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Scary Visitor; Good Visitor

Refugee boys

Eight-year-old Yana lived in a very crowded apartment. Five adults, including Yana’s parents, and 14 other children lived in the tiny one-bedroom home in Jordan.

Yana and her family used to live in Syria, but soldiers burned down their home and forced them to flee the country. Many people, both Muslims and Christians, are homeless because of a war in Syria. Yana and her family were Muslims.

Visitors sometimes came to see Yana and the other refugees. (A refugee is someone who flees from one place to live in a safer place.) One day a strange visitor arrived. The man was a Muslim leader from Saudi Arabia. He acted like he wanted to help Yana’s family, and he gave them some dates to eat. But then he offered to buy Yana! Of course, Yana’s mom and dad refused to sell their child!

Thankfully they had another visitor. A VOM contact began to visit them regularly and to tell them about Jesus. Yana’s family had already been thinking about Islam and wondering if it was the truth. After they learned more about Jesus, they decided to trust in Him as their Savior.

“I found the way,” Yana’s mother said. “I had a big burden on me, but now I am free. When I first arrived in Jordan, I hated almost everyone, but now I am starting to love the people around me. Now I can forgive people, and I feel that my sins have been forgiven.”

(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.)


Barazek: Syrian Cookies

Ingredients
2 1/2 cups of flour
3/4 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of butter or margarine
1/3 cup of sesame seeds
1/3 cup of water
2 teaspoons of honey
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder

Instructions
1.    Toast 1/3 cup of sesame seeds in a dry frying pan over medium heat, stirring until the seeds are light brown.
2.    Pour the seeds in a bowl, and stir in 2 teaspoons of honey. Set aside.
3.    Mix 2 1/2 cups of flour, 3/4 cups of sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder.
4.    Add 1/2 cup of butter or margarine. Stir it into the mixture as you would if making pie crust. Add 1/3 cup of water, and stir just until dough forms. Add a little flour if it is too sticky to handle easily. (For even easier handling, chill for several hours.)
5.    Use your hands to make dough balls that are larger than a marble and smaller than a ping-pong ball. Flatten the balls somewhat, and put them on a lightly greased cookie sheet, leaving some space between them. Spoon a little of the sesame seed and honey mixture onto the top of each cookie, and slightly press it into the top of the cookie.
6.   Bake for 15 to 18 minutes at 350˚degrees until lightly browned.

Learn about courageous Syrian Christians in Bold Believers in Syria, free in Downloads section.


“You and Your Family Will Be Saved”

Syrian girls

Miriam and her family lived in Syria. Like most people in Syria, Miriam was raised as a Muslim. But when she was 13, she found a Bible in her older sister’s backpack. Her sister, she later discovered, was a secret Christian.

Miriam read her sister’s Bible and found the answers to many of her questions about life. Like her sister, she decided to follow Christ. But unlike her sister, she could not keep her new faith a secret. She talked to her friends at school, and she brought one friend a Bible. “I wanted her to know God, to know Jesus, like me,” she said.

But school officials searched Miriam’s backpack and found her Bible. They called her father and told him, “Your daughter must not give Bibles to anyone.”

As punishment, Miriam’s father burned all her belongings. He and Miriam’s mother spoke roughly to her and treated her harshly. Eighteen years later, they are still rude and harsh with her.

But Miriam said, “God has freed me from bitterness toward them….I love my parents. I reject the things they do. I share my faith with them. I believe the Scripture that says, ‘You and your family will be saved.’ That is what I’m holding on to. I am in tears praying for them. This is my faith. If I don’t love them my faith in Christ would be very shallow.”

To Do and To Talk About
•    How did Miriam’s parents find out she had become a Christian?
•    Miriam said, “If I don’t love them my faith in Christ would be very shallow.” What did she mean by that?
•    Would you join Miriam in praying that her brother and parents will come to know Jesus?


A Fighter Sees a Vision

Christians all over the world are praying for radical Muslims to learn and understand the truth about Jesus. A previous post told about an ISIS fighter who searched for a Bible after he grew tired of violence. Read about another ISIS fighter below.

Suddenly and without warning, one day an ISIS fighter in Syria had a vision of a cross. He was not pleased. Muslims believe that Jesus was just a prophet and not the Son of God. They don’t believe that Jesus died on a cross. They know that the cross is an important symbol to Christians.

“What’s wrong with me?” the ISIS fighter wondered after his vision. He began searching the Internet for a Muslim site to help him strengthen his faith in Muslim teachings.

But instead, he stumbled onto a Christian site! As he read the site, he grew more and more interested. He began to doubt his own faith.

The fighter left Syria and went to Turkey where he met a Christian who explained Christianity to him. The ISIS fighter became a Christian.

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

To Talk About
What might have happened if the Christian in Turkey were not able to explain Christianity to the ISIS fighter? What would you say if a Muslim asked you to explain your Christian faith?


Maggie: Assyrian Refugee

Syrian refugee girls

Many people in Syria have left their homes to live in safer places. VOM workers visited Syrian refugees in Lebanon and met Maggie, a 12-year-old girl.

Maggie was helping her mother make coffee one day, and she accidentally burned her leg. Her parents had no money to take her to the hospital. They were embarrassed because they could not get her the help she needed.

One of the VOM workers who discovered Maggie’s situation said, “We went to the emergency room and found a doctor who had a merciful heart.” The doctor agreed to let the workers pay less than the usual fee for Maggie’s care. “We shared with him then about Christ, and he was open to a short conversation,” said the worker.

“We went back home, and Maggie was relieved from her pain,” the worker continued. “We followed up with the family for a week to make sure Maggie was recovering. During that week we shared with the family about Christ. The mother was really touched that they saw the love of Christ through our actions.”

To Talk About
•    Maggie came from an Assyrian family. Assyrians have experienced persecution for many years because enemies have associated Assyrians with Christianity. But some Assyrians are no longer serious about their Christian faith.  How did the VOM workers help Maggie’s family think more about Jesus and His love for them?
•    What are some other ways Christians can encourage each other in their faith?