Category Archives: Modern Witnesses

Modern Witnesses: Zafar and Zhang

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*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/.

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Modern Witnesses: Yemen

Yemen flag

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

We learned in Sunday School today about the Queen of Sheba. She came from the ancient land of Sheba, in the southwestern part of the Arabian Peninsula. Today the area of Sheba is part of the country of Yemen. She came to Solomon, asking him hard questions. When she heard his wise answers, she knew he believed in God, and that God was the One Who had made him so wise.

Today, it is very dangerous for many people in Yemen to ask hard questions about God. Many of them are Muslims, and they can be killed if they choose to believe in Jesus. Christians from other countries are allowed to live in Yemen and worship God as long as they don’t tell the Yemeni people about Him. If they do, they can be killed, too.

Many of the women in Yemen must wear veils that cover everything except their eyes. They are hidden away, not allowed to talk to many people. But they are not hidden from God! God knows each and every person who lives in Yemen, and He wants them to know Him, too.

God’s Word is reaching people in Yemen. Yemeni Christians meet secretly and have to be very careful who they tell about their faith in Jesus, but the people in Yemen who know Jesus are growing. I want to pray that they continue to grow.

“Dear God, please help the people of Yemen to ask questions about You. Help them find You and believe in You, even though it is dangerous. Please protect them and keep them safe. And, please help them—and us—to be ready to answer others when they ask us hard questions about You. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

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

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Modern Witnesses: Xinjiang

China-flag

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

Do you remember a few weeks ago when I told you what our teacher taught us in Sunday School about the Uyghur people of China? Many of them live in a region called Xinjiang in northwest China. (You say that word like “SHIN-jyang.”) There is another group of Christians who live in Xinjiang who are Han Chinese.

Because of things that have happened in the history of the Xinjiang region, many of the Uyghur people don’t trust the Han Chinese people. They don’t want to get to know them or become their friends. They think the Han Chinese are only interested in controlling the land of Xinjiang.

This makes life for Han Chinese in Xinjiang who are Christians very hard. They know that Jesus loves every person, whether Uyghur, Han Chinese, or any other ethnicity. But when they try to tell the Uyghurs about Him, most Uyghurs won’t listen.

Can you imagine what it would feel like to have people not trust you or want to be your friend just because of what family or group of people you are from? That must make the Han Chinese Christians feel awful.

I’m going to pray today that God would help the Han Chinese Christians keep loving the Uyghur people and sharing the Good News about Jesus with their neighbors. And I’m going to pray for the Uyghur people, too. Will you pray with me?

“Dear God, please help every person living in Xinjiang to know You and love You. Help the Han Chinese Christians to keep loving their Uyghur neighbors and showing them how much You love them, even when their neighbors don’t always understand. Help the Uyghur people to hear about how much You love them. Help them to listen to Uyghur Christians and Han Chinese Christians and join the one big family of believers that You are making. Thank You that in Your family it doesn’t matter where a person is from or what their ethnicity is. Thank You. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

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

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Modern Witnesses: 10/40 Window

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

This morning in Sunday School we learned about a place called the 10/40 window. That is an area of the world where many people are focusing their prayers and their efforts to bring the light of Jesus Christ to some very spiritually dark places. It’s not just one country but a bunch of countries where people need to hear about Jesus.

According to the Joshua Project, there are 2.82 billion people living there. More people living there, than any other place on earth, have not heard about Jesus or have not learned enough about Him to understand about His love for them. Of all of the cities in the world whose people need to hear about Jesus, the top 50 are ALL in the 10/40 window. It covers about one-third of the earth’s land area, but almost two-thirds of the world’s people live there. Plus, if you were to make a huge list of the poorest groups of people who live in the entire world, 8 out of 10 of them live in the 10/40 window.1

It is often very hard to be a Christian living in the 10/40 window. There are so many places where there are not many churches to go to, places where Christians’ families and friends persecute them for believing in Jesus, and places where it is even against the law to be a Christian or read a Bible. Of the 50 countries where Open Doors says it is the most dangerous to be a Christian right now, 45 of them are inside the 10/40 window.2

Here is a list of the countries in the 10/40 window. I’m going to see if I can find them all on a map and pray for the people who live in them.

