a glass eye, which gives her more confidence.

Please pray for Marriam, Sara, and faithful Christians in Pakistan who continue to follow Christ whatever the cost.

[Photos: Marriam and Sara]


Back to School

 

(Photo: Two children at a school in Africa. Their faces are covered to protect their identity from people who may want to harm them or their families.)

This is the time of year when most American kids return to school for the fall semester. But Christian kids in some countries don’t always have the freedom to get a good education in peace.

*Cuba
Christian children are sometimes mocked, bullied, and not promoted to the next grade.

*China
Officials in China closed a Christian school last year, claiming that the children were “brainwashed.”

*Indonesia
Muslim parents warn their children not to play with Christian children or make friends with them.

*Uganda
In parts of Uganda, Christian children are not welcome to attend school in Muslim areas.

*Mexico
In Chiapas, Mexico, authorities sometimes refuse to let children stay in school if their parents become Christians.

*Egypt
Christian children in Egypt have been forced to sit in the back of the class, and some students are given bad grades just because they are Christians.

*Pakistan
Christians in Pakistan are often hired to do only low-paying jobs. They sometimes can’t afford to send their children to school.

To Talk About
*Will you thank God today for your school assignments and for the opportunity to get an education?
*Ask God to protect and provide for children in each of the countries mentioned above.


Pakistan: Benish

Benish had a problem. A Muslim boy liked her, and he decided he wanted to marry her. Benish and her family are Christians, but they live in Pakistan, where most of the people are Muslims.

On behalf of their son, the Muslim boy’s parents asked Benish’s parents for her hand in marriage. Her parents refused. They knew that Benish would be expected to become a Muslim before the marriage.

The boy was angry, and he didn’t quickly take no for an answer. He continued to pester Benish to marry him. When Benish still said no, he became enraged and pushed her off the second floor of a building!

Benish was taken to the hospital in critical condition. No one knew if she would recover from her injuries. And the police were not helpful. They urged Benish’s parents to drop their case against the boy.

Many Christians around the world prayed for Benish and by God’s grace, she did recover.

Every year, Pakistani Christian girls are pressured into marrying Muslim men they don’t want to marry. Pray that the police and government will take their cases seriously, and that Christian girls will not be mistreated.

(Source: VOM Australia)


Netherlands Kids Celebrate Teacher’s Birthday

(The story below comes from Stef, the children’s publication of SDOK, a ministry that is part of The Voice of the Martyrs’ family of missions. SDOK is in the Netherlands.)

Some elementary school students and their teacher at a Christian school in the Netherlands celebrated the teacher’s birthday in unique way. First the teacher arranged for someone to give a presentation at the school about persecuted Christians in Pakistan. Then the children raised money to give to SDOK for projects to help Pakistani Christians.

“We received a box to put the money in,” said Anne, one of the students. “I do odd jobs and often walk my dog, Tayla. Then I put the money that I earn in the box.”

What do you think of the class’s idea to honor their teacher by remembering persecuted Christians? (See Hebrews 13:3.)