GAZA PASTOR: Connected Together Through Pain
0:00
29:35
Please enable javascript in order to use this website.

Episodes

  • GAZA PASTOR: Connected Together Through Pain

    Today Hanna Massad, former pastor of Gaza Baptist Church, assists persecuted Christians and refugees across the Middle East.

    He knows what they are facing. He’s had his own first-hand experiences of Christian persecution, living and pastoring a church in a Muslim context. His wife led the Gaza Bible Society during a time when it was bombed twice. Their coworker and friend, Rami Ayyad, was kidnapped and murdered.

    In these difficult moments, Hanna and his family had to completely rely on God’s Word. When Gaza police told him they couldn’t protect his family, Hanna thought of Psalm 46:1, “The Lord is my refuge.” He and his family knew God could protect them, even if local authorities could not or would not.

    In the face of threats of further attacks, they decided to leave Gaza, at least temporarily. They planned to be away for a few weeks, long enough that the situation could settle down again. Instead, their departure became long-term.

    While the doors have never re-opened for the Massad family to return permanently to Gaza, that doesn’t mean their ministry in Gaza ceased. Massad, author of the book Pastor From Gaza (affiliate link), continues ministering to Christians in Gaza through the church, online connections, the Bible Society library and regular visits back to his homeland.

    Listen as he shares an update on the current ministry of Pauline Ayyad, Rami’s widow and a recent guest on VOM Radio. He’ll also share what it means to be a true disciple and he’ll challenge every listener to keep our eyes on Jesus.

    Hanna is the founder and president of Christian Ministry to Gaza, blessing and serving widows, orphans, and refugees in multiple nations of the Middle East, helping provide for spiritual and physical needs.

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

    29 MIN
  • GAZA PASTOR: “Our Faith Will Not Be Tested When Everything Is Going Fine”

    Pastor Hanna Massad served the Lord in the face of intense Christian persecution. He’s been threatened. The Bible Society where his wife worked was bombed. He buried a martyred coworker. Yet he calls it an honor and a privilege to serve the Lord in such circumstances.

    Hanna Massad is the former pastor of Gaza Baptist Church. His wife, Suhad, led the Bible Society in Gaza. He still gets emotional thinking back to the day when Rami Ayyad, who worked for the Bible Society, was kidnapped and later killed. Speaking of his martyred friend, Hanna says, “Rami had a wonderful heart, he loved the Lord, and his dedication to the Lord, his family, and the community are wonderful memories, despite the pain and suffering.”

    Listen as Hanna shares his own story of coming to faith in Christ, and how he faced pressure—even as a boy—for being identified as a Christian in Gaza. He says Christians in Gaza live “between two fires,” and explains some of the challenges of church ministry in such a setting.

    “Our faith will not be tested when everything is going fine.” Hanna explained. God allows us to go through the fire to reflect His love to those who don’t know Him.

    Last year we met Rami Ayyad’s widow, Pauline. Listen to Pauline Ayyad’s interview on VOM Radio to hear her journey from deep grief and anger to forgiving Rami’s persecutors.

    Today Pastor Hanna Massad serves as the leader for Christian Mission to Gaza. He is also author of the book Pastor From Gaza (affiliate link). Hanna reminds us what the most important thing in life is as we, children of God by His grace, carry the Holy Spirit’s presence wherever we go.

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

    24 MIN
  • MISSIONS: Taking the Gospel to the 4-in-10

    Brother Harold served 15 years as a gospel worker among Muslims in Central Asia—where persecution of new Christian believers is common. For the past five years he has worked in the US to recruit, train and mobilize more workers into the world’s spiritual harvest fields. Harold reminds us that four out of every ten people around the world have never heard the name of Jesus. What are we, as Christians, doing to shrink that number? Harold reminds us that God’s Word clearly states that followers of Jesus are to be involved in the spreading of the gospel. He challenges every listener: Are you sending laborers into the harvest? Praying for the gospel to go out? Are you going?

