Monthly Archives: June 2013

Modern Witnesses: Pakistan

Pakistan flag

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

Our Sunday School teacher taught us more about Pakistan today. It is extremely dangerous to be a Christian in Pakistan. Some Christians in Pakistan have to work in hot, dangerous brickyards making bricks for the owner all day long, six days a week. Even the children and the grandparents have to work to make bricks. Other Christians have to work at very dangerous jobs where what they do every day could make them sick.

The constitution in Pakistan says that everyone has religious freedom, but there is a clause in the law, usually called the “blasphemy law,” that says that anyone who defiles the name of Muhammad or the Quran can be sent to jail for life—or even killed. But many times, the police don’t need any proof to charge someone with doing that and put them in jail. A neighbor, an employer, or even a friend can lie about a Christian and have them arrested. Sometimes it is months or years before they are released from jail. Sometimes, they never are.

There are also some people in Pakistan who intentionally hurt Christians living there. They might attack their church, beat them up, destroy their home, or worse.

But do you know what is amazing? Jesus can’t be defeated in Pakistan or anywhere else in the world. Just like in the Bible, when the people arrested Him, beat Him, and even killed Him, He loved them and forgave them. And He gives His people the courage and the love to do that when they are hurt or even killed. Just like He was stronger than death and came back to life, His love is stronger than any other force in the whole world. He knows that every person needs to know how much He loves them. Even if they have hurt other people in the past, He still loves them.

“Dear God, please help all the people of Pakistan. Please help the Christians who are living in such a dangerous place. Please keep them safe and help them show others Your love. And please help the people who don’t know You yet to know how much You love them and ask You to forgive them, just like You forgive each of us, no matter what we have done. Thank You. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

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

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Modern Witnesses: Oman

Map of Oman-mu-map

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

Our teacher showed us a map of the country of Oman today. It’s a small country that is surrounded by Yemen, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the Arabian Sea, and the Gulf of Oman. It makes up the front of the boot-shaped Arabian Peninsula.

In biblical times, the country was known for its frankincense. The trees that frankincense comes from only grow in a few places—and Oman was one of them! And, lots of people wanted frankincense for different reasons. It was an ingredient in incense. And, many people used it like a medicine.  Frankincense was supposed to make you healthy and fight different diseases.

But, after a while, people stopped using frankincense so much. They found other things to make medicine out of, and they bought less and less from Oman. Oman became a very poor country. In the 1960’s, oil was discovered, but the sultan (who was in charge of Oman), didn’t use all the money he got from the oil to make his country better. Finally, in the 1970’s, his son, Sultan Qaboos, took over. He used the money from the oil to build all sorts of things the people needed—like hospitals, schools, a university, good roads, harbors, and airports.

Sultan Qaboos still rules the country of Oman, and he knows his people need to learn as much as they can about how to run their oil industry. So, he allows experts from other countries to come train his people. And, it takes a lot of men to get all that oil ready to ship out, so he allows guest workers—hundreds of thousands of them—to come to his country to work in the oil fields.

Christians in Oman who come from other countries are allowed to have churches and worship God. Most of the Christians in Oman are experts and workers who have come there from other countries. But, there are very few Omani people who know Jesus is the only Savior. It is illegal for an Omani citizen to believe in Jesus. Anyone who is from Oman who leaves his old belief and follows Jesus can be thrown out of his own family.

Our teacher asked us to pray that the Omani people would understand that when we sin and do wrong, it makes our spirits sick. We need the only medicine that will help our spirits. And, it’s not frankincense. It’s Jesus.

“Dear God, please help every person in Oman to realize that they need Jesus to make their hearts and spirits healthy. Please help the people who know You to tell the Omani people about You. And, please watch over them in every way. Thank You. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

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

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Modern Witnesses: Norbu’s Journey

Bhutan-flag

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

This morning in Sunday School, our teacher told us about the country of Bhutan. There are very few Christians living in Bhutan. We need to pray that God will help many people there hear about Him and learn about how much He loves them. I’m going to pray that there will be many strong modern witnesses who will take God’s love to every mountain and valley in Bhutan. Will you pray with me?

Our teacher also gave us a story to read so we could learn more about Bhutan. It’s not a true story, like the ones we’ve read about Christians who live in other countries, but it is a story about what life might be like for one boy whose father gets hurt while they are on a journey. I put a copy of it here so you could read it to! I hope you enjoy it!

