Short highlights from Christians around the world
For ten years, Shakir heard his Christian friend and his Muslim friend discuss, debate and argue about their different faiths. Shakir tried to ignore their discussion; he didn’t want to get involved. After all those years, Shakir was shocked when his Muslim friend told him that he had become a Christian. Shakir urged him to reconsider and return to Islam—but as his friend shared about the things that led him to follow Christ, Shakir himself began to consider that Jesus might indeed be the Way, the Truth and the Light.
Brother Shakir struggled to grasp the idea that God would come in flesh, show himself and save from sin. Comparing the principles of Islam against the Bible revealed the character of God to Shakir and the truth of God’s Word. Seeing in the Bible Christ’s personal display of God’s love ultimately led Shakir to follow Christ.
“That day I was saved,” Shakir said, “I was free, and I was really happy and filled with the Holy Spirit.”
Just like Shakir tried to sway his Muslim friend back to Islam, friends and family tried to convince him to renounce his faith. The most difficult pressure came from Shakir’s own mother. Shakir remembers her demanding, “Me or Christ. You have to choose.” Shakir did not deny Jesus.
Today, Shakir knows those he witnesses to and leads to Christ will face trials. New believers are encouraged by hearing the experiences of persecuted Christians like Shakir; their stories prepare young-in-faith Christians to stand up under pressure and persecution.
Shakir also shares how we can pray for the church in North Africa, and for his family and ministry.
During the month of December, when you make a donation to support persecuted Christians like Shakir, you will receive a FREE 2024 VOM Prayer Calendar.
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Pastor Raymond Koh was forcibly abducted on February 13th, 2017 in a military-style operation that took less than 40 seconds. Almost seven years later, he’s still missing. His car has never been located.
Raymond’s wife, Susanna, has filed a lawsuit to force the Malaysian government and leaders of the police to release all information about what happened, and hopefully hold the kidnappers accountable for their actions.
Listen this week to an interview with Susanna recorded two years after Raymond’s abduction. Hear how she found out her husband was missing, and how the police turned her missing person report into an opportunity to interrogate her about the Christian work and gospel outreach she and Raymond were involved in.
Raymond had been threatened before for his faith and gospel work, yet he continued to follow God’s plan for him. Susanna says in the months before the abduction she saw a deepening of Pastor Raymond’s spiritual walk. He memorized large sections of God’s Word, went on long prayer walks and preached the gospel with renewed passion and intensity.
Susanna is very honest as she shares raw emotion, grief and pain. But she also says God’s promises have uplifted her—as have Christian songs. She and her family have even been able to forgive those who kidnapped her husband.
Pray for Susanna and the Koh family as they await the next hearing date in her lawsuit. Pray for wisdom for the judge, and that the truth of who was behind Raymond’s abduction is revealed.
Susanna was one of four courageous women of the persecuted church who shared their stories as part of the Hearts of Fire Virtual Event from The Voice of the Martyrs. You can register and watch the event online.
Never miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe to the podcastOr you can listen each week—and get daily reminders to pray for persecuted Christians—in the VOM App for your smartphone or tablet. You can give online to support VOM’s ministry to persecuted Christians here.
Susi Childers has served with Youth With A Mission (YWAM) for more than two decades, using her photography skills to open doors to communicate the love of Christ to people all over the world.
Listen this week as Susi describes the impact of Loren Cunningham, YWAM’s founder who recently graduated to heaven, on her life and on encouraging her to use her gifts more fully to further the gospel. She’ll also share some of the personal qualities that made Loren such an impactful and visionary leader.
Susi will also share highlights from a recent trip to Nigeria, where she ministered to widows of Christians killed in northern Nigeria by Boko Haram or by Islamist militants from within the Fulani tribe. With more than 223 million people, Nigeria is the most populous country on the African continent. It is also a young country: 70% of the people are under 30. Susi believes that reaching the people of Nigeria with the gospel can be a key to reaching millions more all across the African continent.
