CHINA: Pandemic and Persecution
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CHINA: Pandemic and Persecution
July 11, 2020
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Episodes

  • CHINA: Pandemic and Persecution

    In spite of the COVID-19 pandemic in China, the government’s focus on persecuting Christians and closing churches hasn’t faded. In fact, there’s been an increase in persecution in recent months as Chinese Communist Party leaders continue their efforts to control the hearts and minds of the people.

    Churches have been closed. Pastors have been arrested. But Chinese Christians are responding with boldness, finding new ways to spread the gospel even amidst pandemic and persecution.

    “Brother Joel” helps VOM distribute Bibles in every part of China, and this week he’ll share what’s happening with the church in China. How is coronavirus affecting the church? Why does the Communist Party fear Christians so much? What does persecution in China look like right now?

    Never miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe on your favorite podcast service.

    24 MIN
  • ERITREA: The Valley of Death

    Americans will celebrate Independence Day on July 4th. And while Americans celebrate freedom and liberty, 600 persecuted Christians in the African nation of Eritrea will spend another weekend in prison—some of them have been in prison more than 15 years!

    Dr. Berhane knows what it’s like inside Eritrean prisons. He spent 11 months in prison for his faith in Christ. But, even in prison, he saw God’s hand at work and found opportunities to witness to others—including prisoners about to be executed. Imagine the feeling as prison guards would read the names of prisoners scheduled for execution that day, each prisoner wondering if this was the day their name would be on that terrible list.

    Yet in the midst of suffering and executions, Dr. Berhane says he experienced an inner peace through the presence of Jesus Christ. “Whenever I read the Scripture,” he says, “it’s full of persecution.” Listen as he explains how there is more freedom for Christians to worship inside Eritrean prisons than for Christians outside of prison.

    Today, Dr. Berhane is a voice for persecuted Christians in Eritrea through Release Eritrea, a UK-based charity. Be inspired as he shares his own story, and equips every listener to pray for Christians in Eritrea, including those 600 currently in prison.

    You can write letters on behalf Christians in prison in Eritrea through PrisonerAlert.com.

    Never miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe on your favorite podcast service.

    24 MIN
  • The Power of the Gospel on Radio

    Ed Cannon is the President and CEO of FEBC. For 75 years, FEBC has been using radio to communicate the gospel to the least-reached people on earth. Their radio signals—and internet connections, smartphone apps and social media feeds—reach people speaking 129 languages in 50 countries. Included in those countries are hostile and restricted nations where Christians are persecuted for their faith in Christ.

    Ed has travelled the world to meet and support the broadcasters—including a 10-hour stay in jail when police discovered him carrying Christian materials for distribution in a hostile nation. Listen as Ed talks about the workers who lead FEBC’s in-country work, and how their commitment to Christ and to sharing the gospel inspires Ed’s own walk with Christ.

    Listen as Ed shares how FEBC signals and content are reaching minority language groups, including a Khmu language broadcast sponsored in part by VOM.

    Never miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe on your favorite podcast service.

    24 MIN
  • Day of the Christian Martyr 2020

    Brother Jeremy, VOM’s deputy regional director for Africa, met Mary Sankagui just days after her husband—a pastor in Central African Republic—was killed for his faith in Christ and his ministry in a Muslim neighborhood. In spite of her loss, the woman Jeremy encountered had a deep sense of joy. Listen to hear Jeremy share the story of Pastor Jean-Paul Sankagui, and give us an update on current persecution in CAR and how the church there is responding and training the next generation of church leaders.

    Cole Richards, VOM’s President, joins us first to talk about Day of the Christian Martyr (free resources here). How are Christians in free nations inspired by stories of exemplary Christians who served in the face of persecution and laid down their lives to advance Christ’s Kingdom? How can we pray for the families of martyred Christians?

    Learn more about the Central African Republic and the church there in VOM’s Global Prayer Guide.

    Never miss and episode! Subscribe to VOM Radio on your favorite podcast service.

