Monthly Archives: March 2013

Modern Witnesses: Christians in the CAR

Central African Republic location

*If you’d like to read the first post in the Modern Witnesses series, click here.

When our Sunday School teacher told us this morning that she wanted us to pray for Christians in the C-A-R, I thought she meant she wanted us to pray when we were going somewhere. But that’s not what she meant at all (though praying for people while you’re traveling somewhere is a good idea, too).

She said that CAR stood for the Central African Republic. I had never heard of it before, but she showed it to us on a map. The Central African Republic (CAR), is a French-speaking country in the middle of Africa. It’s a small country, just a little bit smaller than the state of Texas, and it is a very poor country—one of the poorest in all of Africa.

It also has had a very rough history of different people and groups fighting for control of the country. That’s what is happening right now, and that is why we need to remember to pray for the Christians in the CAR. The country’s president, President Francois Bozizé, has been in control of the country for about ten years. But several groups of people, especially some of the groups in the northern part of the country, have been unhappy with the way the president is doing things. The groups got together, named themselves Séléka, and started taking over the country. Some of them have better weapons than the military has.

Séléka started attacking people and destroying homes, churches, and businesses. When the group first started their rebellion, they told people they wouldn’t hurt anyone because of their faith. But so far, Christians have been attacked an awful lot, while people who believe the religion that is popular in the northern part of the country, where Séléka is from, haven’t been touched.

Christians in the CAR are very scared. The water and the electricity in the capital have both been shut off, so they are living in homes without light or running water. Also in the capital, a jail was attacked and all of the prisoners were set free, so people don’t know what they will do.

Please pray that God’s peace will reign in all of the hearts in the CAR and that things will work out the way they are supposed to for the country and all of its people. Pray that the people who are hurting Christians will come to understand that Jesus died and rose again, and that He loves every one of them. And please pray that God will be with the Christians, make them strong, and keep them safe.

“Dear God, thank You for showing us how much You love every person by sending Your Son Jesus to earth to die on the cross for my sins and everybody’s sins. Thank You that because You are God, death couldn’t keep Jesus in the grave, and that Jesus is alive now in Heaven forever. Help the people in the Central African Republic, and all over the world, who don’t know about Jesus’ love to know You and trust You. And please work things out in the CAR the way that is best. Please keep everyone safe. Thank You. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.”

The facts of this story are based on World Watch Monitor news articles published on March 27, 2013. For more information, please see my Parents and Educators page.

If you’d like a printable version of today’s story, click here.

a teaching heart Blogging Through the Alphabet

Modern Witnesses: Believers in Bangladesh

Bangladesh map

*If you’d like to read the first post in the Modern Witnesses series, click here.

What is it like to be a Christian in Bangladesh? That’s what we talked about in Sunday School this morning. It can mean many things. It can mean your family could kick you out. It can mean your church building is destroyed. It can mean you are attacked for your faith.

It can even mean you aren’t able to celebrate Christmas.

That’s what happened to a group of Christians in an area of Bangladesh called the hill tracts region in 2010. That is an area in the southeastern part of Bangladesh.

A group of people called the United People’s Democratic Front (UPDF) doesn’t want the people of Bangladesh to be Christians. They told them they weren’t allowed to play music at their church to celebrate Christmas. They said they weren’t even allowed to worship God silently. And Christians at one church weren’t allowed to have a special dinner for the people, even though they had planned on feeding about 100 people for Christmas.

But the UPDF didn’t limit their threats to the Christians. They even threatened the villagers who weren’t Christians yet, that if they allowed the Christians to celebrate Christmas, they would be in trouble, too.

Can you imagine not being allowed to have church on Christmas? How would you feel if you weren’t allowed to go to church when you wanted to? What if someone told you that you weren’t even allowed to worship God silently?

Thankfully, no one can stop us from talking to God in prayer any time we want to. I want to remember to thank God for wanting me to pray and talk to Him anytime, anywhere.

