Tag Archives: persecution

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

Blogging Through the Alphabet

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.

Blogging Through the Alphabet

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

Blogging Through the Alphabet

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.

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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.”

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Modern Witnesses: Farshid Fathi

Iran map

*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 another brave Christian who is serving God even though it is very hard and painful. His name is Farshid Fathi, and he lives in Iran.

Farshid was arrested on the day after Christmas in 2010, and he has been in jail ever since. He is a Christian and was sentenced to jail because of his faith in Jesus. He has been treated very badly, and he misses his family very much. But he hasn’t given up. He keeps on loving God and telling others about Him whenever he can. Sometimes, the jail puts him in a cell all by himself where he can’t talk to anyone. Even then, Farshid knows that he can still talk to God and that God will never ever leave him alone.

Farshid has a wife and two children who miss him very much. They know they might not see Farshid for many years.

Did you know that there are ways we can help Farshid? We can pray for him and his family, that God will continue to take care of each of them. Pray that they keep trusting God and doing what He says, and pray that many people will see God’s love in them and want to know more about God.

We can also send Farshid letters to let him know that Christians are praying for him and that we haven’t forgotten about him. Check out How to Be a Superhero in Twelve Easy Steps for why sending letters is important and how you can help.

I’m going to pray for Farshid, his family, and all the Christians in Iran right now. Will you pray with me?

“Dear God, please help the Christians in Iran 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 Farshid and his family. Thank You. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

For more information on where you can find Farshid’s story online, please see my Parents and Educators page.

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

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