ISRAEL: “My Faith in Christ Fulfills My Jewish Identity”
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Episodes

  • ISRAEL: “My Faith in Christ Fulfills My Jewish Identity”

    William Cameron Townsend said, "The greatest missionary is the Bible in the mother tongue. It needs no furlough and is never considered a foreigner." But what if the “mother tongue” is no longer easily understood? That can often be the case with the Bible in Israel.

    Listen as Brother Victor, the director of Israel Bible Society shares what God has done through their organization’s effort to spread God’s Word. It can still be difficult to find complete Hebrew Bibles in Israel. And the majority of the population in Israel cannot easily understand the original Hebrew text, which is now 2700 years old. That’s why the Israel Bible Society has created resources to help Hebrew speakers understand the original text with explanations in today’s Hebrew language.

    Sharing about Jesus or the Christian faith is often received negatively by Jews in Israel. Many think becoming a Christian means losing or even betraying their Jewish identity. But as more people in Israel choose to follow Christ, more Jews are acquainted with their own people who have believed in Christ as Messiah while keeping their Jewish roots.

    Bible work in Israel is not without opposition, and Victor will share stories of challenges he and the Bible Society have faced. He will also encourage us to pray for God’s Word to go forth in Israel and for God to open hearts to the gospel and increase a hunger for His Word across the Holy Land.

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    25 MIN
  • AFRICA: “The Church is the Pillar of Truth”

    Sean Paton enrolled in university to study pastoral ministry. But on the first day of his first class, the professor challenged students to think more broadly, to consider if God was calling them to take His love to people who hadn’t yet heard the name of Christ. Sean left class that day and changed his major to missions—and ever since he’s seen and lived a direct link between pastoral and missionary work.

    In recent years Sean has led VOM’s work serving Christians on the continent of Africa. Now he’s transitioning back into a pastoral role with an American congregation. Listen as he shares some of the stories he’ll take with him—like the story of meeting the wife and children of a long-imprisoned Eritrean pastor and being inspired by their faithfulness. Sean will tell how persecuted Christians like these impacted his own faith and understanding of the gospel.

    He will also encourage listeners to pray—with specific ideas on how to pray for VOM’s international staff that travel extensively and deal often with suffering and pain. Sean encourages pastors to incorporate our persecuted brothers and sister’s stories within their church services, such as during communion or prayer time, as weekly reminders that we are one body in Christ.

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    35 MIN
  • ISRAEL: “I Was Drawn to Jesus”

    Born and raised in Israel, Dr. Erez Soref knew well many of the places mentioned in the Bible and prominent in the story of the life of Christ. But he didn’t know about Jesus! Traveling outside his country, he met a group of Christians. Through their witness and by reading the New Testament for the first time, Soref was convinced in his heart that Jesus Christ was the Messiah for all–Jews and Gentiles.

    Returning to Israel, he was anxious to tell his family and others about his newfound faith. But when he did, he found that they weren’t nearly as excited about it as he was.

    Listen as he explains the situation today for Christians in Israel—a democracy where religious freedom is protected by law, but also a place where many don’t want to see the gospel spread. What does it mean to follow Christ? What sacrifices must new believers make? What does persecution look like? Why is it easier to find a Quran printed in Hebrew than a New Testament? And how can Christians in other nations pray for and support Israeli believers?

    Today, Dr. Soref is the president of One For Israel Bible College, which provides quality Biblical training to pastors and Christians leaders, as well as other Christians who want to deepen their Biblical understanding. He will share specific ways to pray for our brothers and sisters in Israel, including that they will continue to have open doors, legally, to share their faith.

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    24 MIN
  • MISSIONS: "There's Plenty To Do Everywhere"

    For almost 20 years, Brother David was a gospel worker in Turkey—until he was deported from the country and told he’d been permanently banned from reentry. His legal appeals to stay—to Turkey’s Constitutional Court and the European Court of Human Rights—have, so far, failed.

    In a holding cell, awaiting his final flight out of the country, David’s biggest disappointment was that he didn’t have cell mates with whom he could share Jesus!