“Dear God, please help the Christians in Bangladesh to be brave and worship You. Help them not to turn away. Please help them keep loving You and serving You no matter what. Thank You for always wanting me to pray and talk to You anytime, about anything, no matter what. And thank You that no one can stop me from praying. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

The facts of this story are based on a World Watch Monitor news article published on December 27, 2010. For more information, please see my Parents and Educators page.

If you’d like a printable copy of today’s story, click here.

For more great resources on Bangladesh, please visit the Voice of the Martyrs website Kids of Courage and download the free book Bold Believers of Bangladesh.

Exploring with Jake is not affiliated with the Voice of the Martyrs or Kids of Courage.

a teaching heart Blogging Through the Alphabet

Modern Witnesses: Adivasi Tribal Christians

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Modern Witnesses: Adivasi Tribal Christians

*If you’d like to read the first post in the Modern Witnesses series, click here.

This week, our Sunday School teacher taught us about a group of Christians in India who are suffering because of their faith in Jesus. They are part of the Adivasi tribe, and they live in the state of Maharashtra, which is in the part of India that goes from about the middle of India westward to the Arabian Sea.

The first attack happened last December. A group of Adivasi Christians met at a church in the village of Tamsai. They wanted to pray and worship God. But a bunch of angry people broke into the church and started beating everyone up—the men, women, and even the kids. They told them that they should pray somewhere else, and they tore up Bibles.

The mob stayed for about an hour, when other Christian leaders in the area came and took the victims to the police. But the police didn’t do a lot to help the Christians, and many of them were very scared. Some of them left their homes and moved someplace else. The villagers who stayed were threatened. The other villagers told them they wouldn’t be allowed to get water at the village well or get firewood. At last, the police started an investigation.

The Christians met again in the middle of January, and this time, they had the police with them. A mob gathered, but they didn’t attack when they saw the police. Later that day, everyone met together and agreed that there would be peace if the Christians agreed only to have prayer meeting in their homes. A peace was agreed on. The Christians would be allowed to get water and firewood.

But the peace didn’t last. The very next day, when three women were getting water, a 12-year-old girl was playing a Christian song on her phone. The villagers were furious! They attacked the women and the little girl.

Can you imagine making someone so angry that they wanted to beat your family up—just because you played a Christian song on your phone? How would you feel if someone said the only place you could have a church service was in your home? What would you do if someone said they wouldn’t let you go the store for the food and water you need because you are a Christian?

Please pray with me that God will help the Adivasi Christians love Him and pray to Him no matter what. And please pray that the other villagers will hear and understand how much Jesus loves them.

“Dear God, please help the Adivasi Christians in India to love You more than anything. Please help and heal the ones who were hurt in the attack. Help everyone who is scared. And please help the police and the other people in charge to work hard to make sure that everyone is treated fairly. Thank You. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

The facts of this story are based on World Watch Monitor news articles published on January 31, 2013. For more information, please see my Parents and Educators page.

If you’d like a printable version of today’s story, click here.

a teaching heart Blogging Through the Alphabet

Modern Witnesses: Susan Ithungu

Susan Ithungu at home -with credit

Susan Ithungu. Photo courtesty of Compass Direct News.

*If you’d like to read the first post in the Modern Witnesses series, click here.

This week, our Sunday School teacher taught us about what life is like for Christians in Uganda. That made me think about the story Noelle and I learned about last year. Do you remember the story of Susan Ithungu?

Susan was 14 years old when she learned how Jesus loves her and died on the cross so that we can be forgiven. Susan said, “I heard the message of Christ’s great love of him dying for us to get everlasting peace, and there and then I decided to believe in Christ…After a month, news reached my father that I had converted to Christianity, and that was the beginning of my troubles with him…”

Susan’s father didn’t believe in Jesus. He ordered Susan not to go to church or listen to the Gospel message. And, to make sure she didn’t, he locked her in a room—for 6 months! He didn’t give her any food or water. He didn’t let her out to see the sunshine. It was terrible!

But, two people knew where Susan was—Jesus knew, and so did her younger brother, Mbusa. Mbusa’s father had told him to never tell anyone where Susan was. But, whenever their father would go away, Mbusa would roast bananas and sneak them to his sister. He also dug a hole under the door so he could slip her some water to drink.

