Heb 13:3 Remember those who are in prison as if you were their fellow prisoner, and those who are ill-treated, since you also are liable to bodily sufferings. (Ampl)
1. Turkey: I Want to Belong to Jesus Asli is a Christian girl in Turkey. During the summer, she invited her friend Yildiz to go to a Christian camp with her. Like most kids in Turkey, Yildiz grew up in a Muslim family. But happily, her father said she could go to the camp.
Yildiz heard the good news of Jesus for the first time at camp. Every evening, she called her father and said, “Dad, I want to belong to the Lord Jesus.”
“No way,” her father answered. But Yildiz kept calling, and finally her father reluctantly agreed. Yildiz was very happy. When she went home, she told everyone that following Jesus was the most important thing in her life. Pray that Yildiz will grow in her faith, even if others give her a hard time about it. Muslims in Turkey who become Christians often face persecution from their friends, relatives, teachers, and bosses. Pray that Asli’s parents will come to know Jesus, too.
2. Vietnam: A Letter from Dad
Rebecca and Samuel live in Vietnam, where the government controls all religious activities. Like dozens of other Christian children in Vietnam, they are separated from their father because he is in prison for his Christian activities. The children rarely see their father because the prison is far away from their home. Rachel and Samuel were thankful for this letter they received from their dad in prison:
My dear children, whom I long to see,
I write you some words today to open my heart to you. I wish you good health in God’s hands. I miss you very much. Dear daughter, be a good student. Study carefully literature, English, and math, three important subjects. Remember to teach your younger brother.
I say goodbye for now,
Rebecca and Samuel pray that their father will be able to come home soon.
3. Iran: Risky Questions
Marzieh and Maryam, Christian women in Iran, suffered under harsh prison conditions after their arrest for their faith in Jesus. Officials in Iran discussed whether Muslims who become Christians should be executed by the government. Police raided a house church, arrested the Christians, and took their Bibles. That’s the kind of thing Christians in Iran faced in 2009.
So why would anyone in Iran want to become a Christian?
A Muslim leader gave a speech at a public school in Iran. He said that the kids could write questions on pieces of paper. The students turned in 40 pages of questions. Many students asked questions about Christianity. The students said that their parents believed in the teachings of Jesus more than the teachings of Islam. Muslim kids in Iran want to know the truth, even when the truth is risky. Pray that they will find the truth in Jesus Christ.
4. Sudan: Meat for the Soul
“What does meat taste like?” asked 10-year-old Peter Diing Wol. Peter is an orphan in Sudan. A Christian from America visited the area where he lived. Peter saw the American eating beef jerky that she brought to Sudan with her. He had never eaten any meat, fruit, or vegetables. Peter and many other south Sudanese children lived on corn, rice, and other grains. Muslim attackers from the north destroyed food supplies, leaving many Christians very poor.
VOM and other groups have taken Bibles to the Christians in Sudan. Peter studied the Bible every day, even when he was hungry. The Bible was meat for his soul. “God began to show me in the Bible that Jesus is God’s son, just like I was my mother’s son,” said Peter. “One day, Jesus will come again and take us away from all this evil.” Peter wants to be a preacher someday. He began to teach preschool orphans about Jesus for practice.
Now Peter is a teenager. Christians have provided him and his orphan friends with meat to eat and a place to sleep. Peter has earned a scholarship to go to high school in Uganda, where he will study and prepare to become a pastor.
(Source: Make Way Partners)
5. Laos: Girls Stand Up to Police
Ban is a teenager in Laos. One day, a Christian man came to her village. He told everyone about Jesus. Ban wanted to belong to Jesus but did not know how. The man soon left.
In 2009, a group of Christians came to Ban’s village. They explained how people can come to Christ and follow him. Ban and five other girls accepted Christ into their hearts! They began to study the Bible and worship together.
Ban’s parents were angry. They did not want her to be a Christian. Many people in Laos worship false gods and spirits. Ban’s parents asked the police to stop their daughter from following Jesus. Two policemen and a group of other adults took the six Christian girls to a village hall and scolded them. They threatened to take the girls away from their parents or to put them in jail if they did not stop following Jesus.
The girls did not give up their faith. “We are sinners and we need Christ,” they said. “If we die, we die with faith in Christ and in his ways.” Ban is now living with a Christian friend. She does not know what will happen next in her life, but she trusts God.
6. Indonesia: Muslim Youth Leader Becomes Christian
Arief lives in Indonesia. He went to a Muslim school and learned to be a strong Muslim. Every Thursday, he taught others about the Quran at his mosque. (The Quran is the Muslim holy book, and a mosque is a building where Muslims worship.)
Arief’s mother became curious about the Bible after she saw Jesus in a dream. She and Arief began reading the Bible. After Arief finished Matthew, he started visiting a church. He decided to follow Jesus, and so did his mother! Arief’s stepfather was angry. He kicked Arief’s mother out of their home. He gave Arief and his five younger brothers and sisters a choice. They could stay or they could leave.