    David and his family are currently doing gospel work in Muslim neighborhoods and on busy street corners in Germany. God continues to show why He brought David and his family to Europe through each ministry opportunity He sets before them. Living and working in a free country, David is shocked at busy street corners where no believers are taking advantage of their freedoms to witness to the lost. He challenges listeners to be more engaged in reaching the lost—wherever they are.

    David will give an update on the situation for persecuted Christians in Turkey and help us pray for the many gospel workers who’ve been forced to leave the country, and for Turkish Christians still serving Christ there.

    David previously shared about his gospel work in Turkey and the court case he’d filed to remain there. Listen to Part 1 and Part 2 of David’s previous conversations with VOM Radio.

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    24 MIN
  • SOUTH ASIA: Holding On To What We Know

    An imam (Muslim leader) in Bangladesh was reading the Quran when he came across the name of a person he didn’t know much about: Isa (Jesus). As a local mosque leader, he felt he should learn more about this person mentioned in the Quran, so he asked around his village for a book about Jesus. He was given a New Testament and began to read—and soon recognized that Isa is far more than a prophet. He’s the Son of God and the only way of salvation! But following Jesus can be dangerous in a place where Christians are persecuted, as this now-former imam learned.

    That’s just one of the stories you’ll hear this week from Matthew Hanson, VOM’s regional leader for South and Central Asia.

    Matthew will also share what Christians in India are facing in the face of a Hindu nationalist government and a nationwide network of radical Hindus infiltrating churches, persecuting pastors or instilling fear in the local people to persecute their own neighbors because of their faith. In spite of that persecution, though, he says Indian Christians—including children—are responding with grace and boldness to their persecutors.

    You’ll also hear the story of a Nepali missionary working in a difficult place—and how God miraculously helped her learn the language in only six months!

    Matthew will equip listeners to pray for our brothers and sisters in South Asia who are being disowned and threatened by family members because of the gospel. One Christian woman whose entire family rejected her said, “Jesus has given me life. He is real. He is the only God.” Pray believers in South Asia will continue to hold their confidence in Christ.

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    24 MIN
  • AFGHANISTAN: God Faithfully Protects His Children

    In 2021, as the US prepared to withdraw its military presence from the country, radical Islamist Taliban forces swept across Afghanistan. Many Christians—especially those publicly known to follow Jesus—needed to flee the country or risk immediate execution.

    Charmaine Hedding, president of The Shai Fund, has worked to help persecuted believers around the world since 2014. When Christians needed help getting out of Afghanistan, she and a committed team quickly stepped forward to help. They arranged flights, helped Afghan Christians hide and get to the airport, and helped find nations willing to accept them as refugees. They worked around the clock to help Afghan believers.

    Listen as Charmaine shares how she became involved in helping persecuted Christians, first-hand stories of the hardships Afghans faced, and God’s faithfulness to answer prayer amidst the chaos and upheaval of the Taliban takeover.

    She will also share specific ways we can continue to pray for our Afghan brothers and sisters in Christ—both those still living in Afghanistan and those who have relocated to surrounding Islamic Nations.

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    24 MIN
  • ERITREA: “God is Always Miraculous”

    Helen Berhane, worship leader and former prisoner in Eritrea, joined us last week to share the first part of her story: how she was persecuted for her faith and yet encouraged all believers to count the cost of following Christ. Helen is back this week for the second half of that conversation.

    Thankfully, she had access to the Bible while imprisoned, and the Lord revealed new wisdom and understanding of Him to her as she read from Genesis to Revelations 15 times!

    Her knowledge of Jesus increased, and the Holy Spirit gave her overwhelming love and forgiveness towards the ones persecuting her. Supernaturally, she knew when people were praying for her while she was in prison. Many letters were sent, from around the world, to encourage her in prison, and even though she was never able to read the letters, she knows they made a difference.

