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Ukraine: Eleven Pillows

(The story below comes from The Voice of the Martyrs Canada, a ministry that is part of The Voice of the Martyrs’ family of missions.)

This is the story of Pastor K and his wife, who found themselves ejected from their home in Turkmenistan. Because of their faith in Jesus and the husband’s role as a pastor, the government had taken away their house with no warning. Then they put the pastor in prison. A year later, they released him, but kicked him and his family out of the country.

The 11-member family moved into a three-room home in Ukraine. (See the photo above.) “Eleven of them sleep over every inch of the floor,” Bruno, a Christian friend, told Floyd, a worker from The Voice of the Martyrs. “Pastor K and his wife sleep at the entrance by the door. They don’t even have pillows to rest their heads on at night.”

There was a shower stall and toilet outside the house. “If anyone has to go to the bathroom at night, they have to climb over all the bodies and wake up the pastor and Mrs. K to go outside,” said Bruno. The bathroom arrangement might not have been so difficult if they had lived in a warm climate. But winters in Ukraine can be harsh.

Bruno told Floyd that the family didn’t even have a proper stove. If they had a stove, Mrs. K could make goods to sell at the local market to provide income for the family.

So Bruno and Floyd went to purchase a stove for the K family. Then Floyd said, “Let’s buy 11 pillows.” They took the stove and pillows to the family’s house in a truck. But they kept their purchases a secret at first.

The pastor’s family welcomed their guests and even managed to fix them a simple meal. The children sang, and everyone listened to stories. Despite all their troubles, they family loved each other and found ways to praise Jesus amidst their hardships.

Then Floyd asked the older boys to help him unload some things from the truck. He was eager to see Mrs. K’s face when she saw the stove.

The family was stunned and grateful, and happy to have a way to provide for themselves. But when the boys brought the pillows from the truck, Mrs. K began to weep. What no one else knew was that her mother had made 11 pillowcases for the family. As she had handed them to Mrs. K, she had said, “These are for when the Lord provides the pillows.”

“God does not leave us or abandon us,” said another VOM worker who learned about the pillow story. “He knows your heart. He rallies the Body of Christ from halfway around the world sometimes, just to let you feel His love and to experience true abiding joy, regardless of your circumstances. What a privilege to be a part of His family!”


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

Three Leaders’ Birthdays

Poster
Raúl Castro

Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.1 Timothy 2:1–4 (NKJV)

The presidents of Turkmenistan, Cuba, and China have birthdays this month. The three men rule over countries where Christians are not always treated fairly. They need your prayers, so consider praying for them on their birthdays. You can remember to pray for them by putting their birthdays on your calendar.

Turkmenistan
President: Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow
Born: 6/29/1957
Only certain religious groups are allowed in Turkmenistan. Other groups are sometimes raided and treated harshly. Officials have warned Christian parents that their children will be closely watched at school.

Cuba
President: Raúl Castro
Born: 6/3/1931
Christians have had more freedom in recent years, but the government still mistreats some Christians. Christian children are sometimes not treated fairly in public schools.

China
President: Xi Jinping
Born: 6/15/1953
The Communist Party has strict control over China’s citizens. In some parts of China, police raid churches and arrest Christians. In one region, officials have said that children must go to school for nine years before they can receive any religious education outside of school. (Source: U.S. State Department’s International Religious Freedom Report)

Photo credit: Government.ru / Wikipedia (CC BY 3.0)


Kids of Courage in Russia

KOC in Russia
Дети отваги
(Children of Courage)

The U.S.S.R. (often called “the Soviet Union”) was the largest communist country in the world. In the early 1990s, it broke up into many smaller countries.

People in the smaller countries have their own languages. But many still speak Russian, the language of the Soviet Union.

Russian-speaking Christians have started a children’s website using Kids of Courage stories.

Go to the Map of Visitors page on this site to see if anyone in the former Soviet Union has recently visited Kids of Courage. The countries formed when the U.S.S.R. broke up are: Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania.

You can find out what life is like for Christians in some of those countries in the Countries section of this site.


Weave a Carpet Rectangle

Carpet Rectangle

October 27 is Turkmenistan’s Independence Day when the nation celebrates its freedom from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (U.S.S.R.) in 1991. Pray that people in Turkmenistan will be free to hear the truth about Jesus.

Carpetmaking is a traditional craft in Turkmenistan.

Use the instructions to weave a “carpet rectangle.” You may want to join several rectangles, taping them together on the back, to make a larger carpet.