CENTRAL ASIA: Pastor’s Murderer Becomes His “Spiritual Grandson”
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Episodes

  • CENTRAL ASIA: Pastor’s Murderer Becomes His “Spiritual Grandson”

    Jonathan Ekman and Matthew Hanson recently visited persecuted Christians in Central Asia—Christians caught between a growing wave of radical Islam and governments with a communist-style distrust of all religion.

    Matthew and Jonathan will share stories from believers they met. Listen to hear “the rest of the story” of one of the chapters in When Faith Is Forbidden (VOM Radio host Todd Nettleton’s book), including how God has built on the legacy of a martyred pastor in Tajikistan.

    They’ll also share the story of a woman who faced intense persecution from her own family, yet has seen God take her suffering and create something “beautiful.”

    Christians in Central Asia don’t have protection from their governments or from families. Yet the church is growing across the region as more and more people experience the spiritual family of followers of Jesus.

    You can receive a free copy of When Faith is Forbidden when you make a donation to The Voice of the Martyrs.

    Never miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe to the podcast.

    30 MIN
  • REACHING MUSLIMS: “The Prize To Be Won”

    How long was it from the time you heard Jesus died, until you knew that He rose again? What did you feel in that interim? Grief? Loss? Defeat? And what did it mean when you knew that He did rise again?

    “Brother Stephen” has worked with Operation Mobilization for many years sharing the gospel among Muslims, including nomadic peoples in the Middle East. He has told the story of Jesus to people who had never heard it before! Listen for the story of how one woman responded to Jesus’ death.

    Brother Stephen will share how God called him to missions, and advise those feeling a call to missionary service today. He challenges us to see Muslims not as an enemy to be defeated, but as a prize to be won for Christ. He’ll also share about Muslims making the decision to follow Christ and the price they often pay for that decision. How can Christians living in free nations reach out to Muslims they know or work with? How can we pray for gospel work among Muslims?

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    30 MIN
  • IRAN: Remembering Martyrs, Ministering Today

    Rashin Soodmand was 13 years old when Iran’s government executed her father, Pastor Hossein Soodmand, and buried him in an unmarked grave in a part of the cemetery reserved for “the cursed.” But killing this faithful pastor didn’t erase his legacy or stop the growth of the church in Iran.

    Her father wasn’t the only martyr of the persecuted Iranian church that Rashin knew well. In this second part of our conversation, Rashin shares things she remembers about other martyrs she knew personally: Haik Hovsepian, who preached at her father’s funeral; Mehdi Dibaj, who encouraged her to attend Bible school; and Pastor Mohammad “Ravanbakhsh” Yusefi.

    To learn more about the current ministry activities of Rashin and her husband, Amir, visit the Torch Ministries web site. If you missed the first part of this conversation, listen here.

    Next month Christians around the world will join in prayer for persecuted Christians on the International Day of Prayer for Persecuted Christians. Download your free IDOP resources now.

    Never miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe to the podcast.

    24 MIN
  • IRAN: Martyr’s Daughter Says “They Couldn’t Stop My Father”

    Rashin Soodmand was 13 years old when her father, Pastor Hossein Soodmand, was executed in Iran for the crime of apostasy.

    Rashin remembers that day as a strange mix of sadness and joy as she, her family and members of their church dealt with the loss of Pastor Soodmand while at the same time celebrating his life and the fact that he had stood boldly in the face of Christian persecution and threats.

    Rashin will tell how church leaders encouraged Pastor Hossein to leave Iran and go somewhere safer. He refused; he knew that for him to flee would discourage the hearts of his congregation. She’ll describe the man she knew—a man who genuinely loved people, both Christians and Muslims—and tell of the last time she saw her dad.

    To learn more about the current ministry activities of Rashin and her husband, Amir, visit the Torch Ministries web site.

    Next month Christians around the world will join in prayer for persecuted Christians on the International Day of Prayer for Persecuted Christians. Download your free IDOP resources now.

    Never miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe to the podcast.

    27 MIN
  • Transformation through Grace and Truth

    Joe Handley leads Asian Access, a ministry to train and equip church leaders—including many working in countries where Christians face persecution for their faith.

    Listen as Joe shares the story of an imprisoned Christian in Myanmar who found a way to be a blessing, even from inside prison. Joe will also talk about training up leaders in hostile and restricted nations—and especially helping them learn to abide in and rely on Christ.

    Hear how Christians in Sri Lanka reached out to those opposing them, and the way it opened a door for the gospel in a formerly-closed village. And learn how the gospel is advancing in India, in spite of persecution.

    Don’t forget: the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church, coming up November 7. Get free resources from VOM to help you and your church pray.