    Copies of Helen’s book, Song of the Nightingale, have been smuggled into Eritrea, and her story has encouraged many people toward faith in Christ. Continue to pray for believers currently in prison in Eritrea—an estimated 250 to 300 Christians as of June 2022, including five currently listed on PrisonerAlert.com.

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    24 MIN
  • ERITREA: “Everything Costs a Price”

    Helen Berhane was tortured then imprisoned in a metal shipping container in the African nation of Eritrea. But in spite of terrible persecution she kept singing praises to God!

    In 2002, the Eritrean government banned evangelical churches from holding public worship services – forcing Christians to meet illegally, in secret. Helen and other believers did not stop meeting, and it wasn’t long until she and many other persecuted Christians were imprisoned. Helen had intentionally prepared herself; she was ready to stand firm in her faith for Christ even in the face of the persecution she knew was coming. Everything, she says, has a price, including following Jesus.

    Listen as Helen shares how she prepared for her trials and the Bible verses that encouraged her even as she was held in the harshest of prison conditions. God’s presence continued to strengthen her to deny herself, stay disciplined and even gain a better understanding of Jesus’ suffering.

    Helen would cry – not because of the situation, but because of her experience of the unconditional love of God. And through it all, Helen chose joy and kept on singing. Instead of worshipping in the front of the church or in the spotlight, she worshipped simply in the presence of God.

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    24 MIN
  • John Chau: Going at Any Cost
    Romans 10:14 asks, “How are they to hear without someone preaching?”

    Dr. Pam Arlund, Global Training and Research Leader for All Nations International, joins The Voice of the Martyrs Radio this week to share about John Chau’s mission to North Sentinel Island, where he was killed in 2018. Arlund was part of screening John for mission service and training him to go and serve.

    As a teenager, John sensed God calling him to take the gospel to the Sentinelese people. For nine years, he prepared to go to the island, live among the people, learn their language and share Christ with them. John’s story and legacy are being commemorated this year on Day of the Christian Martyr.

    Listen as Arlund shares her memories of John, including his hunger for training and knowledge and his in-depth preparation and planning for life on the island. She’ll also talk about the days after John’s murder, the extreme pressure All Nations leaders experienced from media and others, and the surprising response from some North American Christians.

    Pam also shares how we can pray for North Sentinel Island and for God to raise up individuals willing to heed His call to missions and to take the gospel to the ends of the earth—even to places where Christian persecution is common.

    Read more about John Chau’s story and watch a video about his mission.

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    24 MIN
  • Preparing for Christian Persecution

    The Bible promises Christians will be persecuted (John 15:18-20; II Timothy 3:12), yet most Christians in the United States and other Western nations have not experienced persecution for their faith. But what if that’s changing? How should Christians in free nations prepare for possible future persecution?

    VOM Radio host, Todd Nettleton, shares specific lessons from Christians who have already faced persecution and victoriously endured. Todd will also share how followers of Christ in free nations can put these lessons into practice in our own spiritual walk, starting right now.

    Listen also for the blessings found in the midst of suffering for Christ and ways God uses persecution to grow and strengthen His church.

    In sharing these stories, Todd refers to several previous VOM Radio guests, including Helen Berhane from Eritrea, Nik and Ruth Ripken, Dan Baumann, David Byle and Pastor Hassan from Sudan.

    For more stories and lessons from persecuted Christians, read Todd’s book, When Faith is Forbidden: 40 Days on the Frontlines With Persecuted Christians.

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    30 MIN
  • IRAN: Multiplying God’s Church in Dangerous Places
    “Benesh” has been a believer in Christ less than five years, but in that short time she’s already planted more than 30 house churches in The Islamic Republic of Iran!

    Benesh grew up in a Muslim home, but over time she began to question many aspects of Islamic teaching. As a teenager, she overheard some women talking about the fact that Christian women—without the oppressive restrictions of Islam—were more free than Muslim women. Benesh was curious to know more about Christianity and the peace and love Jesus offers.

