CENTRAL ASIA: Muslims Ready for Truth
now playing
CENTRAL ASIA: Muslims Ready for Truth
April 20, 2024
0:00
24:59
Please enable javascript in order to use this website.

Episodes

  • HOSTAGE’S WIFE: “Look for the Promises of God and Pray”

    It was four in the morning when Els Woodke answered the phone to hear the words she’d been praying for and waiting on for six-and-a-half years: “Jeff has been recovered!”

    The last two weeks we’ve shared the story of Jeffery Woodke, American gospel worker in West Africa captured by Islamists and held hostage for more than six years. Now, Jeff’s wife, Els, shares her side of the story of waiting and wondering and praying through that long ordeal—and how God helped her never to hate Jeff’s captors.

    “The moment I heard Jeff was kidnapped, I cried out to God,” Els says.

    Shortly after Jeff’s abduction, Els felt the Lord saying to her, “I want you to love the enemy.” She answered that call, never letting bitterness or anger toward the terrorists holding Jeff find a place in her heart.

    “I lived in the Psalms,” she says, often taking the prayers and promises recorded by the Psalmist and making them her own prayers for Jeff. Among those prayers was, “Keep him alive in famine” and “deliver him from death,” based on Psalm 33:19. After Jeff’s release in March, 2023, Els learned that his circumstances in captivity had been even worse than she could’ve imagined.

    Listen in as Els speaks to the people all around the world who prayed for Jeff’s release and for her. It strengthened her faith to hear that people were fervently and faithfully praying for Jeff—for years—without knowing his condition. “Thank you for your faithfulness,” Els says as she shares how peoples’ prayers encouraged her to keep the faith. Please continue to pray for Jeff and Els Woodke as they continue to reconnect and recover from their experience and forced separation.

    Never miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe to the podcast. Or you can listen each week—and get daily prayer reminders for persecuted Christians—in the VOM App for your smartphone or tablet.

    25 MIN
  • MISSIONARY HOSTAGE: “Prayer Works; I’m Proof”

    “Hope is the first thing to go” Jeffery Woodke says, speaking about his six-and-a-half years as a hostage held by radical Islamist terror groups. He says he started out, after being kidnapped, praying eight hours a day. But over the years his hopelessness increased and his prayer time faded to twenty minutes daily. Suicidal, he beseeched his persecutors numerous times to take his life, knowing heaven would be much better than his existence as a hostage chained to a tree.

    Despite his doubts, God was always with Jeff. He found he couldn’t abandon prayer altogether.

    Listen as Jeff shares more about his time as a hostage; his hunger and water strikes to get better treatment and the ongoing trauma he deals with after his experience as a captive. He’ll tell the stories he heard about the Covid pandemic—and how he assumed his family must have all died and mourned their loss.

    Jeff will also tell about his release, from getting a “fruit basket” from the leader of his terrorist captors to being taken to the largest gathering of jihadists and Mujahadin he’d ever seen. It was there, under a tree, he met the French journalist Olivier Dubois. The two men were released together in March, 2023.

    Jeff spent several days in medical care after his release as doctors tried to stabilize his health before he could get on a plane to return to the US. One of the first things he asked for was a Bible. “It’s good to have the Word of God,” he says. He quickly turned to the gospel of John and began to read.

    Jeff’s testimony of forgiveness is powerful. After being chained physically, Jeff asks why anyone would chain themselves up willingly with unforgiveness? Forgiveness, he says, can cut those chains.

    Jeffery Woodke is still learning to process his years of hostage trauma. Pray for healing as he and Els explore what this season in their life will be. Jeff was amazed and humbled how Christians around the world prayed fervently for his release. “Prayer works,” he says. He’ll help us continue to pray for persecuted Christians still held hostage in West Africa and other parts of the world.

    Join VOM Radio host, Todd Nettleton, for the I-Am-N Virtual Event on March 8. Registration is free. You may also want to talk to your pastor or church leaders about hosting this inspiring event at your church. More details at www.IamNevent.com

    Never miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe to the podcast. Or you can listen each week—and get daily prayer reminders—in the VOM App for your smartphone or tablet.

    24 MIN
  • KIDNAPPED GOSPEL WORKER: Forgiveness is the Best Weapon We Have

    “It’s better to be dead than taken hostage.”

    When Jeff Woodke said those words, he didn’t know that he would be taken hostage from his home in Niger in 2016. But Woodke, a long-term relief and gospel worker in West Africa, did know there were risks.

    Risk wasn’t such a big issue in the early years of the ministry of Jeff and his wife, Els, in Niger with Youth With a Mission (YWAM). They worked in church planting, discipleship, and evangelism among the Wodaabe people. Niger was an open country, with churches throughout. What Christian persecution there was came from family members or neighbors who opposed following Jesus. However, over time the rise of Salafist Islam changed Niger—and increased their risk.

    Listen as Jeff recalls the night he was kidnapped and how the image of orange flashes from the guns which killed his guards are seared into his memory.

    Naked and bloody, Jeff was forced into the back seat of a truck and driven away, not knowing who his captors were or how long his captivity might last. Over the years, Jeff was transferred into the custody of multiple terror groups, beaten and mistreated. As a Christian who refused to embrace Islam, Jeff was seen as an animal. Some of his guards were only 12 years old.

    Yet Jeff says renouncing his faith in Christ and becoming a Muslim to get better treatment was never an option. Jeff shares what helped him during those difficult days and how he knew the Lord was with him. Listen as he tells why forgiveness was key and how he took opportunity daily to express it to his captors.

    Please pray for Jeff and Els as they continue to recover from the more than six years of Jeff’s captivity and come back next week as Jeff continues to share more of his experience being a hostage and his eventual release and freedom.

    Register now to join VOM Radio host, Todd Nettleton, at the I-Am-N Virtual Event on March 8. You may also want to talk to your pastor or church leaders about hosting this inspiring event at your church. More details and free registration at www.IamNevent.com

    Never miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe to the podcast. Or you can listen each week—and get daily prayer reminders—in the VOM App for your smartphone or tablet.

    24 MIN