Paul felt God speaking to him, and the message was clear: “Get off this bus. Right now!” Paul obeyed, and his obedience saved his life.
Jesus told His followers to deny themselves, take up their cross and follow Him. God still calls His children to the uncomfortable, and even the dangerous. Paul, who leads the work of Youth With a Mission (YWAM) in Nigeria, shares this week on VOM Radio how God called him to minister in a difficult and dangerous part of Nigeria—a place where Christian persecution is a constant reality. He’ll also share how God protected him as he answered God’s call—including getting him off of that bus.
Today, many of Paul’s coworkers in gospel work are former radical Muslim persecutors of Christians miraculously transformed by the love of Jesus.
We’ll also hear from Paul Childers, who leads YWAM’s University of the Nations in Kona, Hawaii. Childers offers an encouraging update on what God is doing around the world from his front-row seat to missions work in many nations. He’ll talk about a move of God that’s raising up a generation of people willing to truly take up their cross and follow God’s call to any place on earth, no matter how difficult or dangerous.
Bob Fu is founder and president of the China Aid Association, and he’s one of the most knowledgeable people in the world on the Christian persecution in China. He’ll help explain why the Chinese government is cracking down on churches—even registered, “legal” churches— and how it is demanding Christians’ first loyalty be to the Communist Party and President Xi Jinping.
Wang Yi, pastor of Early Rain Covenant Church, was sentenced to nine years in prison by a Chinese court. Listen as Fu describes current oppression of the church in China—and how the church is responding. How can government leaders in free nations respond, and will it make a difference?
Bob will also share an update on the “prison ministry” of pastor John Cao—including a poem Cao wrote about God’s faithfulness to him in prison and his love, even for his persecutors. Pastor Cao is one of the Chinese prisoners you can write letters to through PrisonerAlert.com.
Use the link below to order a copy of Bob’s book, God’s Double Agent.
Jonathan Ekman is VOM’s vice president for international ministry, overseeing VOM’s work to serve and stand with persecuted Christians in the 70+ countries where they are persecuted. This week he’ll help us look ahead to 2020 and equip us to pray for persecuted Christians—and for VOM workers who directly serve them—in the New Year.
Jonathan will talk about persecution response, including specific examples of what VOM’s work looks like and how it is carried out inside hostile and restricted nations. He’ll talk about specific places where the need for VOM’s work is increasing, including India, China and Iran. He’ll also talk about how VOM’s staff members think about risk as they work in hostile and restricted nations—and what kind of people he’s looking for to join VOM’s international ministry team.
To help you pray effectively for persecuted Christians in 2020, request your free copy of VOM’s newly-released 2020 Global Prayer Guide.
Listen to Jonathan’s message—previously broadcast on VOM Radio—entitled “The Gospel Wildfire.”
This week, we’ll finish our two-part look back at some of the amazing stories God allowed VOM Radio to tell in 2019. We’ll share stories of God’s people in restricted nations in Asia, and look at how persecution affects not only the Christian being persecuted directly, but their family members as well.
Hearing small pieces of these episodes will make you want to hear the whole conversation with each of these guests. Here are links to listen online to all the episodes excerpted this week (you can also search for each episode in your favorite podcast app):
Brother Enfu from China, who sees constant government surveillance as an opportunity to witness for Christ.
Another pastor from China shares about why China’s government is so worried about church growth.
Brother Josh tells the story of a Christian in Laos who was fired from his job for following Jesus.
Dr. Eric Foley shares the amazing faithfulness of Pastor Han, martyred by North Korean agents inside China.
Norine Brunson was very intentional to encourage her husband, Pastor Andrew Brunson, while he was in prison in Turkey, and she shares how much the prayers of Christians around the world meant to her and Andrew. Andrew shares about one of the low points of his imprisonment, and how he felt victorious even in that low moment.
Dr. Mary Ho paints for listeners a clearer picture of John Chau, the young man martyred on North Sentinel Island in 2018.
Rashin Soodmand remembers her father, martyred in Iran when Rashin was only 13 years old.
Susanna Koh tells us the pain of missing her husband, Pastor Raymond Koh, who was abducted in Malaysia almost three years ago. Esther Koh talks about trying to forgive those who abducted her father, without knowing what happened to him or what exactly she needs to forgive. (You can sign a petition on behalf of Pastor Raymond Koh at www.ReleaseRaymond.com.)
Please share this episode with Christian friends who share your heart for our persecuted Christian family in hostile and restricted nations.
This week and next on VOM Radio, we’ll look back at some of the amazing stories God has allowed us to tell in 2019. This week we’ll focus especially on stories of God’s work in Muslim nations, places like Iran, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Afghanistan and other Islamic nations where Christians often face persecution.