    While she was in college, Benesh’s father became very sick. Her mother prayed repeatedly to Allah to heal him, but it didn’t work. Her father died. Shortly after, her mother died also. Her grief at the loss of her parents pushed Benesh further to seek answers about Christ. First, she looked on the Internet. When she moved to a bigger city for employment, a coworker there invited her to a church meeting. Experiencing Christian worship and fellowship for the first time, she knew Jesus wanted her to put her faith and trust in Him.

    In spite of her parents’ death Benesh had peace from God, which shocked her sister and other family members. Many were curious why she was different, which gave her open doors to share Jesus. At first, Benesh feared what her family or others would say or do if she shared Christ with them, but she quickly overcame that fear when she realized how hungry Iranians are for the truth.

    Sharing your faith can be a dangerous task in Islamic countries, but Benesh was so focused on sharing the joy she’d found in Christ that she almost forgot about the threat of the Islamic regime! Listen as Benesh shares how we can pray for her ministry, for the Iranian regime, and for bold witnesses for Christ in the Middle East—and as she challenges every Christian to tell others about Jesus.

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    24 MIN
  • MISSIONS:  “Past the Grave into Eternity”

    As a missionary kid, Brother John was raised by parents focused on bringing glory to God’s Kingdom. His father taught theology in the Bahamas and eventually moved the family to an unreached area –British Guiana – so people there could know that true freedom is only in Jesus. As a grown man, John took his own family to serve among Muslims.

    Brother John is now the Vice President of Global Engagement for the International Mission Board, helping send missionaries and plant churches all over the world, with a special focus on unreached peoples and areas.

    Listen as Brother John shares the story of Dr. Martha Myers and other Christians who served in Yemen before being martyred for their faith in Christ. Yet even in that loss and heartache, the Lord moved to further His Word. With an emphasis on the authority of scripture in missions work, Brother John loves distributing audio Bibles since many unreached people are illiterate or prefer listening to the scriptures rather than reading. He’ll also tell of hearts transformed in the deaf community as they reach out with God’s Word.

    More than 90% of the IMB efforts are focused on reaching the unreached for Christ. Pray unreached peoples will encounter the gospel and that the Lord would open doors in restricted nations for Bibles to be distributed.

    Listen to Brother John’s previous interview on VOM Radio here where he shared how teaching your children foreign languages is a strategic plan to serve the Lord.

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    24 MIN
  • PAKISTAN: Sharing Christ from Streets to Seminary

    With a heart to share the gospel, Kenneth Charles has experienced the different forms of persecution Christians in Pakistan face. Kenneth experienced the reality of being persecuted for Christ even as a young boy. He first learned of The Voice of the Martyrs through Tortured for Christ; the book was translated into Urdu by Kenneth’s brother.

    Growing up in a Christian family living in an Islamic context, Kenneth knew persecution would come. When he was a young boy, a peer attacked him with a knife. He still bears the scar.

    Kenneth came to know Christ through a miraculous healing; a pastor then helped deepen his understanding of Biblical truth. The very next day, Kenneth was accompanying that pastor in ministry – sharing the gospel in villages around the country.

    Now, through God’s Vision Ministries, which he founded, Kenneth is distributing audio Bibles in the Urdu language, conducting street ministry, and giving seminary training to church leaders throughout Pakistan—and even in other nations. Listen as Kenneth discusses the great need for leadership training in Pakistan and equipping believers there to answer questions from their Muslim neighbors—many of whom are curious about Christianity.

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    24 MIN
  • MIDDLE EAST: God’s Kingdom is Coming
    Throughout the Middle East, Muslims are surrendering their lives to Christ—in spite of family pressure and overt persecution. VOM’s Middle East regional leader, Aaron Miller, shares stories from the region, and how we can pray for Christian brothers and sisters there.

    Join as Aaron discusses the situation for church planting in Turkey and the persecution in a place where being Muslim is seen as part of one’s national identity. You’ll also hear about a young husband who was training to be an Imam, qualified to teach the Quran, but has become a devoted follower of Christ. Facing persecution from their family, he and his wife have found a new family through fellow believers.

