04 01 Newsflashes from the Persecuted Church
India: Special Children’s Bibles Impact Kids for the Lord
For the past 10 years, Open Doors has placed children’s picture Bibles into the hands of thousands of children living in remote regions of India.
First-generation believers make up the majority of Christians in North and Central India, where the church is growing rapidly. Most of these emerging churches are poor, with a shortage of Bibles for adults. Children’s ministries are either very basic or not present at all. Although women and children make up the highest percentage of worshippers at church services, few resources and programs exist for children.
Since 2004, Open Doors has helped fill this need by training Sunday school teachers, providing children’s materials and distributing thousands of children’s Bibles across some of the most needy and most remote states.
“It is a sight to see when a child who has never had his or her own Bible holds a colourful illustrated children’s Bible for the first time,” an Open Doors staff member says. “Bibles in an all text format do not appeal to children due to lack of pictures. It helps to not only create an interest in the Bible, but it is a great tool in teaching them the truths of God’s Word in a way that they can understand.”
But most of these churches cannot afford to buy Bibles. During 2013, Open Doors placed 10,905 pieces of children’s materials into the hands of young Indian children. More than a third of them were children’s Bibles.
“I had no money to buy this Bible and God has provided me with such a nice Bible. By reading this, I will learn so many new things and whatever I learn, I will share with my friends who do not know the Living God,” says Pragyanparimita Behera, a seventh grade student living in a Christian children’s home in Chatarpur, Odisha.
There are many such under-privileged children who have been blessed with a new copy of the pictorial children’s Bible in their own native language through the generous gifts of Open Doors partners.
These Bibles are all distributed in the native language of the area where they are placed.
This project focuses on:
The spiritual need of children to hear the Good News and to discover their part in it.
Making Bible teaching fun, as they discover God’s love together.
Building their faith and trust in God as they step out in their communities.
Pictorially, making the Bible more interesting, understandable and easier for children to relate to their own lives.
In spite of the challenges of remote areas, crossing through dense forests and hilly areas, the Open Doors team has overcome these odds to distribute 3,730 children’s Bibles in 20 different districts and states and their respective villages during 2013, apart from the Sunday school materials and other literature.
One student says: “My name is Chandan Kar and I am studying in grade one. I stay at a Christian children’s home in Chatarpur, Ganjam. My father went far away and left my mother. I am her only son. God opened this way for me to come and study in this home. I am happy and praise God for giving me this pictorial children’s Bible free. I hoped and prayed for one. This will help me to grow in the fear of the Lord. I am very much thankful and give glory to God for His plan. Please keep me in your prayers so that one day I could witness for Christ. Thank you Open Doors!”
Pakistan: Christian Sentenced to Death for Blasphemy – From World Watch Monitor http://www.worldwatchmonitor.org/2014/03/article_3077833.html/
A year after Pakistani Muslims devastated the predominantly Christian Joseph Colony, the man at the center of the controversy has been sentenced to death for blasphemy because of claims that he insulted the Prophet Muhammad.
Sawan Masih’s sentence, handed down March 27, is based on a conversation that occurred between him and his Muslim friend in March 2013. Two days after the conversation, Masih’s residence in Joseph Colony was pillaged by more than 3,000 angry Muslims, who looted and torched Christian homes, shops and churches, displacing hundreds of families.
Masih’s attorney, Naeem Shakir, told World Watch Monitor an appeal is being filed to the Lahore High Court, which must sign off on death penalty cases. He said the conviction was not based on justice, especially since the state has failed to prosecute those accused of destroying Joseph Colony.
Pakistan has never carried out an execution for blasphemy, which it defines as “the act of insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverence for Muhammad.” The ruling was issued on the same day the U.S. released a report naming Pakistan as the leading country for imprisoning people for blasphemy.
(For more information or to set up interviews, call Jerry Dykstra at 616-915-4117 or email [email protected] The Open Doors USA website is www.OpenDoorsUSA.org)