Hearing small pieces of these conversations will make you want the whole story from each of these guests. Here are links to listen online to all the episodes excerpted this week (you can also search for each episode in your favorite podcast app):
VOM this week issued a Special Report about the church in Iran—a timely subject in light of current mass protests all over that nation. This special bonus episode of VOM Radio works hand-in-hand with that special report to help you understand current events in Iran and how they are affecting our Christian brothers and sisters there.
Peter Smith has been praying for and watching events in Iran for more than two decades. He’s made connections with Christian workers inside the country and Persian ministries around the world, giving him a unique understanding of what is happening in the country and how the church is being impacted.
Request your copy of the VOM Special Report about the church in Iran.
Listen to how Peter came to adopt Iran for prayer—and the blessings that resulted—in this episode of VOM Radio. Also, search for other guests involved in ministry to Iran by using the search bar at www.VOMRadio.net.
“Sister Nilufar” (not her real name) is ministering in the name of Jesus and sharing the gospel inside the Islamic Republic of Iran—a nation riven by protests and upheaval in recent weeks. It’s also a nation where Christians are persecuted by their government.
Listen as Nilufar tells the story of a young woman, Eldora, who became a follower of Christ—leaving behind a difficult life and becoming a bold witness among members of her family. God revealed the pain in her past and rescued her from a life of depression and addiction.
Eldora immediately began to bring friends and family members to meet the Savior who had rescued her life, and God revealed to Nilufar that He had significant plans for one of Eldora’s friends, Sara, like the Samaritan woman in John 4.
You’ll be encouraged and amazed as you hear stories of God working in miraculous ways inside Iran—inspiring Christians with specific ways to share the gospel and reach out to their countrymen.
VOM just issued a special report on current events and how they are affecting the church in Iran. Request your copy at www.VOMRadio.net/IranReport.
Javed and Lowen are working with Operation Mobilization to reach people in Afghanistan with the gospel and disciple new believers to follow Jesus in spite of persecution and violence. Listen as they share how God is working in Afghanistan, in spite of Taliban influence and Christian persecution that often starts with a new believer’s own family.
What are the challenges Afghan believers face? And what are the response of Afghans—both positive and negative—when they encounter the gospel of Jesus Christ?
There is encouraging news as well: the Afghan church is growing, and Muslims are seeing the difference Jesus makes. Listen for the story of a threatened Christian family who were defended by their Muslim neighbors.
Javed and Lowen will also help us understand how to pray for Afghanistan and for the church there—and why that ministry is so important right now.
Finally, they will share insights on ministering to Muslims, including five F’s to help American believers reach out to Muslims living here in the United States.
YouVersion’s Bible App was one of the very first apps available to install on an iPhone. Since launch, the app has been installed on 400 million devices worldwide, giving people all over the world—including nations where Christians are persecuted—free access to God’s Word.
But Brian Russell, the man who leads the YouVersion team, doesn’t have a background as a tech entrepreneur. Instead, his background is ministry, including living and doing gospel work in a closed country.
Listen as Brian talks about his ministry work, how VOM influenced him, and the how the Bible App was created—as a side project. He’ll also share about the reach YouVersion has today and the impact it’s making by putting God’s Word into the hands and hearts of people all over the world.
Thirty years ago this month the Berlin Wall came down. Within days, communism had fallen in Eastern Europe. This week we’ll hear how these events affected Christians living behind what had been the Iron Curtain, from two eyewitnesses.
Petr Jasek grew up behind the wall as the son of a pastor in Czechoslovakia, and saw the dramatic changes first-hand as fellow Christians celebrated opportunities they’d never imagined under communism. He will talk about those exciting days in his country, and how the legacy of persecution still affects the Czech church today.
Merv Knight is the co-founder of VOM-Australia and a long-time associate of Richard and Sabina Wurmbrand, VOM’s founders. He’ll share how VOM responded to the wall’s fall, immediately swinging into action to take aid and Bibles to brothers and sisters in newly-freed nations. At the time, many thought that the window of freedom might not remain open for long. Christians that VOM workers found were desperate for God’s Word and thrilled to have access to Bibles and other evangelism tools.
In 2016, missionaries Norine Brunson and her husband, Pastor Andrew Brunson, were arrested in Turkey. Norine was released 12 days later, but Andrew remained in prison for two years. Norine remained in Turkey throughout his imprisonment to support Andrew and fight for his freedom.
Listen as Norine tells VOM Radio how she helped Andrew battle for his faith and freedom as she watched him suffer and as they both missed significant family events in the United States during Andrew’s imprisonment.