    Never miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe to the podcast.

    34 MIN
  • MARTYRS’ WIDOWS: “Until We Die, We Will Serve Christ”

    Semse Aydin and her husband, Necati, were expecting a baby. Necati had been arrested for gospel work in Turkey, and now the couple had a decision to make. Would they continue advancing the gospel among their countrymen, in spite of the risk of more persecution? Or would they choose a safer path for their now-growing family? Together, Necati and Semse made the decision: they would continue boldly in their Christian work. The decision led them to Malatya, where Necati was murdered in 2007.

    This week we continue our conversation with Semse and Gracia Burnham. Both women are widows whose husbands were killed serving in front-line ministry work. Both have experienced God’s faithfulness in the years since, and both consider their suffering for Christ an honor.

    Listen as they discuss their husbands’ legacies and what their ministry looks like today.

    You can hear in-depth interviews with Gracia and Semse in the VOM Radio Archives. Please continue to pray for them, and their children.

    Never miss an episode of VOM Radio. Subscribe to the podcast!

    24 MIN
  • MARTYRS’ WIDOWS: God Takes Special Care

    Gracia Burnham was serving as a missionary in the Philippines with her husband, Martin, when they were taken hostage by a radical Islamist group. Martin was killed in a rescue attempt, leaving Gracia to raise their three children alone. But she was not alone; God has been with her. “I’ve seen God be faithful…He takes special care of the widows,” Gracia says.

    Semse Aydin also experienced the loss of a husband when Necati was murdered with two other Christian men in Malatya, Turkey in 2007. The couple had two young children.

    Listen this week as these two women share the stories of their pain and loss, but also how God has written a different story, one of joy and forgiveness and provision.

    You can hear in-depth interviews with Gracia and Semse in the VOM Radio Archives. Please continue to pray for them, and for their children.

    Never miss an episode of VOM Radio. Subscribe to the podcast!

    24 MIN
  • If We Don’t Share Christ With Muslims, Who Will?

    Tom and JoAnn Doyle are back to finish our conversation about how Jesus is reaching women across the Middle East—including amazing stories of God’s work in Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Syria and other nations.

    Tom and JoAnn say these Christian women are committed to following Christ no matter what persecution they face, even the risk of their lives. They are also bold witnesses for Christ; often the greatest initial impact their witness has is on their husbands.

    The Doyles help American Christians learn to reach out to Muslims through their work with Uncharted Ministries—and they say Muslims are incredibly open to hearing the Good News!

    If you missed the first half of our conversation with the Doyles, listen here. Be sure to get a copy of Tom and JoAnn’s new book, Women Who Risk: Secret Agents for Jesus in the Muslim World. Tom and JoAnn have been with us before on VOM Radio; listen to those conversations here.

    Never miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe to the podcast.

    24 MIN
  • Afghanistan Update: God’s Heart for Afghans

    “God loves Afghans!”

    Author John Weaver lived in Afghanistan, speaks the language and is in daily contact with people still in the country. He’ll give listeners an update on how the Taliban’s takeover is affecting our Christian brothers and sisters and share specific requests to help us pray for our Afghan family members.

    John will also tell us how God is working through current events and even among members of the Taliban. One thing we know He is doing is raising up an army of prayer warriors to intercede on behalf of Afghanistan and pray for the advance of Christ’s kingdom among unreached people there.

    Here are six ways you can pray for Afghanistan right now.

    Don’t miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe to the podcast.

    24 MIN
  • Muslim Women Finding Jesus

    Tom and JoAnn Doyle share the stories of Jesus reaching women across the Middle East—amazing stories of God’s work in Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Syria and other nations.

    Their new book, Women Who Risk: Secret Agents for Jesus in the Muslim World, shares exciting stories of Muslim women coming to faith in Christ, then becoming "secret agents" for Christ and His Kingdom—transforming their own lives, their families, friends and even entire nations.

    They will share how the Bible's teachings about women are vastly different from the teachings of Islam—and how Muslim women respond when they learn how the God of the Bible loves women.

    Tom and JoAnn have been with us before on VOM Radio. You can hear those conversations here.

    Never miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe to the podcast.

    24 MIN
  • IRAN: New President, More Persecution

    Dr. Mike Ansari is the President of Heart 4 Iran, which partners with multiple Christian ministries to reach Iranian people with the gospel of Jesus Christ. He’ll explain what the inauguration of Ebrahim Raisi as the new president of Iran means for persecuted Christians and religious freedom.

    One of the greatest needs of the church in Iran is Bibles. Mike will tell how VOM is helping meet that need—and thank our listeners for giving to deliver Bibles into Iran. He’ll also talk about the benefits of delivering Bibles in digital form—which are much easier to hide and also to share with friends.