All the children chose to go with their mother. Now Arief reads the Bible every day and plays guitar and keyboard at a house church of 40 believers.
7. Iraq: An Eternal Home
Mary, Sarah, and Anna live in Iraq. Their parents used to be Muslims. Then one day, their dad, Ali, watched a DVD about Jesus with a Christian friend.
Ali didn’t really believe the teachings of Islam, even though he was a Muslim. He was glad to find out the truth about Jesus, and he decided to accept him as his Savior.
Since that time, Mary, Sarah, and Anna have had to move around a lot. Their grandfather kicked them out of his house after Ali became a Christian. They were kicked out of their next home after Ali shared Bibles with Muslims. Then the girls and their parents rented a house next to a mosque. When Muslims found out they were Christians, they surrounded the house. Some even stood on the roof. The owner of the house asked the family to leave.
The girls and their parents are happy that they will have an eternal home with Jesus in heaven someday, where no one will force them to move anymore.
8. China: Children “Forbidden to Believe”
Sixteen-year-old Shao Yuji helped plan and organize a summer youth camp for Christian kids in China in 2009. Chinese police raided the camp and arrested 28 kids, including Shao Yuji, and four adults. According to a witness, the police said, “It is forbidden for those under 18 to believe in Christianity.”
The police also took the kids’ cell phones, Bibles, and other belongings they brought to camp with them. They drove the Christians to the police station and beat up the youth. Then they let most of them go. But they kept the four adults and Shao Yuji for several days. For two of those days, they gave the Christians no food or water. Pray that the youth will remain strong in their faith and that the police will come to know Jesus.
9. Pakistan: Chased Away for Reading a Story
Nathan is a tenth-grader at a school in Pakistan. He helps lead a Sunday school class and youth group at his church.
One day, Nathan was reading a Christian pamphlet at school. The pamphlet told the story of Abraham and his son Isaac. Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son in obedience to God. But God spared Isaac and blessed Abraham for his obedience.
A Muslim student saw the pamphlet. Muslims believe that Abraham was commanded to sacrifice his son Ishmael instead of his son Isaac. The student and his Muslim friends were angry. They said that Nathan was insulting Islam by reading the pamphlet. (Islam is the religion of Muslims.)
The Muslims were so angry that Nathan and his family had to leave their home for their own safety and stay with Christian friends in another town. Other Christians in Pakistan have been treated the same way by radical Muslims.
10. Nigeria: Precious and Miracle
Nigeria has one of the highest rates of twins in the world. Precious and Miracle are two of those twins.
The twins have three brothers and a sister. In northern Nigeria, where their family lives, most of the people are Muslims. Christians suffer during attacks by Muslim rioters. The girls’ father died after an attack in 2006. Their mother could not care for all of her children after their father died.
Now the twins live at the Stephen Centre, a boarding school built by VOM in Nigeria. The school provides an education and a place to live for children whose families were left poor after Muslim attacks killed members of their family. “I have learned how to forgive and love others because God loves that,” said Precious, who is now 12. “His will for my life is for good and to give me a future and a hope.”
(To protect their identities, the names of some of the people on this site and some identifying details have been changed. Some of the quotes and stories have been edited and paraphrased from the original sources for clarity.)
This morning very early I was meditating on these words by Hudson Talyor when he was but a young teenager:
"Not many months after my conversion, having a leisure afternoon, I retired to my own chamber to spend it largely in communion with God. Well do I remember that occasion. How in the gladness of my heart I poured out my soul before God; and again and again confessing my grateful love to Him who had done everything for me—who had saved me when I had given up all hope and even desire for salvation—I besought Him to give me some work to do for Him, as an outlet for love and gratitude; some self-denying service, no matter what it might be, however trying or however trivial; something with which He would be pleased, and that I might do for Him who had done so much for me. Well do I remember, as in unreserved consecration I put myself, my life, my friends, my all, upon the altar, the deep solemnity that came over my soul with the assurance that my offering was accepted. The presence of God became unutterably real and blessed; and though but a child under sixteen, I remember stretching myself on the ground, and lying there silent before Him with unspeakable awe and unspeakable joy.
For what service I was accepted I knew not; but a deep consciousness that I was no longer my own took possession of me, which has never since been effaced. It has been a very practical consciousness. Two or three years later propositions of an unusually favorable nature were made to me with regard to medical study, on the condition of my becoming apprenticed to the medical man who was my friend and teacher. But I felt I dared not accept any binding engagement such as was suggested. I was not my own to give myself away; for I knew not when or how He whose alone I was, and for whose disposal I felt I must ever keep myself free, might call for service.
Within a few months of this time of consecration the impression was wrought into my soul that it was in China the Lord wanted me."