Hear Norine describe the lowest point in Andrew’s imprisonment and how she saw God bring good out of even the darkest days of Andrew’s discouragement and doubt.
Norine also shares with VOM Radio listeners how they can pray for the nation of Turkey as well as for the families of Christians imprisoned because of their faith in Christ.
Dr. Mary Ho, executive leader of All Nations, is back to continue our discussion of the life and legacy of John Chau, killed one year ago this month attempting to take Jesus’ love to the people of North Sentinel Island. John’s sacrifice has drawn comparisons to Jim Elliott and Nate Saint, and Mary will talk about the qualities they shared, especially a sacrificial, deep love for Jesus.
Mary will tell us more about All Nations, the ministry she leads which sent John to the island, including how they train missionaries and church planters all over the world and then coach each one as they put their training into practice. She will also discuss what it will take to reach the hardest places—places like North Sentinel Island—with the gospel message.
John Chau felt called to North Sentinel Island after reviewing this list of unreached people groups; would you consider choosing one unreached people group to specifically pray for?
One year ago this month, John Chau gave his life for Jesus Christ and the gospel on North Sentinel Island, and island in the Bay of Bengal governed by India.
Dr. Mary Ho is the executive leader of All Nations, the mission organization that sent out John Chau and sends gospel workers all over the world, including countries where Christians are persecuted. Listen as she describes the John Chau she knew: unassuming, humble, soft-spoken, and with a clear calling from God to go to the people of North Sentinel Island.
Dr. Ho will also talk about the criticism that came after John’s death—in secular media and even from within the church, and describe her own perspective on fulfilling the Great Commission and how missionaries bring blessings, not problems, to the nations where they go.
John was a young man when he went to the island, but he was not unprepared for challenges he might face there. Mary will tell us how much effort John put forth—years of effort—preparing to arrive on the beach that sunny morning last November.
This is Part 1 of our conversation with Dr. Mary Ho; tune in next week to hear Part 2 as we continue to honor the life and sacrifice of John Chau.
The world knew Pastor Han Chung-Ryeol as a persecuted Christian pastor and a man who served North Korean refugees crossing into China—in spite of threats and danger.
Dr. Eric Foley, the leader of VOM-Korea, knew Han as coworker and friend. This week Dr. Foley shares personal stories of the courageous pastor murdered by North Korean agents inside China. Pastor Han’s story is the subject of this year’s International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church video from VOM.
Just months before Pastor Han’s murder, he visited Dr. Foley and they talked openly about the threats against Pastor Han’s work. One of Han’s coworkers had already been kidnapped and taken to prison in North Korea. There were threats the same thing could happen to Pastor Han.
But Pastor Han reminded the Foleys that the shepherd’s job is to care for the sheep—and his sheep were along the North Korean border, where they needed their shepherd. He was willing not only to go, but to lay down his life for the sheep God had entrusted to his care.
Listen and be inspired by the example of faithfulness, commitment and courage lived out by Pastor Han Chung-Ryeol, and prepare your heart and your church to pray for persecuted Christians in North Korea and around the world on the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church, November 3.
Also listen to Dr. Foley’s previous visit to VOM Radio, where he discussed why the North Korean regime of the Kim family is so threatened by Christianity.
Pastor Andrew Brunson, author of a new book called God’s Hostage, was imprisoned in Turkey for two years, and he says every single day was a battle to overcome his fear and grief and anxiety. One of those who inspired him in these battles was Richard Wurmbrand, VOM’s founder. In Part 2 of our interview with Brunson, he explains how Wurmbrand inspired him to dance inside his prison cell. He says he didn’t feel joy or happiness, but he set his will to act joyfully in spite of his feelings.
Brunson was also inspired by another former prisoner for Christ (and VOM Radio guest), Dan Baumann, to lock away doubts and questions and choose to leave those in God’s hand. Brunson says he told God from his prison cell, “I don’t need answers to have a relationship with You.”
Listen as Andrew shares how he came to “embrace my assignment” of being in prison for Christ.
Andrew will share about the song God birthed in his soul while he was locked in prison, and how his heart changed over long months in prison to a posture of faithfulness and trust in spite of not seeing his outward circumstances change. That heart change, he says, was his victory over the terrible circumstances and injustice he faced in prison.
Finally, Brunson will tell the story of a letter he wrote to Norine that clearly demonstrated his changed heart as he expressed commitment to drink every drop that the Lord had ordained for him to drink from the “cup of suffering.”
Pastor Andrew Brunson spent two years in Turkish prisons accused, among other “crimes,” of helping plot a coup against President Erdogan’s government there.
