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Iran and the United States: Bita and Tabita

USA

How can kids inform others about persecuted Christians? Send an e-mail, perform a skit, make a bumper sticker, start a scrapbook, design a church bulletin insert, share a Kids of Courage newsletter, pass out prayer reminders, make a poster, or write a poem!

Bita Packs Her Bags
Three-year-old Bita began packing her suitcase. “I’m going to see Daddy,” she said. Bita lives in Iran. She does not understand that her father is in prison for following Jesus and sharing his faith with Muslims. The government of Iran wants Muslims to stay Muslims.

Bita could not visit her father. “Will he come home for my birthday?” she asked her mother. But Bita’s father will probably not be coming home any time soon.

“It breaks my heart that she is missing him so much,” her mother said. “She keeps talking about him and all the stuff they used to do together, like going to the park. Pray that Bita and other Christian children whose parents are in prison will know the love and comfort of their heavenly Father.

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Readers Talk to Us

Question: Some people wonder if young children should learn about persecuted Christians. How would you answer them?

Laura S., a third-grade teacher at a Christian school in Tennessee, replies:

“Jesus was persecuted, as were the apostles. This is our heritage as believers. We cannot ignore it. It is a great calling, and each child born into the household of faith has this calling.

“Should we shield our children from that reality? No. Persecuted Christians are their brothers and sisters in the kingdom of God. I want us to train our children to pray for those in need, and to care for the widows and orphans, especially those in the household of faith.”

What Do You Think?


Ten Bold Believers Stories from 2008

Ruth

1. Uzbekistan: Student Prays for Teacher Who Threatened Her
Ruth and her family have been through many years of struggle. People in their town make fun of them for their faith in Christ. “Please pray for me,” Ruth wrote in a 2008 e-mail to a VOM worker. “At school the teacher asked me to tell about the ancient Greek gods. I said, ‘There are no gods. There is only one God.’

“The teacher said to me, ‘Be quiet. And quit telling your fairy tales at school or I will take you to the principal and you will be expelled.’”

Ruth’s e-mail continued, “I feel sorry for the teacher. She is a good person, but she does not know that Jesus loves her. She has her own children. I wish I could tell them stories from the Bible. Please pray for my teacher.”

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Comparing Muslims and Christians in Two Countries

Muslims
Christianity
Number of believers in Afghanistan More than 2 million (Source: Operation World 21st Century Edition) About 3,000 (Source: Operation World 21st Century Edition)
Number of believers in the U.S. Over 4 million (Source: Operation World 21st Century Edition) More than 230 million (Source: Operation World 21st Century Edition)
Number of mosques and churches in Afghanistan Mosques: 48,000 Churches: 0
Number of mosques and churches in the U.S. Mosques: A 2001 study showed there were 1,209 mosques in the U.S. Churches: Approximately 300,000 (Sources include: The World Almanac and Book of Facts and Washington Post)
Beliefs and Practices Although more than 95 percent of the people in Afghanistan are Muslims, many combine Muslim beliefs with traditional folk religion. Folk Muslims often trust in magic, charms, superstitions and powers other than God. More than 80 percent of the people in the U.S. are Christians. About 44 percent of them read the Bible once a week or more. About 43 percent agree strongly that the Bible is accurate in all its teachings. (Source: Barna Research)
Salvation Muslims believe human beings are born sinless. Since they are not fallen by nature, they do not seek a Savior. Without a Savior, they depend on their own good works to please Allah, whom they worship. They hope Allah will let them into paradise when they die if they have done more good works than bad works, but they can’t be sure. “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned” (Romans 5:12). “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8,9). (See also John 3:16.)

Laos: U.S. Student Visit

Laos

Obstacles
In Laos, the official language is Lao, but more than 90 different languages are spoken. With all the different languages, teaching people about Jesus can be very difficult!

Two groups of people who speak different languages are the Khmu and the Hmong (pronounced “kmoo” and “mong”). We praise God that many Khmu and Hmong people are following Jesus! But others are animists. Animists believe that spirits are in everything, and they fear the spirits. They do not understand, or have not been told, that the truth of the gospel sets people free from fears. (See John 8:32 and 1 John 4:18.)

The communist government of Laos tries to control the spread of the gospel. Christians are sometimes put in prison, just for believing in Jesus.

How will those who don’t know Jesus in Laos find out about Him with so many obstacles to the spread of the gospel? God is making ways.

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