What is The Voice of the Martyrs?
Pastor Richard Wurmbrand, the founder of The Voice of the Martyrs, was imprisoned for a total of 14 years in Romania when it was a communist country. After Pastor Wurmbrand was released from prison and left Romania, he and his wife, Sabina, started a ministry in 1967 to inform Christians about the needs of their persecuted brothers and sisters around the world, and to help persecuted Christians and their families. The ministry, Jesus to the Communist World, was later renamed The Voice of the Martyrs (VOM).
Today VOM continues to spread the message of the persecuted church and to help Christians in more than 50 countries through the International Christian Association of mission offices. VOM publishes a monthly 12-page The Voice of the Martyrs newsletter, which is distributed to more than 500,000 subscribers free of charge.
What is Kids of Courage?
The Voice of the Martyrs publishes Kids of Courage (formerly LINK International) materials for children ages 5 to 13 so that families, schools, and churches can teach children about the persecuted church. Kids of Courage publications are committed to the following principles:
- Educating students about courageous Christians and countries that restrict Christian worship.
- Encouraging students toward greater spiritual growth by giving them examples of those who are risking all for Christ.
- Providing practical opportunities for students to pray for and aid today’s heroes of the faith.
Kids of Courage materials include the following:
- Bold Believers activity books: Include 40+ pages of stories, activities, photos, and cultural information about one topic or country. Selected titles are free to download on the Kids of Courage website.
- Kids of Courage website (www.kidsofcourage.com): Includes updates that complement the monthly VOM newsletter for adults. Activities and stories relate to information in recent VOM publications. The site also includes an interactive country map and charts comparing Christianity with other beliefs.
- VOMBooks online bookstore (www.vombooks.com): Offers additional publications and DVDs for families and children.
- Kids of Courage newsletter: The Kids of Courage quarterly newsletter was printed from 1996 to 2011. It is no longer published. Selected past issues are available at www.kidsofcouragemag.com, and from the Download section at www.kidsofcourage.com.
Can you teach kids about persecution?
The Voice of the Martyrs is experienced at presenting Christian persecution to children sensitively and effectively, without talking down to them or overwhelming them. Since 1996, feedback from parents, teachers, and children has consistently indicated that Kids of Courage resources are educating and encouraging children in appropriate ways. (Additional feedback is welcome.)
How graphic are the stories of persecution in Kids of Courage materials?
VOM’s Kids of Courage materials convey the struggles endured by persecuted Christians without including graphic descriptions or photos, or age-inappropriate concepts. The emphasis is on the persecuted Christians’ courage, obedience, joy, and perseverance in following Christ.
How do kids react to stories of persecuted Christians?
The Kids of Courage stories and activities help children experience the deeper joys of standing firm for Christ in times of difficulty. They convey the strength and victory of abiding in Christ under all circumstances and help give children the inner strength necessary to help the persecuted without cringing or turning away. Kids generally respond well if given the opportunity to help through prayer or projects.
Non-Christian students are introduced to the Christian Church at its best through stories of persecuted Christians. They learn about a faith that will not disappoint them if they decide to test its claims to the fullest.
Do some kids have adverse reactions to stories about persecuted Christians?
When components of the curriculum were tested at the Kids Conference of a VOM National Conference, some children reacted to stories of persecution by saying, “I hate Muslims.” Subsequent events and conferences emphasized Jesus’ command to “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Pastor Wurmbrand noted, “Jesus fears and hates no one.”
What if some in my church are not sure they want to teach kids about persecution?
With parents’ approval, try using stories and activities from www.kidsofcourage.com or from Kids of Courage publications as the basis for a Sunday school lesson or other kids’ activity. If the parents and children respond favorably, church members may be more willing to consider a KOC VBS.
Does it really work to have one teacher teach about the same country to different classes and ages?
Teachers appreciate having to prepare to teach about only one country. The material is adaptable for all age groups.
Will our church have to order additional materials to put on a good VBS, or is the curriculum enough?
The Kids of Courage VBS Director’s Guide includes everything necessary for planning and directing a VBS for kids from kindergarten through sixth grade. However, if directors would prefer to order VOM DVDs rather than organize skits for the daily opening and closing assemblies, DVDs are available for purchase from VOM at www.vombooks.com. A Resource Guide is included in the curriculum for those who might want to order additional Kids of Courage materials, but they are not necessary to complete the curriculum.
What version of the Bible is used in the curriculum?
Memory verses are from the NKJV translations of the Bible. Directors may feel free to use the version of their choice in the activities.
What is The Voice of the Martyrs’ statement of faith?
We believe the Bible to be the inspired, authoritative Word of God. God is eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His personal return in power and glory. We believe that for salvation of lost and sinful men, regeneration by the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential. We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit by whose indwelling the Christian is enabled to live a godly life. We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost. We believe in the spiritual unity of believers in Christ.
Can the curriculum be used in settings other than a VBS?
The curriculum is designed to be used in a five-session VBS. However, components of the curriculum are suitable for use in Sunday schools, Christian school classrooms, homeschool co-ops, AWANA groups, and kids clubs. VOM has received feedback from leaders indicating that components of the material have been used successfully in those and other settings.
Are churches who use the Kids of Courage VBS curriculum expected to raise money for VOM projects as part of their VBS?
Fundraising projects are not included in the Director’s Guide or Teachers’ Guides as part of the daily presentations or lessons. The Resource & Project Guide offers suggestions for hands-on projects to do to help persecuted Christians, and a description of some projects for which VOM accepts donations. VBS directors and staff may decide if they want to participate in any of the projects as part of the VBS curriculum.
Are the curriculum’s teachings about salvation compatible with the teachings of my denomination?
Several opportunities to discuss salvation are presented in the curriculum. Directors and teachers may use those opportunities in accordance with their denomination’s teachings as they see fit.
Does the curriculum teach or imply that American Christians are persecuted or soon will be?
The topic is not directly addressed, but students are encouraged to be prepared for any difficulties that may arise in their lives. Courageous Christians who stand firm in their faith in times of struggle are presented as examples.
Visit www.persecution.com, and click on “About VOM” to find additional FAQs about the work of The Voice of the Martyrs.