There were very dark days for Brunson, isolated in prison and wondering why God seemed silent in his time of suffering. Listen as he shares how he poured out his frustrations to God, but ultimately chose to lean into God—even if God seemed to remain distant.
Through those dark days, Andrew's wife, Norine served as his pastor and encourager, the only Christian he was allowed contact with. Listen as he tells how she was “heroic” in standing with him in spite of risks to her own freedom.
Pastor Brunson also took strength from the stories of other Christians who suffered persecution. One of those was Richard Wurmbrand, founder of The Voice of the Martyrs and the author of Tortured for Christ and other books. Andrew says he “spent a lot of time with Richard Wurmbrand in prison,” through Richard’s writings.
Andrew tells the entire story in a new book, God’s Hostage, which you can order here (affiliate link).
Prior to the start of Andrew’s trial in Turkey, his daughter Jacqueline was our guest on VOM Radio. You can hear our conversation with her here.
Gary Lane has been telling the stories of persecuted Christians for decades. As International News Director and Senior Correspondent for CBN News, he’s gone to meet them—he’s traveled to more than 100 countries—and been drawn not only to tell their stories, but also actively serve and stand with bold believers enduring persecution.
A month after 21 Christians were martyred by ISIS on the beach in Libya, Gary went to Egypt to meet the families of many of those beheaded on the sand. When he met these families—just weeks after their loved ones were killed—he was moved and challenged by their strong faith. They told him what an honor it was that their loved ones had died for Christ, and expressed forgiveness to the ISIS murderers.
Gary also served three years on staff at VOM. He’ll share how he encountered VOM workers on the front lines in Sudan and how that led to a cooperative effort between VOM and Operation Blessing—and eventually to Gary serving on VOM’s staff.
Gary will tell about his first encounters with persecuted Christians, and how he transitioned from simply being a neutral observer, reporting on their suffering to actively providing help as a brother and fellow member of the Body of Christ.
Brother Rachid is the host of an Arabic-language television program, answering on-air questions that Muslims have about faith and about Jesus Christ. The first day his program went on the air, Rachid was hoping 10 or 20 Muslims might call in with questions. They received 800 calls in the first half hour!
He knows first-hand the persecution that comes when a Muslim rejects Islam: Rachid’s own family kicked him out when he became a Christian.
Listen as Rachid shares his story of coming to Christ, his family’s rejection and what it meant for him to come into fellowship with other Arab Christians. He’ll also help listeners understand some of the teachings of Islam that directly contradict the gospel message—and advise us on reaching out to Muslims we know.
You can watch a video about Brother Rachid’s testimony here.
September marks the five-year anniversary of VOM Radio, and all month we’ve heard clips from powerful stories God has allowed VOM Radio to share over the past five years. This week: a clip from “Sister Amber,” who was arrested in Tibet. You can hear her entire, powerful testimony here.
This week we’ll meet the pastor of an unregistered church congregation in China. Because of the danger to him for sharing his story, we aren’t sharing his name and you’ll only hear the voice of his translator during the interview.
He’s been detained by police more than 20 times, and he says of course there is fear when police raid his church or come to arrest him. But he’s seen God work through him inside prison cells, including seeing fellow prisoners come to Christ for the first time, and says he’s willing to go back to prison if his being there is part of God’s purpose.
He’ll give an update on the current wave of persecution in China, and talk about why the Communist Party leaders are so afraid of the growth of the church. Finally, the pastor will give specific ways to pray for the nation of China as a whole, and for the church there, including Christians currently in prison for their faith in Christ.
We’ll also hear, as we continue to commemorate the five-year anniversary of VOM Radio, from a man detained inside North Korea—just one of many powerful stories God has allowed VOM Radio to share over the past five years. (You can hear his complete story here.)
Brother Semeone is a church leader from Ethiopia—a country with a long Christian history, but where persecution can come from different directions, often beginning with members of a new convert’s own family.
Learn some of the history of the church in Ethiopia—including how persecution and hardship have helped the gospel spread. “Persecution,” he says, “has its own way of purifying the church.”
Semeone will also share how the church—within Ethiopia and around the world—steps in to help Ethiopian Christians in times of trouble, and what it means to him to be a part of the extended family of God.
We’ll also continue our commemoration of the five-year anniversary of VOM Radio this month by looking back at another powerful moment from the past five years as “Dr. Andrew” shares about the terror he feels when police detain or interrogate him—and how he overcomes that fear by focusing on Who God is. You may want to go back and listen online to our full conversation with Dr. Andrew. Listen to Part 1 and Part 2.