Monthly Archives: May 2013

Modern Witnesses: Christians in Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan location

*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 Christians who live in the country of Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan is a country in Central Asia that borders Russia, the Caspian Sea, China, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. There are over 17 million people living in Kazakhstan today; most of them do not believe in Jesus yet.

Life for Christians in Kazakhstan can be very difficult. It can be hard to find a place to hold church services. Two churches used to meet in a conference room at a university over the weekend, when the school didn’t need the room. But the government stepped in and ordered the school not to allow the Christians to meet there anymore, even though the university wanted to allow them to.

Pastors can get in trouble just for praying for someone who is sick. Sometimes the government even insists that pastors get a special license from the government before they can pray for someone to get well. They are often charged huge amounts of money and threatened. Their computers, Christian books, Christian DVDs, and other things are sometimes taken.

The government has tried very hard to control and limit Christian activity in the country. Why do you think some governments don’t want their people to know about Jesus?

Please pray that God would help the Christians in Kazakhstan to be brave and keep loving Him and serving Him. Pray that He would help them to love the people who are persecuting them and that He would help every person in Kazakhstan hear about His love for them and follow Him.

“Dear God, please help Christians in Kazakhstan to trust You no matter what happens. Please help the government to allow them to meet and pray for others. Please help those who don’t know You yet to learn and understand how much You love them. Thank You. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

You can find out more ways to pray for Kazakhstan here.

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

Blogging Through the Alphabet

Modern Witnesses: Jesus

easter_morning

Do you remember a few months ago when our Sunday School teacher first started telling us about the Christians in other countries who follow Jesus and love Him, even though it is very hard? Today, she asked us a question—why do they keep loving Jesus when so many people try to make them stop?

Do you know the answer? I wasn’t sure at first, but when I came home from church and read my Bible, I asked God to help me understand, and He did. I found a verse that says, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us.” (I John 4:18-19)*

Maybe that is the reason. The Christians who are suffering know that Jesus loved them enough to suffer for them when He lived on earth. He didn’t just give them a bunch of rules, He gave up Himself in order to make things right with God. He knew we could never keep all of God’s rules and live a perfect life. So He lived a perfect life for us and died to pay the price that was owed because of God’s judgment.

I think the Christians know, too, that He knows how they are feeling. He knows what it is like to be mistreated, because people mistreated Him. Look and see what I mean—

  • Jesus knows what it feels like to be abandoned and left all alone. Just like Susan Ithungu, whose father locked her up by herself for six months, or Saaed Abedini, who was kept in a prison cell all by himself for a long time, Jesus understands. Part of the punishment that sin brings is that we are separated from God. God is too holy and righteous to allow sin in His presence. But He loves us so much that He didn’t want to live without us. So when Jesus was dying on the cross for our sins, He took all of those sins onto Himself. When He did that, He couldn’t be with God anymore, and God turned away from Him. It broke Jesus’ heart, and “Jesus cried out in a loud voice…My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46)
  • Like so many of the suffering Christians like the Adivasi Tribal Christians or the Ganda Christians in India, or Nguyen Thi Lan in Vietnam, Jesus was beaten and mistreated very badly. “…took the staff and struck him on the head again and again.” (Matthew 27:30)
  • He knew what it felt like to be hungry and thirsty and to not have anywhere to call home where He could rest, like Christians who lose their jobs and their homes because they love Jesus. “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” (Matthew 8:20)
  • He knew what it was like to have friends or family turn their backs on Him and even betray Him. One of His closest friends, named Judas, turned Him in to the people who wanted to kill Him. “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” (Luke 22:48)

They know if they meant so much to Jesus that He was willing to suffer all those terrible things in order to save them, then they need to be willing to suffer terrible things in order to help other people hear about His love for them.

“Dear God, thank You that You loved me so much that You sent Jesus to die for my sins. Please help me love other people enough to tell them about You, no matter how hard it is. Thank You. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

*All Scriptures taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®, Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

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

Blogging Through the Alphabet

Modern Witnesses: Iran

Musical score notes

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

Do you remember a few weeks ago when we learned about Farshid Fathi in Sunday School? He’s a husband and father in Iran who is in prison because of his faith in Jesus. Have you prayed for him and sent him a letter?

Today, our Sunday School teacher taught us more about what life is like for Christians in Iran. This time, she shared a story with us that she wrote about a girl named Yasmin. Yasmin’s family was arrested, and she had to go into hiding because they loved Jesus. Her story isn’t true, it’s not written about someone who really lives in Iran like Farshid Fathi, but it is based on things that have happened to Christians in Iran that have been reported in the news. You can read Yasmin’s Silent Song here.

Let’s keep praying for Christians in Iran, that God would help them be brave and keep them safe.

“Dear God, thank you for the freedom to sing and worship. Please be with and take care of all the Christians who live in places where that is illegal. Encourage them and help them wait patiently for the day when no one will keep them from singing to You. Thank You. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

Blogging Through the Alphabet

Modern Witnesses: Hmong of Laos

A picture embroidered by Christian Hmong living in Laos.  Our teacher bought this at www.christianfreedom.org.

A picture embroidered by Christian Hmong living in Laos. Our teacher bought this at http://www.christianfreedom.org.

A friend of our teacher came to visit our class today.  She told us the story of her family.  She and her family are part of a group of people called the Hmong.  She wrote it on the board and spelled it with an “H” at the beginning.  But, she said you don’t say the H-sound.  It is silent.  So, her people are called the “Mong.”

Her family moved to the United States from Laos more than 30 years ago, when she was a little girl, when communism took control of the government in Laos.  Back then, many of the Hmong were Christians, and they had fought against communism because communism says people shouldn’t believe in Jesus.

Her mother and father moved to the United States.  But, her aunts, uncles, and grandparents all stayed behind.  There are still Hmong Christians in Laos, but there are many Hmong who don’t believe in Jesus yet.  She doesn’t know if her grandparents are still alive or if they have asked Jesus into their hearts.  She wants to visit them and tell them everything she has learned about Jesus.

And, she wants to tell her aunts and uncles, too.  But she knows it could be very hard for them to follow Jesus.  Sometimes in Laos, when someone chooses to believe in Jesus, their family makes them move away from home.  They won’t let them live with them anymore.  She doesn’t know what might happen to her family.

“Dear God, please help the Hmong people, living in the United States, Laos, and everywhere else they are living right now.  Please help them every time they have to move to remember that You always know where they are and what they need.  Take care of them.  Please help them trust You to bring lots of good things out of all their moves.  And, please help the Hmong who don’t believe in You yet to understand and accept You as Savior.  In Jesus’ Name.  Amen.”