    You’ll learn about the need to train leaders for Iran’s growing church—and how Heart 4 Iran is encouraging new believers to share Christ and even plant their own house churches.

    Finally, Dr. Mike will equip us to pray for the nation of Iran and our Christian family members there.

    Learn more about delivering Bibles into Iran in this VOM Radio conversation with Joe and Dawn. Never miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe to the podcast.

    24 MIN
  • MISSIONS: The Joyful Side of a Life Laid Down

    A 16-year-old persecuted Christian girl in the Himalayas would crawl to gather with other believers for worship and Bible study. In spite of suffering and persecution, she would not stop sharing the gospel!

    That’s just one story you’ll hear this week in the second half of our conversation with Andy Byrd. He’s part of the leadership team of Youth With a Mission in Kona, Hawaii, and also leads The Send, an international event to motivate Christians to share the gospel.

    Byrd has spent significant time in the Himalayas—“the roof of the world”—and says the impact of the Word of God is beyond what we could imagine in countries like Nepal, Bhutan and Tibet.

    He’ll also tell how COVID opened doors for the gospel and helped people—both Christian and non-believers—focus on what really matters, and what sources truly give hope.

    Finally, Andy will advise people—at any age—feeling called to missions, and equip listeners to pray for God’s work overseas.

    You can register now to be among the first to get registration and ticket information for The Send, happening next summer in Kansas City. If you missed the first half of our conversation with Andy, you can listen to it here.

    Never miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe to the podcast.

    24 MIN
  • MISSIONS: “Re-Evangelizing” Our Own Nation

    The first time Andy Byrd went on a missions trip, he wasn’t really living a sold-out life for Jesus. But something happened on that trip: the seed of gospel service was planted in his life. After high school, he signed up to train and serve for six months through Youth With a Mission.

    That six-month stint has now lasted 23 years as Andy has dedicated his life to spiritual awakening in a generation. Today he serves on the leadership team of YWAM in Kona, Hawaii, and also heads up The Send, an international event to bring about a new Great Awakening and motivate Christians to get involved in sharing the gospel—to those around them and to the ends of the earth.

    Listen as Andy shares about his own call to missions, how God has used The Send, and about his time in places where Christians are persecuted, including North Korea.

    Never miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe to the podcast.

    24 MIN
  • MIDDLE EAST: Persecution Gives Me A Taste Of Jesus

    Aaron Miller is just back from visiting persecuted Christians in the Middle East, including one of our Christian brothers who was formerly a Sunni Muslim, then became a Shia Muslim and ultimately found love, hope and truth in Jesus Christ.

    Aaron also met the family of a man who gave his life delivering Bibles to Iran. Rather than pull back, the family continues to be involved in secret Bible deliveries—in spite of the risk.

    Aaron will discuss Christians displaced in recent years by ISIS, by the situation in Syria and other persecution—and how VOM is encouraging and equipping Christians to reach out with the gospel in some of these difficult situations.

    Finally, Aaron will share about a young woman sharing the gospel with a “holy recklessness,” who points to one of the blessings of persecution: she says it gives her “a taste of Jesus.”

    Never miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe the podcast.

    24 MIN
  • North Korea: Will You Choose Faith or Fear?

    Australian John Short was detained inside North Korea after leaving gospel tracts near a Buddhist temple. He was facing years in prison—but he wasn’t afraid.

    “Fear and faith cannot exist within my heart at the same time,” he says.

    In this second part of our conversation with Mr. Short, he shares how he prayed—out loud—throughout his captivity, how his captors responded to his faith and how his “letter of confession” and eventual release came about.

    He’ll also share how, upon landing back in China, he learned for the first time that his captivity was international news. He was deeply moved to learn that Christians in many nations were praying for him during his trial, including a group of Chinese house churches that prayed around the clock during his detention.

    Finally, Mr. Short shares specific ways we can pray for the “hermit kingdom” of North Korea.

    You can hear John’s wife, Karen, share her side of the story in this episode of VOM Radio.

    24 MIN
  • Prisoner In North Korea

    Australian John Short was detained in North Korea. He was repeatedly interrogated. He was forced to write a “confession” of his “crimes,” including the offense of wanting more North Koreans to follow Jesus.

    But if God asked him today, Short would happily go back to the "Hermit Kingdom." Short shares with VOM Radio how God strengthened him during his captivity, Scriptures and earthly examples of persecuted Christians that most encouraged him, and how he managed to take a measure of control back from his captors — and even make them nervous.

    Mr. Short agreed to only two media interviews after his release; one with his hometown newspaper back in Australia, and the other with The Voice of the Martyrs Radio.