Finally, after months had gone by, Susan’s neighbors got worried because they hadn’t seen her for so long. When they asked Mbusa about it, he was brave and told them what his father had done. The neighbors told the police, and the police came and broke down the locked door. They took Susan to the hospital.

I can’t imagine being locked up like that because I love Jesus! Susan must have been so hungry and thirsty. And bored—what would you do if you were locked up for six months and not allowed to see anyone or go anywhere? I imagine she prayed a lot. And, she knew she was not really alone. Jesus promises to stay with us, wherever we are. Have you ever been in a place where you felt alone but you knew Jesus was with you?

Well, after Susan went to the hospital, she had a very long way to go before she felt good and healthy again. She had to stay in the hospital for over a year! Many other Christians came to help take care of her. Susan said she has forgiven her father, but her father still insists that he will not allow her to be a Christian. She now lives in a house where she is safe from her father.

Susan still can’t stand up straight because of how sick she had become, but she is starting to be able to walk with help. And, she said, “I am now able to handle a pen and write…I am able to sit down for at least one hour, and I hope by next year it will be much better, enough to enable me go to school.”

We can praise and thank God for taking care of Susan, for helping her be strong enough to walk again, and for keeping her safe from her father. We can also pray that her father will learn about Jesus’ love for him and also choose to believe in Him.

“Dear God, thank you for helping Susan to grow strong again. And thank you for taking care of her when her father locked her in a room. Please help Susan, Mbusa, and their father. Help them all to love You and live for You. Please help all the Christians in Uganda to be strong and live for You. Please help us remember to pray for them. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

The facts of this story are based on World Watch Monitor news articles published on August 11, 2011, and January 17, 2012. For more information, please see my Parents and Educators page.

If you’d like a printable version of today’s story, click here.

Modern Witnesses: An Unidentified Woman in Nigeria

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*If you’d like to read the first post in the Modern Witnesses series, click here.

This morning at church, our Sunday School teacher told us stories about how dangerous it is to be a Christian in Nigeria. Nigeria has been in the news a lot lately because people have been attacking Christians and Christian churches a lot—sometimes, every week! I was talking to my friend Noelle after church, and she reminded me of a story she learned about last year.

It happened in June, 2006. A woman in Nigeria met with a group of kids and told them how Jesus had lived with men long ago, and how he had died to pay for all the things every one of us has done wrong, including them. And, she explained how Jesus came back to life, proving he alone is God. She gave the kids some things to read more about Jesus, then she left.

But, as soon as she was gone, some men who had seen her talking to the kids came and asked the kids what she had said. When they heard that she had told them about Jesus, they decided she had to be killed. They don’t want anyone to talk about Jesus as God.

The leaders got hundreds of people to search for the woman. When they found her, they attacked her. But, police rescued her and took her to the police station. The mob threatened to attack the police station, so the police tried to smuggle her out a back door. But, they couldn’t get away. There were too many people in the mob. Three police officers had been hurt. And, the police left the woman behind. The mob killed her.

All this woman had wanted to do was help kids understand how much Jesus loves them. And the crowd killed her, before the police even had a chance to get her name or find out where she was from.

Noelle said it made her cry, to think that the woman died when no one even knew her name. But, we talked about that. And, you know what we discovered? Someone did know her name. Jesus. He says in the Bible that he knows us so well that he knows how many hairs we have on our heads. Nothing happens that he doesn’t know about. And, even though sometimes terrible things happen (like when the crowd demanded that Jesus be killed a long time ago), God makes something good come out of every situation. We just don’t always see what it is right away.

“Dear God, please help all the people of Nigeria to hear about Jesus’ love. Please be with all of your people, and bless them. Make them strong, and give them the love they need to forgive the ones who hurt them, just like Jesus did on the cross. And, please take care of this woman’s family, and all the families hurt by the violence in Nigeria. Thank you that you know everything about each of us, and that no one is invisible to you. Thank you. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

Parents, for more on the news story mentioned, visit my Parents and Educators page.

For a printable version of today’s story, click here.