Pastor Andrew Brunson, author of a new book called God’s Hostage, was imprisoned in Turkey for two years, and he says every single day was a battle to overcome his fear and grief and anxiety. One of those who inspired him in these battles was Richard Wurmbrand, VOM’s founder. In Part 2 of our interview with Brunson, he explains how Wurmbrand inspired him to dance inside his prison cell. He says he didn’t feel joy or happiness, but he set his will to act joyfully in spite of his feelings.
Brunson was also inspired by another former prisoner for Christ (and VOM Radio guest), Dan Baumann, to lock away doubts and questions and choose to leave those in God’s hand. Brunson says he told God from his prison cell, “I don’t need answers to have a relationship with You.”
Listen as Andrew shares how he came to “embrace my assignment” of being in prison for Christ.
Andrew will share about the song God birthed in his soul while he was locked in prison, and how his heart changed over long months in prison to a posture of faithfulness and trust in spite of not seeing his outward circumstances change. That heart change, he says, was his victory over the terrible circumstances and injustice he faced in prison.
Finally, Brunson will tell the story of a letter he wrote to Norine that clearly demonstrated his changed heart as he expressed commitment to drink every drop that the Lord had ordained for him to drink from the “cup of suffering.”
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Pastor Andrew Brunson spent two years in Turkish prisons accused, among other “crimes,” of helping plot a coup against President Erdogan’s government there.
There were very dark days for Brunson, isolated in prison and wondering why God seemed silent in his time of suffering. Listen as he shares how he poured out his frustrations to God, but ultimately chose to lean into God—even if God seemed to remain distant.
Through those dark days, Andrew's wife, Norine served as his pastor and encourager, the only Christian he was allowed contact with. Listen as he tells how she was “heroic” in standing with him in spite of risks to her own freedom.
Pastor Brunson also took strength from the stories of other Christians who suffered persecution. One of those was Richard Wurmbrand, founder of The Voice of the Martyrs and the author of Tortured for Christ and other books. Andrew says he “spent a lot of time with Richard Wurmbrand in prison,” through Richard’s writings.
Andrew tells the entire story in a new book, God’s Hostage, which you can order here (affiliate link).
Prior to the start of Andrew’s trial in Turkey, his daughter Jacqueline was our guest on VOM Radio. You can hear our conversation with her here.
Gary Lane has been telling the stories of persecuted Christians for decades. As International News Director and Senior Correspondent for CBN News, he’s gone to meet them—he’s traveled to more than 100 countries—and been drawn not only to tell their stories, but also actively serve and stand with bold believers enduring persecution.
A month after 21 Christians were martyred by ISIS on the beach in Libya, Gary went to Egypt to meet the families of many of those beheaded on the sand. When he met these families—just weeks after their loved ones were killed—he was moved and challenged by their strong faith. They told him what an honor it was that their loved ones had died for Christ, and expressed forgiveness to the ISIS murderers.
Gary also served three years on staff at VOM. He’ll share how he encountered VOM workers on the front lines in Sudan and how that led to a cooperative effort between VOM and Operation Blessing—and eventually to Gary serving on VOM’s staff.
Gary will tell about his first encounters with persecuted Christians, and how he transitioned from simply being a neutral observer, reporting on their suffering to actively providing help as a brother and fellow member of the Body of Christ.
Brother Rachid is the host of an Arabic-language television program, answering on-air questions that Muslims have about faith and about Jesus Christ. The first day his program went on the air, Rachid was hoping 10 or 20 Muslims might call in with questions. They received 800 calls in the first half hour!
He knows first-hand the persecution that comes when a Muslim rejects Islam: Rachid’s own family kicked him out when he became a Christian.
Listen as Rachid shares his story of coming to Christ, his family’s rejection and what it meant for him to come into fellowship with other Arab Christians. He’ll also help listeners understand some of the teachings of Islam that directly contradict the gospel message—and advise us on reaching out to Muslims we know.
You can watch a video about Brother Rachid’s testimony here.
September marks the five-year anniversary of VOM Radio, and all month we’ve heard clips from powerful stories God has allowed VOM Radio to share over the past five years. This week: a clip from “Sister Amber,” who was arrested in Tibet. You can hear her entire, powerful testimony here.
This week we’ll meet the pastor of an unregistered church congregation in China. Because of the danger to him for sharing his story, we aren’t sharing his name and you’ll only hear the voice of his translator during the interview.
He’s been detained by police more than 20 times, and he says of course there is fear when police raid his church or come to arrest him. But he’s seen God work through him inside prison cells, including seeing fellow prisoners come to Christ for the first time, and says he’s willing to go back to prison if his being there is part of God’s purpose.
He’ll give an update on the current wave of persecution in China, and talk about why the Communist Party leaders are so afraid of the growth of the church. Finally, the pastor will give specific ways to pray for the nation of China as a whole, and for the church there, including Christians currently in prison for their faith in Christ.
We’ll also hear, as we continue to commemorate the five-year anniversary of VOM Radio, from a man detained inside North Korea—just one of many powerful stories God has allowed VOM Radio to share over the past five years. (You can hear his complete story here.)
Please send me an email when each week’s episode is available.