Afghanistan Albania Algeria
Azerbaijan Bahrain Bangladesh
Benin Bhutan Brunei
Burkina Faso Cambodia Chad
China China, Hong Kong China, Macau
Djibouti East Timor Egypt
Eritrea Ethiopia Gambia
Guinea Guinea-Bissau India
Indonesia Iran Iraq
Israel Japan Jordan
Kazakhstan Korea, North Kuwait
Kyrgyzstan Laos Lebanon
Libya Malaysia Maldives
Mali Mauritania Mongolia
Morocco Myanmar (Burma) Nepal
Niger Nigeria Oman
Pakistan Qatar Saudi Arabia
Senegal Somalia Sri Lanka
Sudan Syria Taiwan
Tajikistan Thailand Tunisia
Turkey Turkmenistan United Arab Emirates
Uzbekistan Vietnam West Bank / Gaza
Western Sahara Yemen

“Dear God, please help every person living in the 10/40 window to hear that Jesus died for them because He loves them and lives forever now in Heaven. Help them believe in Jesus so they can live forever with You in Heaven. And please help the Christians who live in the 10/40 window to keep telling others about You, no matter how hard it is. Thank You. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

1. www.joshuaproject.net/10-40-window.php

2. www.worldwatchlist.us/?utm_source=opendoorsusa.org&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=(none)

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

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Modern Witnesses: Vietnam

Nguyen Thi Lan-World Watch Monitor 2011-with caption

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

This week, our Sunday School teacher taught us more about the country of Vietnam. We learned a little bit about Vietnam a few months ago when she told us about a brave Christian who is serving God even though it is very hard and painful. Her name is Nguyen Thi Lan, and she lives in Vietnam.

Ms. Lan is an evangelist who shares the love of Jesus with everyone she can. She used to be an official in the Communist Party, but in 2010, she accepted Jesus as her Savior. She began telling people about Him and what He was doing in her life. And fifty people decided to believe in Jesus!

This made one of the villagers, a man named Khoan, very angry. On November 13, 2011, Khoan, his son, and a gang attacked Ms. Lan and other Christians who had gathered for a special service for church leaders at her home.

They smashed and destroyed everything they could. They ruined the motorcycles the pastors use for traveling to the other villages. They destroyed a vegetable garden Ms. Lan needed for food. And, they hurt Ms. Lan and the others who were there.

After the terrible attack, she was taken to three different hospitals, along with two other Christians who had been very badly hurt. But, at all three hospitals, the doctors said she and the others were fine and sent them away. Many times, when doctors in Vietnam know someone has been hurt because of their faith, they will not examine them or help them. On November 18, five days after the attack, the staff at one hospital said there would be no examinations until the next Monday, November 21.

The church leaders made the decision to attempt to take Ms. Lan and the others 1,000 miles south to Ho Chi Minh City. They knew the government hospitals still might not help them, but they hoped that even if they wouldn’t, they would find a doctor in a private hospital in the city that would take pity on these hurting people and take care of them.

With God’s help, they did find a doctor who admitted Ms. Lan to the hospital. The doctor also examined the other two Christians and took care of them. They found that Ms. Lan had a very badly broken bone and internal injuries.

Khoan and the others were not arrested. They promised that if they could, they would kill Ms. Lan if she ever went back to her home.

That was the last story the news reported about Ms. Lan. We don’t know what happened to her after she was able to leave the hospital. But, we know that God knows where she is, and we know that He loves her and will help her be strong. There are some verses in Luke 12 that say:

“Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. I tell you, whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God.” (Luke 12:6-8 NIV)

I’m going to pray for Ms. Lan and all the Christians in Vietnam. Will you pray with me?

“Dear God, please help the Christians in Vietnam to not be afraid. Help them remember that You never forget them. And, please help us not to forget about them, either. Help them be strong and continue to tell others about Your love. And, please help Ms. Lan to completely heal and go wherever You send her. Thank You. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

The facts of this story are based on World Watch Monitor news articles published on November 16, 2011, and November 22, 2011. For more information, please see my Parents and Educators page.