    Harold will share a recent story where God allowed him to see the fruit of his family’s labor in Central Asia—but also reminds us that we won’t always see the fruit of our work, especially in the early years of gospel planting.

    He’ll also encourage listeners that they can reach unreached nations right here in the US through immigrant communities. He’ll share how he and his family have been able to bless Central Asian immigrants in their city—and how that has led to gospel opportunities. He says when Muslims come to faith in the US, it is almost always the result of encountering Christ’s love in His people.

    Listen as Harold suggests ways we can pray for more opportunities for the gospel, for our persecuted church family, and for current and future missionaries.

    In this conversation we refer to a previous episode on VOM Radio with Bob and Kasey, who were enjoying their retirement when God gave them a “holy discontent,” and called them to minister to the people of a very closed Muslim nation.

    Learn how you can specifically pray for persecuted Christians in 2023 by requesting a complimentary copy of VOM’s 2023 Global Prayer Guide.

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

    24 MIN
  • TURKEY: Ready To Die for Christ

    “Tell me the truth! Dead or alive?”

    When Susanne Geske heard the answer to that question—that her husband, Tilmann, had been murdered along with two Turkish Christians, Necati Aydin and Ugur Yüksel—she was overwhelmed with shock. The Geskes had been in Turkey (now called Türkiye) for 10 years. It’s a Muslim country, and they knew there was some risk for Christians. But she never thought their family would be affected.

    The five murderers—ages 19 and 20—were arrested at the scene of the crime. Turkish media members rushed to Malatya to report on the “missionary massacre,” and they wanted to interview Susanne. She didn’t know what to say when they came to her door the day after her husband had been martyred.

    Praying, she asked, “Lord what should I say?”

    The Holy Spirit answered with the words of Christ on the cross: “Forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing.” Though Turkish media often paint Christians as an enemy, with the Lord’s help Susanne used this opportunity to share the gospel of forgiveness and the love of Jesus, the reason she could forgive men who killed her husband. Her living example of forgiveness was broadcast all over Turkey.

    Listen as Susanne shares how God has become a father to her children and looked after her needs in the 15 years since Tilmann was killed. She’ll also give an update on the killers’ trial, the search for justice and how her church family and neighbors enveloped her with prayers and love in the days after the murder.

    She says that in Turkey, and other Muslim nations, people are rejecting Islam and seeking hope and truth. Many Muslims are searching privately online to learn more about Jesus and Christianity. Pray for Christians in Turkey, for those who are seeking truth, and for Susanne and her family.

    VOM Radio has also shared a conversation with Semse Aydin, widow of Necati. Listen to that conversation here. VOM Radio host, Todd Nettleton, wrote about meeting Susanne and Semse in Turkey just seven weeks after the murder of their husbands in his book, When Faith is Forbidden.

    Learn more about praying for persecuted Christians in Turkey and other restricted nations and hostile areas when you request your free copy of the VOM 2023 Global Prayer Guide.

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

    24 MIN
  • Persecution and Ministry in 2023: Be At Peace

    When terrorists invaded the church service and pointed guns at his head, the pastor could have said many things to his congregation. Led by the Holy Spirit, he told them simply, “Be at peace. Soon we will be with Jesus.” Instead of committing murder, the attackers put their guns down and left the church, leaving the pastor and his flock alive and well.

    This true story, from persecuted Christians on the Arabian Peninsula, is just one of those you’ll hear this week from Jonathan Ekman, VOM’s Vice President of International Ministry. Join the conversation as Jonathan looks back on VOM’s work in 2022 and looks ahead to challenges and opportunities for persecuted church ministry in 2023.

    Listen as Jonathan discusses regions where persecution is changing, and what the next year may look like for Christians in restricted and hostile nations. He’ll also suggest some less-well-known countries, such as Northern Mozambique, Malaysia and Brunei, where persecuted Christians need your prayer.