    38 MIN
  • SYRIA: We Must Bring Hope

    Covid-19 has hit hard in Syria, yet many are unwilling to acknowledge the illness in their honor-shame culture where getting sick can bring shame on a family. Brother John will update listeners on how the virus is affecting Syria—and how God’s Kingdom is advancing even amidst the pandemic.

    Learn what Christian persecution looks like today in Syria, and how Christians there respond. You’ll also hear specific ways to pray for Syrian Christians.

    John will share the story of God’s work in one family. Their son was born with a birth defect, and his mom felt such shame she attempted suicide multiple times. Then she met Jesus—and the transformation was so dramatic it radically changed the outlook for her family and impacted people all over their city.

    Brother John leads Ananias House, working to proclaim the light and hope of Jesus Christ in the Middle East and North Africa.

    To learn more about the honor-shame culture in the Middle East, listen to our conversation with Audrey Frank about sharing the gospel in an honor-shame culture.

    Never miss an episode of VOM Radio. Subscribe on your favorite podcast app.

    24 MIN
  • PETR JASEK: Prayer Made a Difference

    When Petr Jasek spent 445 days in prison in Sudan, Omar al-Bashir was the dictatorial leader of the country. Since Petr’s release, Bashir’s government has been overthrown and Bashir locked inside one of the same prisons where Petr had been held.

    But are things really different for Christians in Sudan? Petr will answer that question as he returns to finish the conversation we began last week about his arrest and imprisonment in Sudan.

    In prison, Petr felt the Lord’s presence very near as he spent hours every day reading the Bible and praying. What has he done to maintain that same closeness as he returned to his normal, busy life?

    The story of Petr’s imprisonment—and the ministry God allowed him inside—is told in a brand new book, Imprisoned with ISIS: Faith in the Face of Evil. You’ll receive a copy for free when you make a donation to VOM here.

    Petr first told his story to VOM Radio listeners nine days after his release from prison. You can hear that conversation—recorded in Prague—here.

    Never miss an episode of VOM Radio. Subscribe on your favorite podcast app.

    24 MIN
  • PETR JASEK: Imprisoned With ISIS

    In 2015, Petr Jasek traveled to Khartoum, Sudan, to meet with pastors and other Christians to evaluate how The Voice of the Martyrs—a ministry Petr has served with since 2002—could help and encourage persecuted Sudanese believers.

    Petr was arrested at the airport on his way out of the country, charged with espionage and other crimes and sentenced to life in prison before the Czech government negotiated his release.

    The story of Petr’s imprisonment—and the ministry God allowed him inside—is told in a brand new book, Imprisoned with ISIS: Faith in the Face of Evil. You’ll receive a copy of this outstanding book for free when you make a donation to VOM here.

    Listen as Petr shares his story and updates listeners on his current ministry around the world.

    Petr first told his story to VOM Radio listeners just nine days after his release. You can hear that conversation—recorded in Prague—here.

    Never miss an episode of VOM Radio. Subscribe on your favorite podcast service.

    24 MIN
  • AFRICA: That’s What We’re Called To

    Brother Jeremy is VOM’s deputy regional director for Africa, helping oversee all VOM projects to serve persecuted Christians on the African continent.

    Jeremy will update us on how Covid-19 is affecting Africa, and how VOM workers continue serving persecuted Christians in spite of the coronavirus. Jeremy will update us on the situation in Nigeria, including the amazing testimony of kidnapped Pastor Lawan Andimi—who turned his “proof of life” video into an opportunity to testify for Christ.

    Jeremy will also talk about how Boko Haram has expanded operations into northern Cameroon and other nations and how that’s affecting Christians. Finally, he’ll equip us to pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters in Africa.

    Learn how to pray for Christians in Nigeria from VOM’s Global Prayer Guide.

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

    24 MIN
  • ANDREW & NORINE BRUNSON: Tested In Turkey

    Amidst the coronavirus pandemic, many around the world are dealing with fear and discouragement. Andrew Brunson knows those feelings well.