    Aaron will also share the intensity of persecution in Iraq, where lawlessness runs rampant. He will equip us to pray for the believers there. There are many individual cases of persecution—often coming from one’s own family. Aaron shares the heartbreaking story of a young daughter persecuted by her own father—all to punish her mother for leaving Islam to follow Jesus.

    Aaron reminds us that as God’s Kingdom advances, the enemy will fight back. Yet we see God’s kingdom prevailing and spreading throughout the Middle East.

    Pray for these dear families and churches living for Christ in spite of the cost. Pray for gospel workers in the region, and for VOM international ministry staff, that they would be renewed in their faith as they see and hear stories of persecution and seek to encourage believers living through it.

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    24 MIN
  • MIDDLE EAST: “Recovery is a Man Named Jesus”

    Joe and Dawn are back on VOM Radio share what the Lord has been doing through their discipleship training and Bible smuggling ministry in the Middle East. They will also share how God opened a new door to ministry among women trapped in prostitution.

    Joe and Dawn are involved in Bible delivery to persecuted Christians in Iran. Believers targeted by the Iranian regime face the challenging choice to flee the country or stay, knowing they could be imprisoned for their faith. A Christian sister has recently begun a two-year prison sentence, yet she reported to prison excited about the ministry opportunities God had prepared for her in prison.

    In spite of so much Christian persecution, thousands of Iranians are choosing to follow Christ. Joe says that for many of them, “Islam is getting old.” It is exciting for Joe and Dawn to be involved in the great harvest of church growth happening among people of the Middle East.

    There are also burdens Joe and Dawn carry as they labor in this ministry work. Listen to hear how they choose to give their anxieties to the Lord each day, and how they think about raising their children in a “dangerous” part of the world. They will share some of the key lessons they want their children to notice in their lives and in God’s work around them.

    Last time they visited VOM Radio, Joe shared his testimony of how he met Jesus as a prisoner through God’s Word, and how his life was completely changed. Listen here as he tells how God transformed him from a prisoner and criminal into a committed follower of Christ.

    Joe and Dawn will also encourage you to pray for open doors to deliver Bibles across all parts of Iran, and for their family during a season of rest and Sabbath with the Lord.

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    34 MIN
  • Ramadan: Pray Constantly for Muslims

    Muslims around the world are commemorating the holiest month on the Islamic calendar: Ramadan. Muslims fast from sunup to sundown as a way to dedicate themselves to Allah and earn his approval. It is a strategic time for Christians to pray fervently for the Holy Spirit to reveal Jesus and the truth of the gospel during Muslims’ heightened spiritual interest.

    Listen as guests explain the significance of Ramadan, then lead in praying for Muslims to encounter Christ during this month. They will also help listeners pray for persecuted Christians serving amongst Muslims. Our guests, who work in Muslim nations and among Muslims, will provide specific ways we can pray during this Ramadan month and especially the “Night of Power.”

    Set a reminder to pray each day during this pivotal time for the Holy Spirit to reveal Christ to Muslims during Ramadan--through dreams and visions, a Christian friend, a Bible, gospel broadcast, social media post or in some other way.

    Guests leading us in prayer include:

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    24 MIN
  • MISSIONS: “I Want to Be Faithful in My Generation”
    After serving as a gospel worker in western China for ten years, Dr. Pam Arlund now serves on the International Leadership Team for All Nations International, training and sending the next generation of missionaries. God called her to the unreached in China through examples of great missionaries like Hudson Taylor and Robert Morrison.

    Pam had never left the U.S. before she moved to China. She trusted the Lord would protect her and guide her in building relationships with local people. Like many missionaries, she went through different emotions and difficulties. Yet, her obedience in difficult seasons allowed her to develop a deeper relationship with Jesus.

    Listen as Pam shares some of her experience on the field, and how that influenced the way she trains gospel workers today. She will also introduce her new book, Stick Figures Save the World, which explains how simple drawings can help anyone be a witness for Christ.