    Are there nations where VOM’s work is likely to change in 2023? Jonathan will talk about the spread of radical Islam across Africa, and what it means for churches and Christian leaders in Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Central African Republic and other African nations. He’ll also look at some of the many unknowns faced this year, including intensified Christian persecution in China and upcoming elections in Nigeria and India. Your prayer list will grow as you consider the persecution being faced by Christians around the globe.

    One way you can pray more knowledgeably for persecuted Christians in the new year is to request a complimentary copy of VOM’s 2023 Global Prayer Guide. For an in-depth discussion of Christian persecution and current events in China, listen to this recent VOM Radio conversation with Dr. Bob Fu.

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

    27 MIN
  • MOVING MOMENTS OF 2022 - Part 2

    Join this week as we continue to look back on some of the most moving moments of 2022 on The Voice of the Martyrs Radio:

    • Tim and Dawn, gospel workers in South Asia, tell how stories from the Bible can confront people of other faiths and draw them to Christ.
    • Brother Malik shares his testimony of coming from a Fulani Muslim family to committing his life to Christ after reading through the Bible ten times.
    • Soner Tufan, a Christian in Turkey, tells about receiving a 14-page death threat letter from ISIS—and how God turned his difficulties into a blessing.
    • Victor Kalisher also has received threats as the director of the Israel Bible Society. He’ll tell about his work providing God’s Word to people in Israel in a modern translation they can understand.
    • Brother Hayel was thrown out of his Druze community when he chose to follow Jesus. Despite what faith has cost him, Hayel continues to share hope using a variety of media. He and his coworker, Brother Dan, challenge listeners to pray for the advance of the gospel.
    • Brother Silas was raised in a communist country by a Muslim family. Authorities threw him out of his home after he chose to follow Jesus, accusing him of being a spy. The persecution he faced couldn’t silence him.
    • Pauline Ayyad watched her husband, Rami, boldly live out his faith in Christ in Gaza. She says Rami wasn’t afraid of the threats, but she was terrified. Listen as she tells about the day she learned Rami had been martyred for Christ, and the long process of forgiving his killers, a decision that opened up a new pathway of ministry in her life.
    • VOM Radio host, Todd Nettleton, along with his wife, Char, share about meeting persecuted Christian brothers and sisters in the Middle East and hearing about their sacrifices—and their joy.

    After hearing these brief excerpts of these powerful interviews, you’ll want to go back and listen to the entire conversations. You can listen below to VOM Radio on your favorite podcast app or listen online at VOMRadio.net.

    We praise God for allowing VOM Radio to share these inspiring stories of His power and the faithfulness of our brothers and sisters in restricted nations and hostile areas in 2022. We also THANK YOU for listening and praying for our persecuted family. Please subscribe to the podcast and share VOM Radio with Christian friends you know would also be encouraged by these testimonies!

    24 MIN
  • MOVING MOMENTS OF 2022 - Part 1

    Join this week in looking back on some of the most moving moments on The Voice of the Martyrs Radio in 2022:

    • Author John Weaver reminds us of the power of prayer in the lives of our brothers and sisters in Afghanistan and how we can pray with and for them.
    • Benesh, who has planted more than 30 churches inside Iran in only five years of following Jesus, shares how prayer is the foundation of her ministry and outreach.
    • Pam Arlund explains how the Lord can ask us to lay down our lives for Him, and at the same time we can know that we are perfectly safe. She will also look back on training and sending John Chau, who gave his life to reach the people of North Sentinel Island for the gospel.
    • Jerry and Stacy chose to leave behind the American Dream to pursue God’s call to Tanzania and then Iraq. Listen as they share how Jesus is using them to encourage refugees with the love of Christ.
    • Matthew Hanson reminds us of the price our brothers and sisters pay for the sake of sharing Jesus through the story of an imam who found Jesus in Bangladesh.
    • “Brother Max,” completely transformed by Christ in Uzbekistan, shares his Muslim father’s reaction to his new faith and the New Testament.
    • Cade Jefferson reminds us that even in the darkest moments in life, God is there through the incredible story of Nathan and the gospel worker God sent to him on a beach in North Africa.

