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Spotlight Story

International Day of the Bible

The Bible tells about King Josiah, who re-discovered the words of God. He read the words to all the people of the land to turn their hearts back to God. (See 2 Kings 22-23.)

International Bible Week is celebrated during the week of Thanksgiving in the United States. This year, the International Day of the Bible will be observed on November 24. People will read passages of the Bible aloud in public.

Ask a mature Christian to help you discover a story or passage in the Bible that is new to you. Read the passage aloud.

As you learn more about the Bible, remember Christians in the following countries who could be persecuted if they read the Bible aloud in public. (The list is not a complete list.)

  • North Korea
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Turkmenistan
  • Somalia
  • Eritrea
  • Afghanistan
  • Iran
  • Syria
  • Uzbekistan
  • Qatar

Spotlight Story

A Missionary to Muslims

Arabian PeninsulaA mosque on the Arabian Peninsula

A worker from The Voice of the Martyrs recently visited a missionary from another country. The missionary was led by God to leave his home and travel to a land where the people follow many different religions. He lived in the land with his wife and children. Read below what the missionary told the worker.

The missionary said:

For the first year I was here, I tried to preach to Buddhists, but I failed. The next year I preached to atheists. But I just couldn’t do it anymore. I didn’t have the confidence to reach out to them.

Most of the people in the land are Muslims. But I never thought of reaching out to Muslims because I hated Muslims.

During this time of failing, I read Genesis 12 where God told Abraham that all nations would be blessed because of him. Then I felt touched by the Holy Spirit. I was reminded of the children of Ishmael (Genesis 16) who are the Muslims. I realized that God has not forgotten the Muslims.

So finally I began to reach out to the Muslims despite my dislike for them. I got to know more about them and began to make friends with them.

If you want to serve the Muslim world, you must get closer to them. In the beginning I did not preach to them, but rather helped them at harvest time. I helped them in the fields doing long days of manual labor. I learned their language.

Not Easy Work
One day, after seven years, a Muslim man invited us into his home. “I’ve been watching you and your family for seven years,” he said. “You are not like other people; you are better. In fact, you are better than Muslim people.”

Since that visit, God has blessed our ministry and many in the area have come to know the Lord. But it has not been easy. Some Muslims want to stop Christians. A Muslim leader has told his people, “If there is an ‘accident’ and you hurt a Christian, don’t worry about it! We know how to deal with the policemen.”

The happiest thing I ever experienced was when two Muslim leaders came to Christ.

Sadness
My wife was a full time worker, too, serving beside me. She died three years ago at the age of 41. We were and are very poor. We had no money to pay a hospital when she was sick.

My son has had his ups and downs in dealing with our situation. When my wife was alive we used to ask him what he wanted to do when he grew up. He would always say, “I want to be just like you, serving God in missions.”

After my wife died, someone asked him the same question. “I want to make a lot of money,” he answered. “I don’t want to be so poor.”

But recently when I asked him what he wanted for his birthday, he answered, “I don’t need anything. Just pray for the grace of God to be on our family.”

Please join the missionary in prayer for his family. Pray that they will reach more of the people in the land for Christ.

(Source: VOM contacts. Edited and paraphrased from the original for clarity and security.)

To Talk About

  • Why didn’t the missionary reach out to Muslims at first?
  • What changed his mind?
  • Have your mind and heart ever been changed by something you read in the Bible?
  • What did the missionary’s son want for his birthday?

Spotlight Story

Justin the Chicken Farmer, Part 2

Hen and Chick

Read the previous post about Justin, a teenager from Mindanao, an island in the Philippines. His father died in an attack by radical Muslims. His story continues below.

Living on the Chicken Farm
Two years later, someone came and saw our difficult situation. He told us there was a pastor somewhere who cared for children who could no longer live at home. He said I could live there, too.

At first I didn’t want to go. I thought I needed to find work to take care of my mom and my little sister, Genevieve. But later I changed my mind. I decided going to school was more important, so I went with him. I was 10 years old.

I lived in the house of the pastor’s daughter and son-in-law. They had a chicken farm. They take good care of me and are raising me. So I take care of the chickens.

Since I left, I’ve only seen my mom and sister once in six years. They live in a difficult area, and it is hard for me to go there. I can’t call them; they don’t have a phone. I miss them very much.

Thankfully their pastor visits the chicken farm every once in a while, and I get to hear how they’re doing. Sometimes I get letters from them.

Nice Memories
I still think a lot about my dad and sometimes I get sad. But sometimes I get happy because I have nice memories of him.

When I’m struggling, I ask God for help. I like to read the Bible, too. The best part of the Bible for me is Psalm 23. You most likely know it — “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” Then I know that God takes care of me even better than I take care of the chickens.

