She Dared to Save the Bibles
Underground church: Christians who must meet and worship in secret because their government doesn't allow them to worship God or study the Bible together.
Re-education: Using all kinds of schemes to force a person to change their beliefs and values. Some call it "brainwashing."
Linh Dao was only ten years old, but she already knew that following Jesus could be dangerous. That's because she lived in Vietnam, where the Communist leaders didn't allow Christians to share their faith with others. Nor did they allow people to read the Bible together.
But Linh's family had a lot of Bibles hidden in their home. Her father was the pastor of an "underground church" that had to meet in secret. He knew that they might all be caught and killed whenever they met together. But that didn't stop these brave Christians, for they loved God even more than their own lives. So they continued to read their Bibles and worship God together.
But the police found out about the Bibles. One scary day, four officers burst into Linh's home. They forced her father to sit and watch while they searched everywhere for Bibles.
Linh loved God's Word. She just couldn't let the officers take all the Bibles away. So, while the police searched her home and questioned her parents, the brave girl hid Bibles in her school backpack.
One of the officers noticed the little girl. "What's in there," he asked, looking at her backpack.
She hesitated for a moment. She didn't want to lie, but if she told him about the Bibles, he would take them all. What should she do? God gave her an answer. "It is books for children," she said.
The policeman turned away. But the four officers had found the rest of the Bibles, and they arrested her father. He was sentenced to hard labor and "re-education." The Communist didn't want him to think like a Christian or to share his faith with others. They wanted him to be just like them a loyal Communist. He had to be "brainwashed." They would try all kinds of cruel tricks to force him to turn from God and trust the government instead.
When Linh's neighbors heard about her father's arrest, they believed he was a criminal. But Linh was proud of her dad. "He is a Christian," she told everyone. She explained that as a follower of Jesus, he had to keep telling others about God's love even when it meant persecution.
Each day, Linh prayed for her father. Finally, she and her mother and sister were allowed to visit him in the prison. But they could only see him through a chain-link fence. Linh looked for a way to get closer to her dad, and found a spot where she could squeeze her little body through a chained gate. Once inside the prison yard, she ran up to her father and hugged him. The guards watched, but they didn't stop or hurt her. God kept her safe.
Afterwards, Linh kept praying that God would use her father to show His love in the prison. He answered her prayer in wonderful ways. Since Linh's family had smuggled him a pen during their visit, her father could write Bible verses on cigarette paper. Soon, the prisoners were passing his "cigarette sermons" from cell to cell.
Many of the lonely men, who had been beaten and tortured, learned to know God and His wonderful love in the midst of their suffering. Instead of "re-education" to be obedient Communists, they learned to love Jesus as their Shepherd and Friend. Satan wanted to destroy them, but God brought a great victory!
The Bible tells us that people who reject God also reject God's people. They don't want us to be different from them. They want to do what they feel like doing, and they want others to agree with them. Therefore, people who love the Bible make them angry:
"I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world." (John 17:14)
"Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you." (Matthew 5:10-12)
Let's talk about it.
1. Why was it dangerous for Linh Dao and her family to tell others about God's love in Vietnam?
2. Many people don't want others to trust God and His Word. That may seem strange, but Jesus explained why. What does John 17:14 tell us about the people of the world?
3. In Matthew 5:10-12, what does God promise those who are willing to suffer with Him?
* The Voice of the Martyrs (November 1998), page 4.
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