    After hearing these brief excerpts, you’ll want to go back and listen to the entire conversations. Click on the links below to listen in your favorite podcast app or visit VOMRadio.net.

    We thank the Lord for allowing VOM Radio to share in 2022 these amazing stories of the power of prayer and of Jesus’s love for the lost. We also THANK YOU for listening and praying for our persecuted brothers and sisters in hostile nations and restricted areas. If you haven’t already, please subscribe to the podcast and share VOM Radio with Christian friends you know would also be encouraged by these testimonies!

    24 MIN
  • CHINA: New Wave of Testing for Persecuted Christians

    The nation of China has been on the front pages of newspapers and the top of newscasts in recent weeks with widespread protests and a significant shift in the “zero covid” policy. But how will these developments—and the recent elevation of President Xi Jinping to what is essentially a permanent presidency—mean for our Christian brothers and sisters?

    Bob Fu, founder, and president of China Aid, will explain how Chinese Christians are affected by these things, and how they are responding. In Xi’s first 10 years in power, religious freedom has been under constant assault—including within China’s state-sanctioned, registered churches. Christians in China know there will be more persecution in the years to come. Our Christian family in China, both young and old, face the decision to either renounce faith in Jesus or have their future taken away from them. How are they preparing themselves, and especially young believers, to withstand that persecution?

    Listen for the story of one Chinese Christian woman in prison who said, “I only began loving the Lord when you arrested me.”

    Bob will also give listeners an update on two pastors in jail, Pastors Wang Yi and John Cao, and how they are continuing to serve the Lord and grow in faith—even through their incarceration. Pray for rulers and authorities in China, imprisoned believers, the millions of people in China, and for God’s Word to be available to those in this restricted nation. You can write letters of encouragement to brothers and sisters imprisoned for their faith.

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

    24 MIN
  • PERSECUTION IN AFRICA: Power In Christian Worship

    If there was no spiritual power when believers gather together to worship Christ, then Christians in hostile and restricted nations wouldn’t be attacked. If their worship wasn’t a threat, why would enemies of the gospel try to prevent it?

    Jeremy Malkin, who oversees VOM’s international ministry work in west and central Africa, explains that animistic and Muslim communities’ sense that power of Christians gathering together, and they often respond with violence and persecution towards our brothers and sisters in Christ.

    Jeremy will share the story of one of our brothers in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Matendo, who was abducted by an armed group of Muslims targeting Christians. He was beaten and threatened for his witness, causing long-term damage to his body, yet he is praising God for miraculously sparing his life.

    As Christian persecution increases across Africa, there is great need for prayer and support for brothers and sisters who are being driven from their homes and seeing their churches destroyed. On one trip, Jeremy and his team met 300 believers at a church, all wanting to share their story. When Jeremy asked how many had family members who’d been killed by the Islamist rebels, almost everyone in the room raised their hands.

    Listen to hear an update on Christians in Niger, Nigeria, Togo, Burkina Faso, Benin and other African nations, and learn how you can be in prayer for the persecuted church there. Subscribe to VOM’s free magazine to read more about Matendo’s story in the January issue, as well as recieve the 2023 VOM Prayer Map. Listen to Brother Malik’s episode on VOM Radio to hear more about this Fulani Christian’s testimony.

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

    38 MIN
  • CAMBODIA: From Killing Fields To Harvest Fields

    Under the brutal control of the Khmer Rouge, Cambodia became known for the killing fields where more than a million people were executed. But today, the country is a field ripe for gospel harvest!