    Pam will also talk about the responsibility of sending missionaries to hard and dangerous places—places where Christian persecution is intense. Finally, Pam shares how we can pray for missionaries we know and encourage them as they persevere in the Lord’s call on their life.

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    31 MIN
  • Afghanistan Under Taliban Control: How Is It Now?

    Last year the world witnessed thousands of Afghans fleeing their country as the Taliban took control of Afghanistan. This week John Weaver, who lived for years in Afghanistan and speaks daily with people still inside the country, shares what is happening now under the Taliban government—especially with regard to our Christian brothers and sisters.

    Although many Afghans fled, many have stayed—including Afghan believers in Jesus. Everyone in Afghanistan is dealing with a disrupted economy, with some losing jobs, and others losing family and friends and all dealing with lack of available resources. Amidst Islamist oppression, there are opportunities for Christians to serve and be a witness. The church is underground, a persecuted minority, meeting in small groups yet still quietly finding ways to share the gospel.

    Afghans are also being reached in the countries to which they have fled—including via social media. Refugees have gone through trauma and stress. Yet, they have been welcomed into other countries—often more welcomed by Christians than fellow Muslims, which gives new opportunities to share the gospel.

    John will share stories of prayers that have been answered since the Taliban takeover—and give listeners current needs to lift in prayer on behalf of Afghan Christians—our brothers and sisters in faith.

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    34 MIN
  • Muslims in Turkey: Curious about Christ
    Soner Tufan says many Muslims in Turkey no longer believe Islam can answer the needs of their heart—or their country. Soner leads Radio Shema, broadcasting the gospel message, encouraging persecuted Christians and reaching curious Muslims all over Turkey.

    And God is multiplying the reach of His message. During Covid quarantine, Radio Shema used digital platforms like Instagram to reach millions of people, seeing ten times more feedback from listeners and twenty times more responses from people coming to faith!

    Soner also shares memories of his three friends, martyred 15 years ago this month in the offices of a Christian publishing house in the city of Malatya. Soon after the killings, four teenagers came to the radio station where one threatened Soner: “If you say anything, I will kill you.”

    Soner will also help us pray for Christians in Turkey, and for the ministry of Radio Shema. Pray for protection and courage for Christians in Turkey as they face strong opposition. Pray for effective discipleship to raise up more pastors and leaders for the persecuted church, and pray many more Muslims in Turkey will hear the gospel.

    Soner is also praying for more radio stations—he estimates that 95% of the people in Turkey have not yet heard the gospel message. Last week, Soner shared how he came to faith in Christ after growing up Muslim, the opposition from his family and friends, and how the ministry of Radio Shema came to be. Listen to last week’s episode here. 

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    24 MIN
  • Christian Radio in Turkey: “How Can We Be Quiet?”

    “I’m proud of being Turkish and, at the same time, I am a follower of Jesus Christ.”

    Soner Tufan’s words may not seem remarkable to people in Western nations. But in Turkey, where people consider being Muslim an inherent part of their identity and culture, his words immediately capture attention. Radio Shema, the ministry Soner leads, is broadcasting the gospel message all over Turkey, along with the testimony that a person can be a patriotic Turk and also a follower of Jesus.

    His message is being received—by Turks curious about Jesus and by those opposed to the gospel. Soner received a 14-page threat letter from ISIS. He’s lived under 24-hour police protection. He says more threats come every week. But he’s seen the Turkish church grow from a handful of believers to thousands, and he refuses to turn away from the work God has called him to.

    Soner became a Christian in 1985 through the witness of his Taekwondo instructor. At that time, there were perhaps fifty Christians in Turkey. Today, there are 7,000, and one of the key ways God is reaching Turks is through radio and TV broadcasting. Listen as Soner shares how God opened the door for Christian radio broadcasts in an Islamic nation—even while constructing a church building was impossible!

    Soner will share more details of his life as a Christian, the amazing transformation of his brother—who persecuted Soner when he became a Christian—turning to Jesus, and how God has made the impossible happen with Radio Shema in Turkey.

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    24 MIN