LIBYA: “Jesus Is Worth Dying For”
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LIBYA: “Jesus Is Worth Dying For”
November 27, 2021
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Episodes

  • LIBYA: “Jesus Is Worth Dying For”

    On December 5, 2013, Ronnie Smith was shot and killed in the Libyan city of Benghazi. In this second half of our interview with Anita Smith, Ronnie’s widow, she talks about the legacy her husband left and the faith she continues to exercise in raising their son without his earthly father around.

    Shortly after Ronnie’s death, Anita spoke in media interviews about her love for the Libyan people and about forgiving her husband’s murderers—including interviews in Arabic with Middle East broadcasters.

    Anita will share some of the things she wants their son to know about his earthly father, and ways God has encouraged and sustained her in the eight years since Ronnie’s murder. She’ll also talk about how the testimonies of other Christians facing persecution and hardship encouraged her faith.

    If you missed the first half of the conversation with Anita, listen here. Never miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe to the podcast.

    24 MIN
  • LIBYA: She Forgave Her Husband’s Killers

    On December 5, 2013, Ronnie Smith was shot and killed in the Libyan city of Benghazi. Within days, Ronnie’s wife, Anita, spoke on national TV in the US about her love for the Libyan people and about forgiving her husband’s murderers. She also did interviews—in Arabic—that were broadcast all over the Middle East.

    Listen to Anita Smith share the story—the story of her grief, but also the story of how God was present in those days, and in the years since.

    She’ll talk about how God inspired her and Ronnie to pursue overseas gospel work—and how they prayed as they moved to Benghazi just months after the US consulate was overrun by Islamist fighters. She’ll tell how their neighbors welcomed and adopted them—and about the day she received the terrible phone call that Ronnie had been killed.

    Listen next week for Part 2 of our conversation with Anita Smith.

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

    24 MIN
  • Christian Persecution Isn’t Strange, But Sacred

    Aaron Miller leads VOM’s work in the Middle East. Recently he spoke in a college chapel, including telling the story of an experience of persecution he endured in India.

    Aaron says even though the Bible promises Christians will face persecution, in that moment of suffering as he was punched and kicked he was surprised. But something else happened as well: he experienced God’s presence and grace in a significant and sacred way.

    “In a way that I never dreamed of, I had a fellowship with Christ that I did not have before,” he says of that day.

    Aaron also shares stories of persecuted Christians in Colombia, Bangladesh and the Middle East.

    Aaron Miller has previously appeared on VOM Radio; you can hear some of those conversations here, here and here. Our thanks to Reformation Bible College for permission to share Aaron’s chapel presentation with VOM Radio listeners.

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

    24 MIN
  • IDOP 2021: Let’s Pray Together for Persecuted Christians

    Join us this week for a podcast concert of prayer on behalf of persecuted Christians around the world in commemoration of the International Day of Prayer for Persecuted Christians (IDOP).

    Leaders from among VOM’s international ministry regions will talk about specific prayer needs in their region of the world, then lead in prayer for persecuted brothers and sisters in those regions. Author John Weaver will lead a special time of prayer for Afghanistan and Christians there in light of the upheaval and transition that took place in that nation this year. Former prisoner for Christ Petr Jasek will lead in prayer specifically for Sudan in light of the recent coup.

    Join in prayer for persecuted Christians this week on VOM Radio, then pray throughout the year with help from VOM’s Global Prayer Guide, iCommitToPray.com or the 2022 VOM Prayer Calendar.

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

    38 MIN
  • SABINA MOVIE: The Heart of the Gospel is Forgiveness

    John Grooters is the director of a new movie portraying the marriage, choice to become Christians and early persecution of VOM's founders, Richard and Sabina Wurmbrand—told through the eyes of Sabina. SABINA: Tortured For Christ, The Nazi Years will screen in more than 800 theaters in the US for three days only – November 8, 9 and 10. Buy tickets here.

    Grooters also directed Tortured For Christ – The Movie, which portrayed how the Wurmbrands were persecuted under communists in Romania. SABINA is a prequel to the first film, telling an earlier part of the Wurmbrands’ story, including their persecution—and how they blessed—Nazi forces that occupied their nation.

    Listen as John talks about the challenge of making a film in the Wurmbrands’ native Romania in the midst of a worldwide Covid-19 pandemic. John will also share how God’s hand was on the production, including filming the scene of Richard’s baptism in the very room where it happened!

    You’ll hear how Richard and Sabina’s faith has impacted Grooters as he spent five years deeply connected to their story as he created two films, and how he hopes it will impact the faith of viewers around the US and all over the world.

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

    37 MIN
  • 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?

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

    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