    Garth and Caroline Gustafson, who lead the work of Youth With a Mission (YWAM) in Cambodia, see seeds being planted and gospel workers sent out to impact generations to come. From the mid 1960s to early 2000s, Cambodia experienced war and political turmoil, the legacy of which still impacts its people. But God is changing a country that was known for killing to be known for His life-giving power, and now for training and sending out workers to restricted nations all over southeast Asia—nations where Christian persecution is common.

    Garth and Caroline serve in a YWAM training center in Cambodia focused on training local leaders to serve in their own country and into surrounding nations. Listen to hear about their work, and about how God is opening doors to impact people around them—even Buddhist monks.

    Garth and Caroline will also describe how God led them to serve full time with YWAM and how they train gospel workers who may face persecution for their witness. Garth tells the story of a close friend’s time in jail for his Christian faith—and the surprising reason for his release!

    They will help listeners pray for Cambodia and describe how it boosts their faith to hear the stories of persecuted Christians and their faithfulness to Jesus.

    You can connect with Garth and Caroline and with YWAM online.

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

    36 MIN
  • Changing Nations Through Our Prayers

    What might God do if you made the commitment to pray every day for a specific country? What doors might He open to connect with the people and even walk in the land?

    Two decades ago, Peter Smith and his wife were challenged to “adopt a country” and specifically pray every day for God’s Spirit to move in that place. The country God laid on their hearts was the Islamic Republic of Iran, a place where Christian persecution is common and missionaries are banned.

    Listen to learn how Peter and his wife began to pray; hear how God opened the door for him to visit Iran, “to go on site to gain God’s insights” about the Iranian people and ways to pray for them. He will also share how his whole family has made a conscious effort to reach out to Persian people living in the United States—and found amazing openness to the gospel. Just as Jesus had compassion on the multitudes, we can ask God for that same heart of compassion towards those around us.

    As you listen to VOM Radio this week, you’ll be challenged to make the same decision Peter and his family made all those years ago: adopt a country and consistently pray for the people there and specifically for God to work in that nation. Who knows the doors God will open in your life to minister to the people you’re praying for?

    If you’ve taken up the challenge to pray for a specific nation in 2023, please let us know!

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

    24 MIN
  • MISSIONS LEADERSHIP: Sending Gospel Workers Into Danger

    Lawrence Tong wakes up each morning excited to pursue this goal: vibrant communities of Jesus followers among the least reached. As the International Director for Operation Mobilization, he oversees the ministry of 5000 gospel workers—including many serving in places where Christians face intense persecution.

    Lawrence’s first taste of missions—and of the work of OM—came aboard a ship, docking at different ports to share the gospel and train up local Christians. Witnessing a spiritual fire among the young people on the boat, Lawrence committed two years to serving with OM. That commitment has now grown into more than 40 years of gospel work amongst the least reached!

    Listen as Lawrence shares about his six years of ministry work in China, and an update on the current challenges faced by persecuted Christians there.

    God is still calling people to go to dangerous places to share about Jesus. If you feel called to global gospel work, Lawrence will offer advice about how to think about, pray about and prepare for that calling. He’ll also equip listeners to pray for the persecuted church in Afghanistan, Nepal, and China to stay firm in faith, and help us pray for the work of OM around the world.

    To hear more about the history and work of Operation Mobilization, listen to previous VOM Radio conversations with founders George Verwer and Dale Rhoton, and also with OM-USA President Andrew Scott.

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

    24 MIN
  • FULANI CHRISTIAN: Preaching Christ in Africa

    Malik knew the missionary was a kind man. He felt badly that this kind man was going to hell. Malik, a member of the Fulani tribe and the son of a Quranic scholar, decided he would convince the Christian missionary to become a Muslim, so that he could go to paradise.

    The missionary refused to convert and told Malik that there were mistakes in the Quran. Malik set out to prove him wrong. He began to carefully study and compare the Bible with the Quran. He never did convince the missionary to accept Islam. Instead, Malik read through the Bible ten times, found truth in Jesus Christ and made the decision to follow Him.