A YWAM training school in southern Nigeria is a refuge for widows and orphans, providing them with a place to heal, as well as six months of training and discipleship. Many of the widows desire to go back to northern Nigeria, in spite of the loss they suffered there, to advance the gospel and live out their faith in Christ.
With her camera in hand, Susi went to visit and meet the widows and their children. Night after night, she awakened to hear singing and found, in the wee hours of the morning, these women gathered to read the Bible and pray for their persecutors.
“It was a holy place,” Susi said. “God hears the suffering of each individual day and night. He’s challenging us to carry a little piece of His heart.”
Listen as Susi shares how God led her to take donated jewelry with her on this visit to Nigeria, and how God used that jewelry to remind these widows of His abiding love for them. Susi and her husband, Paul, have both previously been guests on VOM Radio.
Never miss an episode! Subscribe to the podcastOr you can listen each week—and get daily reminders to pray for persecuted Christians—in the VOM App for your smartphone or tablet. You can give online to support VOM’s ministry to the persecuted church here.
Listen as Pastor Joe shares the struggles many new Christians in North Africa face when they believe in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Yet, people in the region are coming to Christ like never before!
Christians in North Africa often pay a huge price for following Christ. They are rejected by family, lose jobs and face other forms of persecution when they tell others of their faith in Jesus. Many of these persecuted Christians don’t know how each day will end. They rely on the Lord for strength and hope, despite their fear.
Listen as Pastor Joe shares the story of a young woman in his congregation who was overjoyed to share her new faith with her family. But when she did, she was beaten and thrown into the streets. Her own mother told her, “I would rather know that my daughter became a prostitute than a Christian.”
Pastor Joe encourages listeners to not flee from danger and potentially miss blessings and service that God has planned for us. He reminds us that Jesus came to earth knowing He would suffer. He says that, as a Christian, we should also know that persecution will come.
Hear the story of one young man who encouraged other believers until the final moments of his life. In addition, Joe shares of a married couple who kept their faith a secret from each other—until they ran into each other at a Christian meeting!
Pray God would call believers in North Africa to stay in their communities and serve. Pray Pastor Joe and his family will remain faithful to the Lord and His calling on their lives and for continued protection over their ministry.
Never miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe to the podcastOr you can listen each week—and get daily reminders to pray for persecuted Christians—in the VOM App for your smartphone or tablet. You can give online to support VOM’s ministry to the persecuted church here.
“I could’ve lived and worked in that country my whole life and not seen the fruit that we are seeing now.” That fruit was planted in sacrifice.
From the time she was a little girl, Jane wanted to live overseas to spread the gospel. When she met her husband, he had the same missions mindset and a heart for Muslims after he was impacted by 9/11. Jane says her husband enjoyed living in the Middle East, immersing himself in the culture and, most importantly, living his dream of witnessing to people who’d never heard about Jesus.
Listen as Jane remembers the day her husband was killed, and how she prayed immediately afterwards. “God used His grace to sustain me through that time,” she says. “He really brought me through those initial days.”
Jane will share how they worked to disciple Muslims even before they became believers in Jesus—demonstrating with their lives what it looks like to follow Him. Jane sees how God used their family’s sacrifice to advance His kingdom.
“God used my husband’s death to catapult His plans and purposes for that nation and the people there.”
As ordinary people who loved the Lord and lived out God’s calling for their life, Jane says being obedient and knowing you’re in God’s will is the greatest joy you can experience. She’s had times of wrestling with her loss and asking God why but says one way she works through those times is to focus, with her children, on things they can be thankful for.
This weekend features a special opportunity to pray for our persecuted family as we commemorate the International Day of Prayer for Persecuted Christians. Churches around the world will mark a special emphasis on praying for persecuted Christians. Take time to pray with your church, family, or Christian friends. Pray our persecuted brothers and sisters remain firm during trials, have opportunities to own their own Bible, and continue to share the gospel no matter the cost. You can download free IDOP resources at www.VOMRadio.net/IDOP to be inspired and find specific ways you can pray.
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