    Hear the rest of the story when you listen also to our interview with Short's wife, Karen.

    Never miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe to the podcast.

    24 MIN
  • Christians: Prepare for Persecution

    Floyd Brobbel has been involved in ministry to persecuted Christians since birth! Today he leads the work of VOM – Canada, the ministry founded by his parents 50 years ago.

    Listen as Floyd tells the story of his first trip for VOM, and a Christian woman in Ethiopia that permanently changed the way Floyd thinks about Christian persecution and what it means to be part of the Body of Christ.

    Floyd will also tell of his experiences as a child and young man with Richard and Sabina Wurmbrand, VOM’s founders who were both imprisoned for their faith in communist Romania. Floyd knew the Wurmbrands were spiritual heroes, but he also saw their playful side as people and friends.

    Brobbel will also tell about his new book, Trouble on the Way: Persecution in the Christian Life (affiliate link).

    You can learn more about VOM Canada—and Canadian listeners can subscribe to the ministry’s free newsletter, at www.VOMCanada.com.

    Never miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe to the podcast.

    24 MIN
  • AFRICA: Christian Persecution Updates from Mozambique, Ethiopia and Uganda

    Christians—especially pastors—are being targeted by an Islamist insurgent group in Northern Mozambique, a group that already pledged allegiance to ISIS. A VOM worker recently visited the area and met with Christians who are among 800,000 displaced people. He heard horrible stories of violence and persecution, but also saw persecuted Christians continuing to serve and advance the gospel in spite of their suffering and loss.

    Sean Paton will tell us how the church in Mozambique is responding, as well as give an update to listeners on current persecution in Ethiopia and Uganda. Paton is Africa Regional Director for VOM.

    Sean will also encourage prayer for Eritrean Christians who fled for refuge into Ethiopia, but now face Eritrean troops who crossed the border during conflict in the Tigray region. He’ll share specific ways to pray for Christians in each nation discussed.

    Listen here to learn more about the situation in Mozambique from a previous VOM Radio guest, Will Hart.

    Never miss an episode of VOM Radio. Subscribe to the podcast!

    24 MIN
  • CHINA: Great Suffering During 100 Years of Chinese Communist Party

    Just a few days before government-mandated “celebrations” of the 100th Anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party, we finish a conversation with Bob Fu, former prisoner for Christ and the founder of China Aid Association. Bob points out the terrible cost of decades of control in China by a philosophy that places zero value on human life.

    Bob will talk about the choice some Chinese Christians are making to stay in their country in spite of the constant threat of persecution. He’ll also tell how some Christians are choosing to leave, seeing no future under President Xi Jinping.

    China’s pressure and persecution efforts also reach outside their borders—including harassing Bob and his family in the United States.

    Bob will help us pray for Christians in China; he also says Chinese Christians are praying right now for the United States and believers here.

    Bob Fu is the author of two books: God’s Double Agent, which tells the story of Bob’s coming to faith in China and eventually being forced to flee the country; and The Politics of Inclusive Pluralism: A Proposed Foundation for Religious Freedom in a Post-Communist, Democratic China. You can listen to the first part of our conversation with Bob here.

    This month you can receive a free copy of When Faith is Forbidden, the new book by VOM Radio host Todd Nettleton, when you make any donation to help persecuted Christians through The Voice of the Martyrs. Learn more and give online.

    Never miss and episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe to the podcast.

    24 MIN
  • CHINA: Worst Persecution in 40 Years

    Bob Fu is a former prisoner for Christ and the founder of China Aid Association, serving and sharing the stories of persecuted Christians in China. He says persecution of Christians in communist China is the worst it has been in 40 years—since the days of the Cultural Revolution.

    Bob will share a recent case of persecution and the story of how our brother Chen Wensheng—a former mafia leader—thought of ten days in prison as a “spiritual retreat.” Brother Chen went right back to publicly witnessing for Christ the moment he was released.

    Pastor Bob says Chinese Christians understand they are in a spiritual battle, rather than a physical one. Listen to hear how they gain strength to face opposition and persecution, and how the church prepares believers—even youth—to stand strong.

    Bob Fu is the author of two books: God’s Double Agent, which tells the story of Bob’s coming to faith in China and eventually being forced to flee the country; and The Politics of Inclusive Pluralism: A Proposed Foundation for Religious Freedom in a Post-Communist, Democratic China.

    This month you can receive a free copy of VOM Radio host, Todd Nettleton’s new book, When Faith is Forbidden, when you make any donation to help persecuted Christians through The Voice of the Martyrs. Learn more and give online.

    Never miss and episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe to the podcast.

    26 MIN