    It was not a decision his Fulani family would easily accept. Family members told Malik he had shamed the family, and that if he didn’t return to Islam within three days they had the right to kill him. Malik says he was ready to die rather than renounce his new faith. Thankfully his life was spared.

    Listen as Malik shares his amazing testimony—and talks about his work now with Spirit of Martyrdom training pastors and evangelists to work in many parts of Africa, reaching more Muslims for Christ and sending out more gospel workers. Part of that training is preparing new Christians to stand up under persecution. Malik will also share specific ways to pray for God’s work among the Fulani people in Nigeria and other nations of west Africa.

    Never miss an episode of The Voice of the Martyrs Radio! Subscribe to the podcast.

    25 MIN
  • SOUTH ASIA: Obedience Over Comfort

    210 million people in Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, and the Maldives have yet to hear who Jesus is. Almost all the major world religions—including Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam—compete for the hearts and minds of people in these countries. Christian persecution is a regular part of following Christ. Pastors have been martyred for their faith, believers beaten and imprisoned, missionaries expelled, and churches burned or bombed.

    Tim and Dawn are gospel workers in the region, helping guide gospel efforts and workers. Listen as they unpack what it looks like to follow Christ in South Asia—and how we can pray for gospel advance in the region.

    Listen to hear how Christians in Sri Lanka responded to the Easter Sunday church bombings in 2019, and how recent political turmoil in that country has affected their work. They will also equip listeners to pray for persecuted Christians in other nations of South Asia.

    What has God put on your heart to do? Has he stirred up your heart for missions work in another country? Tim and Dawn say there’s a reason the Lord placed a particular people group or place on your heart. They will share practical next steps to explore God’s leading into missions. You can see opportunities to serve in their region at the Southern Asia Access web site.

    On the first Sunday in November, churches around the world will mark The International Day of Prayer for Persecuted Christians. You can join in prayer with your family, friends and church. Learn specific ways to pray by downloading free resources here, including a video telling Rebecca’s inspiring story from Nigeria.

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

    24 MIN
  • SOUTH ASIA: Never Heard the Name of Jesus

    Only 1.4% of people in Nepal are Christians. Hundreds of thousands of Nepali people live their entire lifetime without ever meeting anyone who follows Jesus. Hundreds of thousands of people in Sri Lanka (1.4% Christian), Bangladesh (0.4%), Bhutan (0.3%) and the Maldives (0.03%) also live and die without ever hearing the gospel message—or even the name of Jesus.

    God broke the hearts of Tim and Dawn for the lost people of South Asia—and called them to go and live in the region as ambassadors for Christ. Listen as they share their backgrounds, how that call came and some of the challenges of adjusting to life and raising a family in South Asia.

    Tim and Dawn will also share how they witness for Christ in the context of hostile and restricted nations where Christians are persecuted by speaking Biblical truth into peoples’ lives. Just as Jesus used parables to communicate spiritual truth, Tim and Dawn often share simple stories from the Bible, then invite their listeners to respond to the message of the story. Listen for the story of a Buddhist man responding to the story of Moses and the golden calf.

    The tools Tim and Dawn are using to spread the gospel—hospitality, conversation, simple Bible stories—are available to listeners in free nations, too. Who in your life could you share Biblical truth with this week?

    Pray for Tim and Dawn and their fellow gospel workers in South Asia.

    Don’t forget to access resources from The Voice of the Martyrs for the upcoming International Day of Prayer for Persecuted Christians. And never miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe to the podcast.

    25 MIN
  • Changed by Fellowship with Persecuted Christians

    The anxious mother in India had tried everything. Her son was very sick. It seemed he would soon die. She’d been to the Hindu temples and made offerings to many Hindu gods. Nothing had worked. Her son only became sicker. Then, a traveling salesman suggested that she pray to Jesus. She did—and her son was healed! Amazed and awe-struck, the mother and son hunted down the salesman to find out more about this Jesus who answers prayers. Today, her son is a pastor and evangelist who’s travelled more than 40,000 miles sharing the gospel. God is at work in hostile and restricted nations!

