When more than 20 Christian children in northern Kenya received candy from Muslim evangelists in November 2018, they readily pledged to return to Islam, which predominates their Borana Oromo tribe. But days later, Christian workers arrived with a load of cargo that proved more precious and lasting than sugar — children’s Bibles. Christian workers led five donkeys loaded with children’s Bibles through thick forests and across winding rivers to reach the village of Uran Lataka, near Kenya’s border with Ethiopia. They then distributed copies of the illustrated Bible to 52 children, including many who had recently turned their backs on the Christian faith. As the children saw the Bible stories told through the book’s colorful, dramatic images, they were hooked, and in the days that followed most who had been enticed by the Muslims’ candy renewed their commitment to Jesus. “One of the kids couldn’t stop looking through the pictures of the Bible when he received it, even after reaching home,” a VOM worker said. In addition to strengthening the children who were secure in their Christian faith and re-engaging those less committed, children’s Bibles have also proved valuable to Sunday school teachers as a resource for weekly lessons. After

Read More
Categories: Stories from the Field

When Pastor Arjun, a Christian convert from Hinduism, proposed to his wife, Radha, he made sure she knew what to expect. “I am a minister and have been attacked many times,” he told her. “In the future, you may be attacked. I may go to jail. Sometimes we will have food, sometimes we will not. This will be the life.” Radha accepted his proposal without flinching. “Live or die,” she replied, “I will live for Christ.” Since then, they have been forced to move three times. Arjun has been beaten numerous times and accused of forced conversions, while Radha has been personally threatened and watched Hindu radicals invade their church. When Radha’s parents began arranging a marriage for her when she was in the 12th grade, she made it clear that she wanted to marry a pastor. “I will not marry any other,” she told them. “Otherwise, I will not get married.” Radha wanted to be actively involved in ministry, and she knew marrying a pastor would be the best way to do that. “I had that burden,” she said. Because Arjun had been attacked so many times, Radha’s parents were initially hesitant to approve the marriage. But despite their

Read More
Categories: Stories from the Field

Kan and his wife, Maiah, host children of Christian workers in their home so the parents can continue their work without worrying that their children will be taken as soldiers or brides. After Kan completed seminary in 2009, a friend in Myanmar asked him a pointed question: “Could you and your wife take care of two boys?” The boys, ages 5 and 7, were children of new believers from separate families who were working in the fields. Their parents feared that since they were now Christians, rebel groups would take the boys for use as child soldiers. Families in areas where rebel groups are active are commonly expected to give up a child, and Christian families are often forced to give up all their children as a penalty for being Christians. At the beginning of this century, Myanmar was reported to have the highest number of child soldiers in the world. At that time, an estimated 20 percent of the country’s 350,000 soldiers were children. While boys are recruited by rebel groups and the national military, girls in rebel-held areas can be married off or trafficked into China. Kan prayed about how he and his wife could help the families.

Read More
Categories: Stories from the Field

The Sheikh Who Became an Evangelist The pastor said, “This is Sheikh Semere,” introducing his guest to the believers assembled in a concrete-block church in Ethiopia. “He was a persecutor, and one who wanted to burn churches. I brought him here so you can beat him,” the pastor said jokingly, “because the Bible says you will reap what you sow.” The congregation roared with laughter. Less than two years earlier, a Muslim mob had destroyed their community, killing two evangelists and destroying the homes of 22 Christian families. But instead of fleeing or retaliating, the Christians chose to remain in the area as witnesses for Christ. And when they rebuilt their homes, they painted them vibrant blues and pinks so everyone would recognize the houses rebuilt after the violence. Semere, the target of the pastor’s good-natured joke, represented the very people who had attacked them. As the pastor introduced Semere, he continued using the title the former Muslim had gained as an Islamic scholar. “God has given Sheikh Semere favor,” the pastor said, “and [the sheikh] has done far more after he believed in Christ than the evil he did when he was a persecutor. After he believed, the Muslims

Read More
Categories: Stories from the Field

Like many Christians in northern Nigeria, Alice has suffered multiple attacks from Muslim extremists, but she is not disheartened because she knows that Christ told us His followers would suffer. Though it has been nine years since her husband was murdered by militant Islamic Fulani herdsmen, every time Alice Bulus hears about a new attack, she re-lives the pain of the day he died. “When I hear the sound of a gun, I panic,” Alice said. Alice and her family were asleep when men with covered faces stormed into their home around midnight on Jan. 13, 2011, in Nigeria’s Plateau state. After calling her husband by name, the men shot him as he opened the bedroom door. Alice, who recognized one of the attackers as a neighbor, tried to stop the bleeding as her husband lay crumpled on the floor and their five terrified children cried in the corner. When the Nigerian military arrived in their village about an hour later, they took Alice’s husband to the hospital. But it was too late; he died on the way to surgery. Crisis upon Crisis In Nigeria, they call it a crisis. Attacks by Boko Haram terrorists and nomadic Fulani militants are

Read More
Categories: Stories from the Field