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Yousef’s Journey

Yemeni Muslims

Trouble at School
Yousef, his parents, and his younger brother lived in Djibouti, an African Muslim country where Christians are sometimes persecuted. Yousef was the only Christian in his school. Ibrahim, his father, told Yousef’s teacher that he did not want Yousef to pray the daily Muslim prayers. But the teacher said Yousef would have to join the class in reciting the prayers, because the school was a Muslim school.

Scary Phone Calls
Then, on the morning of his 17th birthday, Yousef got a phone call. “Today is your birthday,” the mysterious caller said. “And we don’t want you celebrating with unbelievers.” (When the caller said “unbelievers,” he meant non-Muslims.) Yousef thought it was just a prank call, and he left for school.

At about noon, Yousef’s mother, Fatima, answered a call from Yousef’s phone. A strange voice said, “Your son is dead.” Fatima and Ibrahim were devastated. But then at about 6 that night, Yousef called them! He was alive!

More Moves
Violent Muslims had kidnapped Yousef and flown him to Yemen, where Yousef’s family used to live. The family had converted from Islam to Christianity, but had left Yemen to avoid persecution. (Islam is the religion of Muslims.) The kidnappers tried to convince Yousef to return to Islam, but he would not.

After the kidnappers released him, he and his family moved again — this time to Ethiopia. Ibrahim now shares the good news of Jesus with Yemeni refugees in several countries. Yousef earned a degree in biblical studies, and he is studying social media so he can share the gospel online. He helps his dad work with Yemeni immigrants in Egypt.

Yousef’s family has been on a long journey since deciding to follow Jesus, but they believe it’s worth it. “The purpose of all of this is for Jesus to be glorified,” said Ibrahim. Please pray for the family to reach more Yemenis for Christ.

(Source: The August 2019 The Voice of the Martyrs magazine. Edited for length, clarity, and age appropriateness)


This Month: Overcoming Fear

Parents and Teachers

The August 2019 issue of The Voice of the Martyrs magazine tells stories of Christians who have overcome their fear of persecutors and enemies with God’s help and by His grace.

The issue features stories about Christians facing Islamic extremism in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, and Egypt. You can share stories of Christians in these countries from the magazine and this site with your children, then pray together for the people in the stories.

Related Resources
* To subscribe to the free monthly The Voice of the Martyrs magazine, visit the subscription signup page.
*The Voice of the Martyrs Global Prayer Guide includes information about Christians in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, and Egypt.
*Restricted Nations: Egypt is available at vombooks.com.
*Download Bold Believers activity books for kids that highlight Egypt, Syria, and Iraq here.
*Find a lesson plan for Egypt here.
*Watch video clips about refugees from Syria and Iraq here and here.


Light from Heaven, Part 2

The previous post told about a Christian man who entered a mosque in Turkey hoping to find someone with whom he could share the love of Jesus. The man was from Yemen, and he longed to talk to a Muslim from his homeland. While he sat in the mosque, a Muslim man suddenly ran up to him.

Read the rest of the story below, as it was told by Dick Brogden to Todd Nettleton on VOM Radio.

(Source: VOM Radio. Edited for length and clarity.)

Dr. Brodgen: The Muslim man greeted the Christian in Yemeni Arabic! “Will you come with me to the women’s section?” the Muslim man asked. “My wife and I want to ask you a question.” [Traditionally, men and women worship in separate sections in many mosques.]

After they greeted the wife, the Muslim man said to the Christian, “Some time ago, my wife and I both had the same vision. In the vision, we both saw you in this mosque and light was coming down from heaven. The light was shining into you, then out of you and into us.

“I have to work,” the Muslim man continued. “So I told my wife to come to the mosque every day and look for you. I told her to call me when you showed up.

“Today she came to the mosque just as you were standing up to leave. She prayed, ‘Oh God, don’t let that man leave.’ You fell back down to the carpet, and here you are. So please, tell us what these things mean.”

