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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

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.


More About Pastor Shestakov

A previous post told about Pastor Dmitri Shestakov’s time in prison for his Christian activities.

Pastor Shestakov recently told a VOM worker about letters he received in prison from Christians around the world.

“The letters that you wrote…that was fantastic, because the prison was getting sacks full of letters. And when another sack was carried in, everybody knew that the letters were for [me]….

“I remember very well what happened when the first sack of letters came. The head of the security department called me in. He was in shock. I saw the letters scattered around the entire office. I myself was shocked. He was looking at the addresses of the senders: America, Australia…. He yelled at me, ‘Who are these people?’

“I said, ‘These are my brothers and sisters.’

“’Why are they writing to you?’

“I said, ‘I don’t know. They are praying for me.’

“’Tell them to stop writing.’

“I said, ‘How can I stop them?’

“They did not give me any letters to read…. When another sack of letters would come, they would call me in and yell at me. But after that, they did not beat me as much as they used to before the letters began arriving. They began speaking with me more politely.”

(Source: The February 2014 The Voice of the Martyrs newsletter)

Through VOM’s Prisoner Alert website, readers sent Pastor Shestakov 6,274 letters.

To Discuss and Do

  • Go to www.PrisonerAlert.com, Remember the name of one prisoner who is still in prison for his faith, and pray for him or her today. Ask someone to help you use the information on the site to write to a prisoner.
  • Watch a video of Pastor Shestakov.

Uzbekistan Update

ShestakovThe Shestakov family

Dmitri Shestakov spent four years in prison in Uzbekistan for his Christian work. Pastor Shestakov has three daughters: Vera, Masha, and Sasha.

You can find previous posts about his family in the following stories:

Pastor Shestakov recently told a VOM worker about some of his experiences in prison. “[My wife] came to visit me, traveling a thousand kilometers [about 620 miles] even for very short visits when all we could do was talk through the phone separated by the thick glass wall.

“She brought food and other needed items, but most important, she brought with her memorized passages form the Scriptures. I did not have a Bible there. It was a blessing, a huge blessing.”

(Source: February 2014 The Voice of the Martyrs newsletter.)

To Discuss and Do

  • What did Pastor Shestakov say was the more important thing his wife brought him in prison?
  • Find a Bible verse you would share with a prisoner if you could visit him, and memorize the verse.

Oregon Kids Write to Prisoners

Letter writing

Glenn Culbertson, an Area Representative for The Voice of the Martyrs, recently reported on his visit to a Christian school in Oregon. “I was invited to a Christian grade school class, third and fourth graders, at Horizon Christian School, Culbertson reported. “Their teacher invited me to introduce them to the persecuted church.

“So I showed the video of Salavat. We briefly discussed what we might want to say to him.

“Then they went to work writing letters to people from the Letter Writing Kit. It was very easy to use the kit! And when they were all done, the teacher collected them all. They took them to a nearby letter drop outside the school and dropped them one-by-one in the mail. (I had already supplied international postage.)”

For more information about other Christians in Uzbekistan where Salavat lives, download Bold Believers in Uzbekistan from the free Downloads section of this site.