To Think About
What did Justin have to leave behind to move to a safer place where he could go to school? What does Justin do when he is sad about his situation? What do you do when you are sad or scared?


Spotlight Story

Mindanao: Justin the Chicken Farmer

Hen and Chick

The following story comes from Stef, the children’s publication of SDOK, The Voice of the Martyrs’ sister mission in the Netherlands. (Translated and edited from the original.) The story is told by Justin, a teenager from Mindanao, an island in the Philippines.

Justin’s Story
Do you like chickens? I do. I have a lot of them. Well, I take care of a lot of them — and also turkeys — in the orphanage where I live.

Why do I live in an orphanage? I’ll tell you why. But first let me properly introduce myself.

I am Justin, and I live on Mindanao, a large island in the Philippines. I like chickens, but I also like listening to music. And besides being a chicken farmer, I am also the handyman in the church. So I am very busy.

Of course I go to school every day, too. I go on a “tricycle.” It’s a motorcycle with a little shelter built on top where they can fit a lot of people. Here on Mindanao almost everyone uses a tricycle to get anywhere.

Why I Came Here
I came from a different place on the island of Mindanao. The area where I used to live is quite dangerous. Christians’ villages and homes there are attacked by armed “rebels.” They attack Christians because they think they whole island should belong to Muslims. So they want to take houses and land from the Christians.

Our village was attacked several times. We had to run for our lives.

When I was 7, something very bad happened. My dad died. He worked in the fields as a farmer. He was also a helper for the village leader (like a mayor). The rebels were fighting against the leader.

One day the leader drove through the rebel area. Rebels exploded a bomb under his car. The leader, my dad, and another person died.

Angry
At first, when my dad died, I was very angry toward the Muslims who did it. I couldn’t think of anything else every day. “When I’m bigger, I’ll get revenge,” I thought. I wanted to become a soldier and fight them. But things turned out differently.

Life was very hard for my mom. We had hardly any money for food or other things.

Justin’s story will be continued in the next post.

Photo credit: Bin Gregory / Flickr (bingregory) / Wikipedia / CC BY 2.0


Spotlight Story

Stef’s Riddle

Give Thanks

The story below comes from Stef, the children’s publication of SDOK, The Voice of the Martyrs’ sister mission in the Netherlands. The story is told from the point of view of a boy in the Netherlands.

Boredom
I’m bored and not just a little bit. My sister is doing something only girls like, my dad is at work, and my mom has been cleaning the attic for hours. When I see the mess in the attic, I don’t think she will have time for me the rest of the week. But I’m going to try.

“Mom! I’m bored!” I yell. “Good!” Mom answers from behind a stack of rubbish. “You have time to think about God!”

Booklet
I must look puzzled. Mom is laughing and flipping through a booklet. Ah, that’s why cleaning takes so long.

It is a booklet about kids who say special things about God. She hands me the booklet and points to a story that tells what a dad said to a kid who was bored.

Riddle
The dad told the kid a riddle. I have heard the riddle somewhere before, but I am curious about the answer, so I read the story.

The riddle goes like this: A man on a river bank has a wolf, a lamb, and a cabbage. He wants to get them safely on the other bank. He is only allowed to take one at a time in his boat.

If he takes the wolf first, the lamb will eat the cabbage. If he takes the cabbage first, the wolf will eat the lamb. He could take the lamb first, but on the next crossing, he will have to take either the wolf or the cabbage. In both cases, one of the objects would be eaten on the other shore unless the man stayed with them to prevent it.

A girl in the book offered this solution to the riddle: “We should pray for Jesus to return, because when He does, the wolf and the lamb will be friends (Isaiah 11:6). The cabbage will be safe, too, because the kingdom of God is not a matter of food and drink (Romans 14:17).

I think the girl had a good answer. I read it out loud to mom.

“Indeed,” Mom says. “Hopefully it will happen soon, and then there will be no more sad things like the kidnapping of girls in Nigeria and people put in prison in North Korea.”

Being Bored Is Good
Mom and I are quiet together. Then Mom says, “I’m glad you are bored. Now we have time to think about God together.”

(Sources: SDOK, From the Lips of Children by Richard Wurmbrand, available from The Voice of the Martyrs. Preview is recommended before sharing the book with children.)

Note: The answer to the riddle is as follows. On his first trip across the river, the man takes the lamb. The wolf and the cabbage stay behind. The man returns alone and takes the cabbage on his second trip across. He leaves the cabbage and puts the lamb back in his boat. He takes the lamb back, leaves it, and picks up the wolf. He leaves the wolf across the river with the cabbage, and returns and gets the lamb. Soon all three are safely with the man on the opposite shore.


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