    That’s just one of the stories you’ll hear this week from David Witt, CEO of Spirit of Martyrdom and a former staff member at The Voice of the Martyrs. David will also share stories from his encounters with Richard and Sabina Wurmbrand, VOM’s founders, and the “holy experience” of visiting one of the prison cells where Richard was held in Communist Romania.

    David will also tell how he became aware of and involved in ministry to persecuted Christians, and how God used the attacks of 9-11 to draw the attention of American Christians to radical Islam and the scriptural call to love our enemies.

    Today, the ministry David leads is training up church planters and leaders in multiple countries—with an eye on training that’s easily reproducible to other potential leaders. Listen as he shares how those being trained immediately put their learning into action, and how we can pray for these frontline gospel workers.

    The International Day of Prayer for Persecuted Christians is coming soon. CLICK HERE to access resources—including a video about a persecuted Christian in Nigeria—to help your church, small group and family pray for persecuted Christians on this important day.

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

    25 MIN
  • UZBEKISTAN: Prayer Emboldens Persecuted Christians

    Last week, Brother Max shared his testimony of seeking God through following Islam then, when he met Jesus, finding a peace he’d never experienced before. After finding that peace, Max wanted to tell everyone he knew, but he was not prepared for how his community would react with anger and persecution.

    Max found it very natural to talk about Jesus with people who had known him before his salvation. They could see his life was drastically different, and they wanted an explanation. Brother Max was eager to share God’s Word with those who asked. He told them he’d found the ‘passport to heaven.’ But leaving Islam is not permitted, and his family and community persecuted him for his faith in Christ.

    His father could see how Max’s life had changed for the better—but still urged him to return to Islam. Max explained, “If I take Jesus from my heart, I will become the old Max again.” He challenged his father to read the New Testament.

    Persecuted first by those he knew, Max and his witness for Christ soon drew the attention of the government. He was arrested and interrogated by several police. It was a frightening experience; his legs shook with fear as the police questioned him and forced him to write a “confession” that would be used against him, dictating the words he was supposed to write.

    Christians gathered outside the police station, praying for Max during the interrogation. The presence and prayers of his Christian brothers and sisters encouraged Max, and a holy boldness came over him. He turned the table on the police, asking them questions instead of answering theirs.

    Listen as Brother Max shares how the Lord worked through that situation and later brought Max face to face with the one who prosecuted him—now a follower of Christ! He’ll also share about training new believers in Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Azerbaijan to withstand Christian persecution after they leave Islam to follow Jesus. “Our time is short,” he says, “so we should be ready to meet Jesus.”

    Max will also equip listeners to pray for Christians in the region—including those facing persecution. Listen to the first part of Max’s story here, and learn more about Max’s ministry, Global Teams, here.

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

    25 MIN
  • UZBEKISTAN: Adopted Into a New Family

    As a boy in Uzbekistan, Brother Max couldn’t imagine a God that cared about his life or had a plan for him. His biological parents didn’t want him. In his Islamic culture, he felt shame because he was adopted. He was consumed with the idea of getting revenge against his birth parents, who had abandoned him. Every day was dark. He felt hopeless and prayed every night that he would not wake up the next morning.

    When the Soviet Union collapsed, radical Muslim missionaries entered Uzbekistan to encourage young people raised under communism to pursue Islam. Max began training under an imam, seeking God, and learning more about how to pray to Allah in the required way and the history of Islam. But those lessons, and his increasing knowledge, never brought the peace he craved. Max had many questions about Islam. Why couldn’t Allah understand his native language? Did Prophet Mohammed’s life match his teachings? But Max was told to just accept the teachings, that his questions had no answers, and he should stop asking.

    Max first learned about the God who loved him from a friend whose life had been changed. Max wrestled with this new idea. How could God love me if my biological parents didn’t? If God loves me, why didn’t he help me achieve all the goals I had for my future?

