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Mary and Jabril

Mary, an American Christian girl, met Jabril at the college she attended in the United States. Jabril came from an Arab country. He spoke English well, and he followed the same customs and wore the same kind of clothes as the American college students.

Mary once saw a photo of Jabril that was taken in his home country. In the photo he wore a long white robe. Mary thought he looked very handsome, and he also seemed polite and kind.

Mary and Jabril began seeing more of each other, and Jabril asked Mary to marry him. He told her that she could continue to practice her Christian faith after they married, even though he was a Muslim. Mary said yes to his proposal.

A Sad Surprise
Mary moved with Jabril to his Arab homeland after their wedding. As soon as they arrived, Jabril changed. He began wearing traditional clothing, and he made Mary wear a long robe. Mary had no freedom. She had to hide her Bible under her pillow and read it when no one was around.

After Mary and Jabril had children, Jabril told their oldest daughter to spy on Mary. She even had to tell her father when Mary talked on the phone and who she talked to. Mary felt trapped in a sad situation.

Saudi Arabian Rules and Honor
In Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries, a person is not as important as his family or group. It is most important not to bring dishonor on one’s family. A person brings dishonor on his or her family by breaking the rules of Saudi society.

Jabril did not follow strict Muslim rules outside of his country, so Mary thought it was “safe” to marry him. Saudi and other Arab students who attend school in another country often aren’t as careful about following the rules because there is less chance of bringing dishonor on their families. When they return home, they go back to following the rules.

Thousands of Saudi students come to the United States for college. Many do things they would never do in Saudi Arabia because it would break the rules in their country.

The true story above comes from the revised Bold Believers in Saudi Arabia country book, available in the free Downloads section.


Jubniyah and Masoub

Jubniyah

A revised version of Bold Believers in Saudi Arabia is now available in the free Downloads section. The book tells stories of Christians in the region where Islam started. (Islam is the religion of Muslims.) Bold Believers in Saudi Arabia also features facts about Saudi Arabian culture, history, and geography, as well as activities and recipes.

Two of the recipes are below.

Jubniyah
With a fork, stir together 2 cups of all-purpose flour and one 8-ounce package of cream cheese, softened at room temperature.  Dissolve one 2.5-ounce packet of yeast in ¾ cup of water. Add the dissolved yeast to the flour mixture and mix well. If the dough is too stiff, gradually add more water and mix with a fork until the dough is the consistency of pizza crust dough.

Let the mixture rise for an hour or until the dough has doubled in size. Roll out the dough until it is about ¼ inch thick. Cut into 1-inch squares.

Fry the squares in about ½ inch of oil until they are light brown, turning over only once. Remove from the pan and drain on paper towels. Cool and dip in cinnamon sugar, powdered sugar, honey, syrup, or another favorite topping.

Masoub
Peel 3 or 4 ripe bananas, and mash them with a fork. Add 1 to 3 teaspoons cinnamon, and, if desired, 1 teaspoon of lemon juice.

Crumble 3 or 4 slices of dry bread into tiny pieces. (You can also use pita bread or flatbread.) You should have about the same amount of bread crumbs as you do bananas. Stir the mixture well by hand.

Serve in individual portions. Top with raisins, nuts, honey, fruit, or other favorite toppings.


Tired of Violence

 

Christian workers in the Middle East tell VOM that even radical Muslims are turning from Islam and giving their lives to Christ! Read below about how one of them learned more about Jesus.

A Christian taxi driver worked in Lebanon near the border with Syria. One day, he picked up a passenger who had a big beard. The beard looked like the beards worn by men in radical Muslim groups. The bearded man said to the driver, “Take me to the airport. I am flying home to Saudi Arabia. But on the way, I want to find a Bible. Can you find me a Bible?”

The driver found him a Bible, then asked him, “Sir, why did you want a Bible?”