The Christian man went to the couple’s apartment and shared the gospel with them all night long. In the morning, the Yemeni Muslim man and his wife gave their hearts to Jesus.

To Talk About
In a mountain village in Romania, an elderly carpenter prayed that God would allow him to lead a Jewish person to Christ. He was not able to leave the mountain, so he prayed that God would send a Jew to him. Then a Jewish couple, Richard and Sabina Wurmbrand, arrived in the village so Richard could recover from tuberculosis.

God answered the carpenter’s prayer, and the Wurmbrands trusted Christ as their Savior. Later, after they suffered persecution for their new faith, they started The Voice of the Martyrs to help persecuted Christians.

They carpenter prayed that he would lead a Jewish person to Christ, and the Yemeni Christian prayed that he would be able to share the good news of Jesus with someone from his own country. Both prayed for a long time, and God answered their prayers.

Will you ask God to lead you to those He wants you to talk to about Jesus, and to prepare you to talk to them in a way that will help them understand God’s gift of salvation?


Light from Heaven

In the previous post, missionary Dick Brogden talked about bearing fruit by abiding in Jesus. During Dr. Brogdens’ visit to VOM Radio, he also told the story of a man at a mosque who was used by God to bear fruit for His kingdom. (A mosque is a building where Muslims worship.)

Read Dr. Brodgen’s story below.
(Source: VOM Radio. Edited for length and clarity.)

Dr. Brodgen: The destruction in Yemen is greater than in Syria. But it doesn’t get as much media attention. It is a country that is completely devastated. A young man and his wife fled the devastation and went to Sweden.

In Sweden, the couple came to know Jesus. They joined a radio ministry that broadcast gospel messages back into Yemen. Then they went to a conference in Turkey for a few days. After the conference, the man stayed behind in Turkey, hoping to meet other people from Yemen.

He walked through the streets of the city for three days, looking for someone from Yemen to share the gospel with. On the last day of his visit, he was discouraged. “I’ll just go into the mosque,” he thought. It wasn’t the usual time of Muslim prayer, but he took his Bible, walked into the mosque, and sat in the middle of the carpet. [People traditionally sit on the floor at mosques.]

He opened his Bible and began to read it. Nothing happened. So he closed his Bible, stood up, and prepared to leave. But something forced him back to the ground, and he got worried. He couldn’t move. Suddenly a Muslim man ran up to him.

Read the next post to find out what happened after that.


What’s Happening in Yemen?

Window in Yemen

Yemen
Yemen is south of Saudi Arabia on the Arabian Peninsula — the largest peninsula in the world.

Religion
More than 98 percent of the people in Yemen are Muslims.

Problems
The people of Yemen are suffering because of a war in their country. Many are now homeless. Thousands have become sick because of a lack of food, water, and good health care.

Christians
People who leave their Muslim faith to follow Jesus are persecuted by their families and neighbors, and by the government. It is believed that there are a few thousand secret Christians in Yemen. Christians can be arrested if they try to lead Muslims to Christ.

To Talk About
In our country, we are free to let other people know about our faith. Do people around you know you are a Christian? If you decided to be a secret Christian for one day, what would you have to change about your life to keep your faith a secret?

Colorful Windows
Many traditional houses and buildings in Yemen have stained glass windows over doorways and in other places.

Window in Yemen

You can make a “stained glass window” using an 8 ½ by 11 piece of white paper.

*Fold the paper in half lengthwise and, crease the paper along the fold.
*Fold the paper in half lengthwise again, and crease.
*Unfold the paper and repeat, this time folding the paper widthwise.
*Unfold, and draw over each fold line with a black crayon or marker.
*Use a pencil to further divide each shape formed by the black lines. Draw over the pencil lines with the black crayon or marker.
*Color in all the spaces on the page with bright colors.
*Cut the paper so that the top of the page is rounded. If desired, tape the page to a sunny window.