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

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

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Modern Witnesses: Uyghur

China map

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

Today in Sunday School we learned about a group of people who live in China and a few of its neighboring countries. They are the Uyghur people, and only a few of them believe in Jesus. The first thing our teacher taught us about the Uyghurs is how to saw their name. People in different parts of the world say it differently, but the way she said it was “WEE-gur.”

The Uyghur who live in China live mostly in the Xinjiang region in northwest China. (You say that word like “SHIN-jyang.”) The land has many high mountains and a huge desert called the Taklamakan Desert. Many of the Uyghur people grow things like grapes, melons, and other fruits by bringing the water from the mountains down through pipes into the desert.

There used to be many Uyghur Christians in Xinjiang, but a man named Abdullah Khan came in 1933, forced the missionaries to leave, and killed an awful lot of Uyghur Christians.

It is still very dangerous to be a Christian Uyghur in China. You could lose your job if someone finds out about your faith. Your family might throw you out or say terrible things about you. Christian Uyghurs who are old enough to marry and have families have another problem. Because there are so few Christians among them, and they want to marry someone who shares their faith in God, sometimes there isn’t anyone around to meet and marry. Families are ashamed if they have a son or daughter who doesn’t get married, so this can cause even bigger problems for the Christians and their families.

Being a Christian Uyghur can mean something even worse. It can mean being put in jail. The government doesn’t want any of the Uyghurs to be Christian, and they really don’t want anyone preaching to them or telling them about Jesus. In 2008, a man named Alimujiang Yimiti was arrested and charged with telling Uyghurs about Jesus. He has been in prison almost 2,000 days. He misses his wife and his two boys very much. He has been sentenced to serve 15 years in jail. His wife used to be allowed to visit him once a month, but recently the prison officials changed their minds and said she can only see him once every three months.

I can’t imagine how hard it would be to only see my family a few times a year. There are ways we can help Alimujiang, his family, and the other Uyghur Christians in China. We can pray for them every day. And, with a parent’s permission, you could send Alimujiang a letter. The letters encourage Christian prisoners and tell them that people have not forgotten them, that there are people praying for them. You can read more about how to send a letter here.

If you want to learn even more about the Uyghurs, our teacher gave us all a book full of stories and activities to do. She said I could tell you where to find it so you could learn more, too. The book is free from Kids of Courage, part of the Voice of the Martyrs, here.

“Dear God, please help the Uyghurs who believe in Jesus to follow you no matter what. Help them not to feel alone or forgotten. Please take care of Alimujiang and his family. Please let him get to go home to be with them soon. And please help the people in Xinjiang, and all over China, who don’t know You yet to hear how much You love them and trust You as their Savior. Thank You. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

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

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Threatened: Modern Witnesses

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

We’ve been talking about how hard it is for Christians in many countries to worship God the way they want to. Many of them are threatened, attacked, and persecuted because they refuse to stop following Jesus.

This morning, our Sunday School teacher brought a globe to class. We sat down on the floor and looked for all of the countries we’ve been learning about this year. As we remembered the stories we’ve heard and found the countries, we prayed for the Christians and their families. Will you find a map and pray with me?

Bangladesh

Bhutan—A Short Story, Norbu’s Journey

Central African Republic

Egypt—Gamal Abdou Massoud

Egypt, Eritrea, and Ethiopia

India—Adivasi Tribal Christians

India—Ganda Christians

India—Rajasthan

Iran—A Short Story, Yasmin’s Silent Song

Iran—Farshid Fathi

Iran—Mehdi Forootan

Iran—Mother Tongue Pastors

Iran—Saaed Abedini

Jesus—Who He Is

Kazakhstan

Laos—A Short Story, When Jesus Came to Laos

Laos—Hmong

Maldives—Shijo Kokkattu

Nigeria—An Unidentified Woman

Oman

Pakistan

Qatar

Sri Lanka

Uganda—Susan Ithungu

Uzbekistan—Pastor Makset

Vietnam—Nguyen Thi Lan

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