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Double Country Word Find

Print the puzzle below. Hidden in the puzzle are the names of seven countries where Christian activities are limited in some way. Each country’s name is hidden TWICE. Look for the following countries running vertically (up and down), horizontally (across), or diagonally (slanted): Iraq, China, Nigeria, North Korea, India, Vietnam, Algeria.

N O R T H K O R E A
V I E T N A M A Z Y
N I B C C I N D I A
I I E W H T G S H A
G C G T I I W I C L
E X D E N R N R H G
R E V F R A A A I E
I N D I A I M Q N R
A L G E R I A U A I
N O R T H K O R E A

Vietnam: A Very Long “Prayer”

Bao and his wife, Chau, teach people from 10 tribal groups about Jesus. Most of the people were Buddhists or spirit worshipers before they decided to follow Christ. Tribal Christians in Vietnam face persecution from their families, communities, and government. [Photo above: Tribal Christians in Vietnam]

One day, Bao was preaching to a group of Christians in a house. “The local authorities allow believers to pray,” Bao told a VOM worker. “When you pray, you close your eyes, and it’s OK. They don’t allow you to teach or preach, so while I was preaching, I closed my eyes. That means, ‘I’m praying.’”

But Bao could not read from the Bible or sermon notes with his eyes closed. What do you suppose he did? He was prepared. He had memorized Scriptures to recite in advance to the group. With his eyes still closed, he continued his Scripture “prayer” for almost 15 minutes. More than 20 police officers armed with guns, sticks, and knives surrounded the house, but even then he didn’t stop “praying.”

“By the end of my ‘prayer,’ I felt a gun in my back,” he said. The police took Bao, Chau, the owner of the house, and three deacons to the police station and questioned them. Later they were released. Persecution must take place,” said Bao. “But in my experience, the church grew even though it faced a lot of persecution. The more persecution, the more they grow strong in their faith.”

To Talk About
Why do you think some churches grow stronger when they are persecuted?

(Source: The February 2020 The Voice of the Martyrs magazine. Edited for length and clarity.)

Learn more about Christians in Vietnam in Bold Believers in Vietnam, available in the Downloads section.


What Happens Next?

Every year, The Voice of the Martyrs distributes more than 1 million Bibles to Christians in countries where Bibles can be hard to find. Families, Sunday school and VBS classes, and churches contribute to VOM to support the printing and smuggling of print, audio, and children’s Bibles.

What do you think happens after the Bibles are printed (or recorded) and ready to deliver? “We want to get Bibles to places where no one else is getting them to,” said a VOM worker. How do you suppose the Bibles get to people in hard-to-reach places?

The photo above shows a woman carrying a box of Bibles up a mountain in Burma (Myanmar). It took her about two hours to complete her walk.

The men in the photo below brought boxes of Bibles on their motorcycles to the edge of the floodwaters. Then they unloaded the Bibles and carried the motorcycles across the water. Finally, they left the motorcycles while they returned to haul the boxes on their shoulders by foot across the floodwaters to believers on the other side.

The Christians in remote places of Myanmar and Vietnam are happy to make sacrifices to deliver the Bibles to other believers. They know that without their work and the help of VOM supporters, Christian in their lands might live their entire lives without ever reading or hearing the Word of God.


Vietnam: Finding Happiness in Prison

Prison cell in Asia

The following story is from the Kids of Courage archives.

Silas was in prison. His cell was about 66 feet long and about 16 feet wide. Fifty-six other men lived in the cell with Silas.

“We slept on cement platforms,” said Silas. “In the morning we ate nothing. At midday and in the evening we ate rice. This rice was cooked from moldy, rotten rice. The bowls were never full, and after a few mouthfuls it was gone.”

Silas was arrested because he took part in a protest to bring attention to the problems of some ethnic groups in Vietnam. In free countries, it is legal to protest in public. But Vietnam is a communist country. Government officials can have people arrested for protesting in public.

The ethnic groups want the freedom to worship the God of the Bible. Vietnamese leaders do not want Christianity to grow among the groups. They also do not want the people in the groups to be able to read the Bible in their own language.

Read the rest of this entry »


Beans and Stones

(The story and activity below come from Stef, the children’s publication of SDOK, a ministry that is part of The Voice of the Martyrs’ family of missions. The fictional story is told from the point of view of a boy in the Netherlands, where SDOK is located.)

Yuk, beans again! I have a huge appetite for food, but not beans. I grumble throughout the entire meal. “Beans make me sick,” I say. “So how can they be healthy?” And I grumble that we also ate healthy food yesterday (spinach) and the day before (cauliflower). My mother doesn’t respond at all, so I just keep on grumbling. Later, after reading the Bible, my mother suddenly says, “Because I thought it was such a delicious meal, Stef can choose his favorite dish tomorrow.”

Okay, that’s not a difficult question. My favorite meal is rice with peanut sauce. It is only mid-afternoon the next day when my mother calls down the stairs to sit at the table. Hey, we never eat that early. There’s something wrong. And yes. The table is normally set, but my plate is full of gray and white things. “What is that?” I ask hesitantly. I suspect some weird punishment.

“I’ll explain,” my mother says. “I was so annoyed by your grumbling at dinner yesterday. While I was cooking, I had read a story about a boy who lives in Vietnam. His father was in a prison camp for 17 years because he loves the Lord Jesus. He had to work hard and only got a bowl of rice to eat once a day. To persecute him even more, prison guards sometimes mixed his rice with small stones. If that happened to you, then you would have a reason to grumble.

“So I am giving you this challenge,” my mother continued. “There are small stones and rice in your bowl. Try to eat the rice without eating any stones. Then I will fix your favorite food.”

Believe it or not, but I still grumbled a bit while separating the rice and stones. But after half an hour I got it right: a plate full of rice without stones. I will never admit it, of course, but I thought this punishment was actually pretty good. And about the story in Vietnam? I’m not going to forget it.

To Do
Before you start eating, do you check carefully whether there are any stones in the food? Fortunately, we don’t worry about stuff in our food. Do you know who is concerned when they get their meal? Christians in Vietnam who are in prison. The guards sometimes put stones in their rice, just to bully them.

*Stir a handful of raisins into a bowl of rice or cereal. Pretend the raisins are stones. Then try to eat the food without getting raisins on your spoon or fork.

*To make peanut sauce, stir together ¼ cup of peanut butter, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and 1 tablespoon of soy sauce. (Optional: ½ teaspoon of garlic and ½ teaspoon of lemon juice.) Heat and stir to blend, then serve over rice.