Norbu’s Journey

“Dear God, please help all the people in Bhutan to hear how much You love them. Help them love You and share Your love with everyone around them. Thank You that You love every person and sent Jesus to pay for every wrong choice we make. Thank You. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

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Modern Witnesses: Mother Tongue Pastors

World Watch Monitor May 30, 2013 Assemblies of God church in Tehran

*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 church in Iran that needs our prayers. But first, she said she needed to tell us what the term “mother tongue” meant. What do you think the words “mother tongue” mean?

I wasn’t really sure until she explained it. It’s the language you know the best. When a thought comes into your heart, what language is it in? When you pray or talk to someone you love, what language do you use? That’s your heart language or your mother tongue. Lots of times it’s the language your parents speak that they learned when they were young.

Many people know some words in another language—or even a couple of different languages. Even if your mother tongue is English, you’ve probably heard words like “buenos dias” and “bonjour.” But that’s not the language you know the best, the one you really understand. So for people to truly understand the stories in the Bible, to hear and understand that God loves them and sent Jesus to die for them, they need to be able to hear those stories in their mother tongue, in their heart language.

In Iran, many of the people speak Farsi, which is a dialect of Persian, the mother tongue of the majority of Iran’s people. But the Iranian government doesn’t want churches to preach in Farsi. They want them to only preach in a language that is understood by a smaller number of people. The Assemblies of God church in Tehran, the capital of Iran, doesn’t want to stop preaching in Farsi. They know that all the people in Iran need to hear about Jesus’ love for them. So they kept preaching in Farsi even after the government ordered them to stop.

On May 21, one of the churches leaders, Pastor Robert Asseriyan was arrested and sent to Evin prison, one of the worst prisons in Iran. Someone hung a sign on the door of the church that said the church was closed due to “major repairs” and told the people not to come back.

Pastor Asseriyan misses his family, and he doesn’t know what will happen to him next. The church misses their pastor. The government has said that if the church stops preaching in Farsi, they will consider releasing the pastor.

Now the church in Tehran, and the other churches across Iran that preach in Farsi, have to make a very difficult and dangerous decision. Do they keep trying to preach in Farsi, so that all the people of Iran can hear about Jesus? Or do they stop? Do they stay open or do they close? What do you think you would do?

“Dear God, the churches in Iran are facing a really hard and scary decision. Please help each one to do whatever You want them to do. Help them be wise and brave. Please help Pastor Asseriyan, his family, and his church to trust You and love You no matter what. Comfort them and help them when they hurt. Please help everyone in Iran, no matter what language they speak, to hear about Jesus’ love and understand. Help them each to believe in You. Thank You. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

The facts of this story are based on World Watch Monitor news articles published on May 30, 2013. For more information, please see my Parents and Educators page.

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

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Modern Witnesses: Laos

clouded_leopard

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

Our teacher gave us a story to read this morning about a boy in Laos.  She said it’s not a story that actually happened, like you see on the news.  But, she said it would help us find out what life is like for Christian kids in Laos because it was written based on things that have happened.  I really liked Part One–it’s about a boy named Thao, a buried treasure (that wasn’t such a treasure), a hidden Bible, and strangers finding his village.

When Jesus Came to Laos-Part One

I wonder why Thao’s mom would hide the Bible.  And who could be coming up the mountain?  What do you think?

When Jesus Came to Laos-Week Two

I can’t imagine how I would feel if it was illegal to have a Bible!  What would I do?  Would I still read God’s Word?  Would you?

When Jesus Came to Laos-Week Three

Now Thao he has to escape from a leopard! What do you think?  Does Jesus know where Thao is?  How will Thao escape?

When Jesus Came to Laos-Week Four

When we got to read the end of Thao’s story, it made me think about when Jesus appeared to His friends after He rose from the dead.  Even though they were scared and sad, He went looking for them.  He found them and helped them understand and believe.

Thao and the Christians in his village were so happy to finally have a Bible of their very own!  Even though having a Bible is illegal in Laos, there aren’t enough Bibles for the Christians who want one.  There are approximately 198,000 Christians in Laos.  Some of the people don’t even have a Bible translated into a language they can read and really understand yet.

But, think about this: There are over 6 million people living in Laos right now.  How many of them don’t understand that Jesus loves them and paid for their mistakes so that they can know God and live forever with Him?

There are many things we can pray and ask God to do to help the people of Laos.  Will you please pray that:

1) Each and every person in Laos will hear about Jesus and His love, and ask Him to be their Savior

2) That every language in Laos will have God’s Word translated into a language they can read and understand

3) That God will bring Bibles to every Christian in Laos, and that He will keep them safe as they read it and learn more about Him

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