The man answered, “I am a teacher of Islam. I have been in Syria teaching ISIS fighters. But I am sick of the violence. There must be something better than this.” [Islam is the religion of Muslims. ISIS is a group of radical Muslim fighters.]

(Source: VOMRadio.net. Edited for length, clarity, and age-appropriateness.)

To Talk About
•    Why did the Muslim want a Bible?
•    A quote from VOMRadio.net: “If you are praying for ISIS fighters to come to Christ, God is answering your prayer. If you are not praying for that, you should be.” Why should Christians pray for radical Muslims?

A Christian who ministers among Syrians shares the good news of Jesus using an interesting wristband. Watch a video clip to hear him explaining the symbols on the wristband in Arabic, the main language of Syria.


Afghanistan: John and Mary

Afghanistan
John, Mary, and their baby Isa

Parents and Teachers: The January 2015 issue of The Voice of the Martyrs newsletter includes a story about John, the son of a Taliban leader in Afghanistan. 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.

The Taliban
The Taliban is a group of radical Muslims in Afghanistan. Taliban means “students” in Arabic. Members of the group think that women should not go to school, and men should grow beards. They do not like TV, music, games, or some sports. Taliban radicals believe in harsh punishment for Muslims who become Christians.

John
John is the son of a Taliban leader in Afghanistan. When he was a youth, his father sent him to Egypt to study at a secret school for Muslim radicals.

John married a woman named Mary, had a son, and began teaching Muslim beliefs to others in Afghanistan. Then John’s father decided to send John to the Muslim hajj in Saudi Arabia. (Read more about the hajj here.) Taliban bodyguards traveled with John to protect him.

Dreams
While John was in Saudi Arabia, Jesus came to him in a vision and a dream. “I am your God,” Jesus said to John in the vision. “I am Jesus Christ.”

When John woke up, he felt like a different person. “I was completely cleansed from the inside,” he said. “I felt like I was a newborn baby.”

Mary’s Dream
John flew home to Afghanistan and told his father about his experiences with Jesus. “I found my God,” John said.

In anger, John’s father threw John in a basement bunker and kept him there for 18 months. He told John’s wife, Mary, that he had sent John to Egypt again.

When John was freed from the bunker, he went home to Mary. He planned to tell her about Jesus.

“I have something to tell you first,” said Mary. She told John that she had dreams of Jesus while he was gone! She believed in Jesus but had not told the family. John and Mary cried with happiness because of their new life in Christ.

Houses in Heaven
John’s father and other Taliban radicals continued to severely persecute John and his family. John and Mary had to move to another country to be safe. Through all the persecution, John and Mary could only weep and pray, saying, “God, You know.”

John still shares about Jesus with others, even though he knows that his witness for Christ will make some people angry.

“I want to show people in Afghanistan how to believe in Jesus,” he said. “God made many houses in heaven; He needs people in them.”

Read John 14:2. Who is speaking the words of the verse? What does the verse mean? How might the verse comfort John and Mary? What part of the verse did John talk about in the story?
To learn more about Christians in Afghanistan, download Bold Believers in Afghanistan from the Downloads section.

(Source: The January 2015 The Voice of the Martyrs newsletter. 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.)


International Day of the Bible

The Bible tells about King Josiah, who re-discovered the words of God. He read the words to all the people of the land to turn their hearts back to God. (See 2 Kings 22-23.)

International Bible Week is celebrated during the week of Thanksgiving in the United States. This year, the International Day of the Bible will be observed on November 24. People will read passages of the Bible aloud in public.

Ask a mature Christian to help you discover a story or passage in the Bible that is new to you. Read the passage aloud.

As you learn more about the Bible, remember Christians in the following countries who could be persecuted if they read the Bible aloud in public. (The list is not a complete list.)

  • North Korea
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Turkmenistan
  • Somalia
  • Eritrea
  • Afghanistan
  • Iran
  • Syria
  • Uzbekistan
  • Qatar