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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?

 

 


Afghanistan: John and Mary

Afghanistan
John, Mary, and their baby Isa

Parents and Teachers: The January 2015 issue of The Voice of the Martyrs magazine includes a story about John, the son of a Taliban leader in Afghanistan. To subscribe to the free monthly magazine, visit our subscription signup page. As you read the magazines, 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 magazine. 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

Hope for Hindus and Muslims

Muslims at the Hajj

Millions of people will observe two events in October this year. Hindus will celebrate Diwali during the third full week of October, and Muslims will gather in Saudi Arabia for the Hajj in early October.

Diwali
During Diwali, the “Festival of Lights,” people enjoy feasts, gift-giving, and fireworks. They tell legends about Hindu gods and goddesses.

Read more about Diwali in the post “Diwali 2013.”

The Hajj
Once every year Muslims from all over the world travel to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, for the Hajj. Muslims are expected to attend the Hajj at least once in their lifetime if they are able.

Read more about the Hajj in the post “Hajj 2012.”

Hope
Christians around the world pray for Hindus and Muslims during Diwali and the Hajj.

A VOM worker who recently visited the largest Hindu temple in a Hindu country said, “This was a reminder of what life is like without Jesus….It was devoid of hope.” (“Devoid” means “completely without.”)

The Festival of Lights is a fun celebration for children and families, but Hindus need the hope for the future that comes from trusting “the light of the world.” (See John 8:12.)

Muslims hope to earn their way to heaven by doing good deeds, including going to the Hajj. Christians do good works to please God, but we do not believe good works can save us. Our hope is in Jesus. (See Ephesians 2:8–9.)

Pray for lasting hope for Muslims and Hindus.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. In God’s great mercy he has caused us to be born again into a living hope, because Jesus Christ rose from the dead. Now we hope for the blessings God has for his children. These blessings, which cannot be destroyed or be spoiled or lose their beauty, are kept in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:3–4, NCV).


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