Short highlights from Christians around the world
Young, married, and with a baby on the way, Cynthia Anderson and her husband set out for Nepal to “take new ground for the gospel,” bringing Jesus to the unreached. But God was already working in Nepal. “We weren’t taking Him there,” Cynthia says, “He was [already] there!”
Today, decades later, Cynthia is a longtime gospel worker in multiple nations and a trainer of pastors, mission agency and other Kingdom-minded leaders in how to multiply disciples and catalyze Jesus movements in their areas. She is a leader in YWAM Frontier Missions.
Listen as Cynthia shares what it truly looks like to make disciples and train others to continue making disciples, launching Disciple Making Movements (DMM). Her new book, The Multiplier’s Mindset: Thinking Differently About Discipleship, examines the mindset shifts that need to take place in order for multiplication of the gospel to happen.
As a young missionary, Cynthia was drawn to examples from the gospels and the book of Acts. “I was so convinced by scripture. Wow! God uses ordinary, broken people; people who don’t have their act together. Faith rose up in my heart to believe: ‘God can do it here; God can do it through us!’”
The harvest fields are ripe, even in Western nations. Research shows that only 3 out of 10 unchurched people in America have had a Christian explain the gospel to them.
Listen to Cynthia share stories of persecuted Christians who have become obedient disciples of Christ passionate to reach their people with the gospel. “Keep disciple making easy and actionable,” Cynthia advises. “When we have a simple repeatable pattern and people are like, ‘I can do that,’ it is reproducible, even by a brand-new believer.”
As you listen, you’ll also learn how you can pray for our persecuted family who are making disciples among their own people. You can learn more about Cynthia’s work on her blog and by listening to her first interview on VOM Radio.
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The nation is called The Islamic Republic of Iran, but a recent study shows less than a third of Iranians still believe in Islam! Iranians are looking elsewhere to find answers to their spiritual questions. Dr. Hormoz Shariat tells us why, sharing from his own experiences ministering to people in Iran, evangelizing and answering their questions. “More and more I see people of Iran say, ‘To have a future for Iran, we have to get rid of Islam,’” Hormoz explains.
Iran has been led by Islamic clergy for more than forty years, imposing Islamic laws that control every area of life. The last few years, the numbers of Iranians finding salvation through Jesus have surged. Iran’s people desire change. They find Christian TV programs or online information, see changed lives and actions among Christian friends or hear the gospel in another way.
Recently the battle in Iran has been over women’s head coverings following the death of Mahsa Amini. But Hormoz says the real issue is much deeper than clothing choices. As protestors on the streets of Iran chanted, “Women! Life! Freedom!” Dr. Hormoz broadcasts a series of sermons showing how Christ valued women, how He came to bring eternal life, and how true freedom is found only in Him. Hormoz encourages Iranians that if they want their nation to be transformed, individual people must be willing to be transformed first.
Listen as Hormoz shares how our Christian brothers and sisters are being salt and light even amidst recent protests. “The greatest weapon we have against Islam is love,” he says. Hormoz shares testimonies from Iranians transformed by the gospel message, including one family reached through their son, who didn’t say a word but became a different person after finding Christ.
“I didn’t get in television to be famous, to be admired. I wanted to love people and have influence in their lives and by God’s grace, He has given me that.” You can hear more of Dr. Hormoz and his wife’s testimony of God’s call on their lives and marriage in this VOM Radio episode: Part 1 and Part 2.
Gospel workers in restricted and hostile nations risk their lives to spread the gospel. One worker in the Middle East, Jacob, was kidnapped last month and held by a terrorist group. He was kept blindfolded, not knowing if it was day or night. The group threatened to hang him. Even in captivity, this young newlywed pastor’s heart was to share the good news and help build God’s church by spreading his Word.
Thankfully, Jacob has been rescued from captivity and reunited with his wife and baby. Listen as John Samara, founder and executive director of Ananias House, shares how Jacob had memorized Scripture before being taken captive, and how he held onto several passages during his time in darkness.
With the scripture indelibly written on his heart and mind, Jacob was encouraged by the promises of God despite persecution for his faith. One verse that encouraged Jacob was Psalm 27:14, “Wait for the Lord, be strong and let your heart take courage. Wait on the Lord.”
John also shares about a new book, Through the Eyes of a Child: Encounters with God in the Middle East. Ananias House is working in schools, sharing the gospel as they provide an education to children who might otherwise not receive one.
John will share stories from the book of a teen imprisoned and violated for her faith, yet praising and glorifying the Lord in the midst of it; and of a young child who prayed with his classmates over their small amount of food and saw God perform a miracle.
You’ll also hear how John and his team are training up women, who often face disrespect in that culture. Now many are reaching other women with the gospel and even leading their husbands to Christ!
John will equip listeners to pray for Ananias House and for the Body of Christ in the Middle East and North Africa.
There had been reports of a pending terrorist attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, when Hannelie Groenewald went in work as a medical doctor on November 29, 2014. Hannelie didn’t know that the Taliban attack would target her own home and family.
When she arrived home that evening, a sea of police and military personnel were all around the smoking ruins of her house. Reporters were already there, asking her for comment. She still didn’t know what had happened; that her husband, Werner, and two teen aged children, Jean-Pierre and Rode, had been killed in a Taliban attack on their home. She was taken to a neighbor’s house, where she read, over and over, Psalm 91, praying through its promises of help and divine covering. God’s overwhelming peace washed over her.
As a mother, she wished to have been with her children, to comfort them during the attack. But Hannelie is reminded that God is sovereign. Listen as she shares how God carried her through the days following the attack, and how Afghan people were impacted by her peace and spirit of forgiveness. Hannelie also tells of God’s blessings to her even as flames engulfed her home.
Pray for new believers in Afghanistan, that God would use the martyrs blood that has flowed there to bring forth a spiritual harvest, and that God’s church will be built up, even after the Taliban takeover of that nation in 2021.
Listen and watch Hannelie’s story on the new VOM App, and find her new book, Tragedy in Kabul: Fulfilling a Life Purpose for God’s Glory (affiliate link) to learn more about how God remained faithful and encouraged her as she continued to serve Him.
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It’s been two years since the Taliban retook control in Afghanistan. Pressure and persecution against Christians in the country continues to rise. Hannelie Groenewald, a former gospel medical worker there, paid a high price for her faith when her husband and children were martyred in their home in Kabul in 2014.
When the 9/11 attacks happened in New York, Hannelie Groenewald was living a comfortable life in South Africa with her family. Werner, her husband, took a short-term mission trip to Pakistan and Afghanistan and came home with a burden for Afghans to have a relationship with Christ. Werner shared his heart with Hannelie. After agreeing to go on a short-term outreach herself, she experienced the Holy Spirit in a new way and felt a shared desire to serve the Afghan people.
There was still a wrestling within her as she thought about her children and their safety in a war-torn land. Listen as Hannelie shares the small ways she knew the Lord was encouraging their family to go and serve in Afghanistan.
Hannelie describes Werner as “fearless,” and tells of his continuous preaching on having faith rather than fear. One month before Werner was martyred, he said in a sermon, “We only die once. It might as well be for Jesus.”
Watch as Hannelie shares her story and how God remained faithful and encouraged her. You can watch the short video of her story online or order the Heroic Faith DVD. The DVD also includes videos about other persecuted Christians on some of the world’s most difficult and dangerous places to follow Christ. The Hannelie video is also included in the VOM App
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