    After wrestling spiritually for several months, Max came to fully trust Christ and seek forgiveness for his sin. Instantly, he felt differently. He finally felt peace in his heart, and from that moment his life changed completely. He started sharing his testimony with people who remembered how angry Max had been before Christ, explaining that he was a new creation! He even forgave his biological mother. As a new Christian, Max wasn’t worried about Christian persecution; he simply wanted to share what Jesus had done for him.

    Today Brother Max is serving the Lord with Global Teams, where he helps train others to evangelize Muslims and plant churches in hostile and restricted nations.

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

    25 MIN
  • MISSIONS: “They Can’t Kill Me Twice”

    Dr. Mike Fullingim felt the specific call to mission service while hearing a sermon from Jeremiah 5:19: “…you shall serve foreigners in a land that is not yours.” But as he looks back, he can see that even as a young boy God was drawing his heart toward missions and people different from him. Twelve years after hearing that sermon, Mike and his family went as missionaries to Papua New Guinea.

    Dr. Mike and his wife, Barbara, served eight years on the field, with a break between terms for him to pursue further linguistics education. In 1987, Dr. Mike was finishing his PhD in linguistics and anthropology. After completing his doctoral program, offers for teaching jobs flooded in. But his heart was still in PNG. As he sought God’s will, and considered his children’s educational needs, Dr. Mike took a one-year teaching job at Oklahoma Wesleyan University.

    As he wrestled with what direction God was leading, Dr. Mike read a quote from Dwight L. Moody: “It’s better to train ten people than to do the work of ten people.”

    Today, 35 years after signing that “one-year contract,” Dr. Mike is still training future missionaries at Oklahoma Wesleyan University. His former students—more than 200—are serving today as gospel workers around the world—including hostile and restricted nations where Christians are persecuted. One of his passions is helping students develop tools to learn language—a key factor in long-term fruitful service on the mission field.

    Listen as Dr. Mike shares about his missionary calling, how he wrestled with the painful decision not to return to PNG, and how we can pray for missionaries currently serving around the world—and for God to call forth more workers to go into ripe harvest fields, even in dangerous places.

    Read more about Dr. Mike Fullingim’s mission work and legacy of teaching at Oklahoma Wesleyan University here.

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

    35 MIN
  • MIDDLE EAST: “Forgiveness is a Decision”

    It’s a Bible verse all of us have quoted, one we’ve likely shared with a Christian friend in the midst of a difficult season: “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28

    After her husband Rami, a leader of the Bible Society in Gaza, was murdered, Pauline Ayyad wrestled deeply with this verse. What good would come of her husband being killed? What good could come from raising her two children—and the one about to be born—without their father? Pauline asked God why He even allowed her to marry Rami if he was chosen to die a martyr’s death?

    When Rami decided to leave a good, safe job at a bank, Pauline questioned the decision. The couple went into ministry serving kids through Awana, and Rami at the Bible Society, in 2005. Rami had peace about the transition, and eventually Pauline also felt at peace. They settled into what became normal life. Rami faced repeated threats, but refused to be afraid.

    “What can they do?” he asked. “The only thing they can do is kill me, and then it would be for Christ.”

    Then one day Rami didn’t arrive home from work. The next morning, Pauline learned that her husband’s body had been found. Pauline struggled and questioned God. She did not want to forgive Rami’s killer. She wanted the murderer to pay for his crime.

    Listen as Pauline shares how the Holy Spirit was at work, and the five-year journey that brought her to forgive her husband’s killer. She didn’t only quietly forgive in her heart, but posted a message of forgiveness on Facebook. That post has blessed many Christians and challenged many Muslims as it’s been read thousands of times—an incredible witness for the gospel and the power of God’s grace in the face of Christian persecution.

    Pauline will also share specific prayer requests for her family and for the church in Israel, including Gaza and the West Bank.

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

    24 MIN