*If you’d like to read the first post in the Modern Witnesses series, click here.
This morning, our Sunday School teacher told us about four men who are in prison because of their faith in Jesus. Their names are Zafar Bhatti, Zhang Huamei, Naser Zamen-Dezfuli, and Gao Zhisheng.
Zafar Bhatti is from Pakistan. He was arrested in July 2012 because someone accused him of sending text messages that insulted the religion of most of the people in Pakistan. He has been in prison more than 400 days.
Zhang Huamei is from China. He and four other ministers were arrested in 2009. A mob of people—including police—had attacked members of a Christian church. When Zhang Huamei and the four other ministers tried to go to Beijing to protest the attack on the other Christians, they were arrested. Zhang is still in jail today. He has been in jail more than 1,300 days.
Naser Zamen-Dezfuli is from Iran. He was a pastor at a church in Ahvaz and was arrested when his congregation met for a church service in December, 2011. In February, 2012, he was allowed out on temporary bail, but in October, he was arrested again. He was sentenced to a year in jail and has been there more than 100 days.
Gao Zhisheng is also from China. He has been arrested and put in jail so many times no one knows exactly how many days he has been in prison. He is a Christian, and he has fought for the rights of Christians in China. He has been treated terribly in prison, and his family doesn’t even know where he is all of the time.
These four men, and so many men and women like them, are suffering because they love Jesus and they want the whole world to know that Jesus died on the cross to pay for the mistakes each of us makes. They want them to know that He came back to life again three days later. So many people saw Him—even people who didn’t believe in Him!
We talked again this morning about Hebrews 12:1. It says that we are surrounded by “so great a cloud of witnesses.” (KJV) It is talking about people who are brave and do the right thing for God, even when it is terribly hard. They keep trusting Him to take care of them. They make mistakes, and they get sad and scared and want to give up. But they hang in there and they live their lives for God. And in the end, they know they will live with Him forever in Heaven.
“Dear God, please help me to be brave and live for You, no matter what happens. Help me trust You to make things work out right in the end, even if things right now seem awful. Help everyone who is suffering because of their belief in You, and please help their families who miss them. Please help Zafar Bhatti, Zhang Huamei, Naser Zamen-Dezfuli, and Gao Zhisheng to stay strong. Please keep them safe and bring them home to their families soon. Thank You. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”
For a printable version of today’s story, click here.
If you’d like to send a letter to Zafar Bhatti, Zhang Huamei, Naser Zamen-Dezfuli, and Gao Zhisheng to let them know you are praying for them, ask a parent if they can help you do that on http://www.prisoneralert.com/.