    After serving more than 20 years as gospel workers in Turkey, Pastor Andrew and Norine Brunson were suddenly arrested, accused of plotting with terrorist groups to overthrow the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Norine was subsequently released, but Andrew spent two years in prison.

    Listen as they share how God sustained them through this time of intense testing, including the brokenness Andrew felt, and his decision to rejoice—and even dance—as an act of obedience to God. Norine will talk about how she tried to encourage Andrew on her prison visits, and even gave him scripts to help him stand against fear, depression and hopelessness.

    Listen to the complete conversation—three full episodes—with Andrew and Norine Brunson at www.VOMRadio.net/Brunson.

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

    24 MIN
  • INDIA: Sharing the Love of Jesus Christ

    Amidst the coronavirus pandemic, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Hindu-nationalist government put India on 21-day lockdown. Every Indian is impacted—Christian, Muslim and Hindu, high caste and low caste, rich and poor.

    “Brother Bennie” leads Alpha Ministries and he’s in direct contact with gospel workers all over India, as well as Myanmar and Nepal. Listen as he shares what life is like right now for everyone in India, especially Christian brothers and sisters facing both persecution and pandemic.

    In spite of government oppression and fear of Covid-19, Indian Christians are reaching out and sharing the love of Jesus Christ. The gospel is going forth. Bennie will equip listeners to pray for India, and to reach out to Hindus who live in Western nations.

    Brother Bennie is a regular speaker at VOM Advance Conferences. Find out when one of these free, one-day events will be in a city near you at www.VOMAdvance.com.

    Never miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe on your favorite podcast app.

    24 MIN
  • IRAN PRISONER: “By God’s Grace I Endured”

    Ebrahim Firouzi, a Christian convert from Islam, has been in and out of prison in Iran since 2011. Last year he completed his most recent prison sentence, but instead of being set free and allowed to go home, Ebrahim has been banished to internal exile in Sarbaz, a city near the border with Pakistan. All of these punishments are a direct result of Ebrahim’s conversion from Islam to follow Jesus and his faithful witness for Christ.

    This week, speaking from exile, Ebrahim shares his testimony and gives an update on his life today and God’s faithfulness during his time in prison. Multiple times, Ebrahim was given the opportunity to renounce Christ and go free; each time he refused to compromise. “I could never turn my back on my faith,” Ebrahim says. “By God’s grace I endured a few years in prison in exchange for an eternity with Him.”

    This interview was originally conducted in Farsi by Joseph Hovsepian, the son of martyred Iranian church leader Haik Hovsepian. We are thankful to Joseph and our friends at Hovsepian Ministries for allowing VOM Radio to broadcast this interview and share Ebrahim’s testimony.

    Pray for the people in Iran and other Islamic nations during Ramadan. For reminders and specific ways you can pray, follow VOM on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

    Never miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe on your favorite podcast app.

    24 MIN
  • PRAY FOR MUSLIMS DURING RAMADAN

    Right now, Muslims around the world are fasting during daylight hours in an effort to show their devotion and earn Allah’s favor and approval. It is a strategic time for us, as Christians, to pray for Muslims to come to know Jesus Christ as the Savior and Son of God.

    This week on VOM Radio we’ll hear from people working in Muslim nations and among Muslim people. They’ll help us understand what Ramadan means to Muslims and share specific ways Christians can pray.

    Finally, our guests will lead in prayer for God’s Holy Spirit to move among Muslims during this month.

    Make a commitment now to pray for Muslims to meet Jesus Christ throughout the month of Ramadan. Set a reminder on your phone, or put a note next to your Bible to remind you. Also, follow The Voice of the Martyrs on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for reminders to pray throughout this important month.

    Guests helping us pray include:

    Susanna Koh, the wife of kidnapped Pastor Raymond Koh, from Malaysia. (Hear her story.)

    Tom Doyle, Uncharted Ministries (Previous appearances on VOM Radio.)

    JoAnn Doyle, Not Forgotten Ministries (Previous appearances on VOM Radio.)

    Dr. Mehrdad Fatehi, PARS Theological Center (Previous conversations on VOM Radio here and here.)

    Lucy, Global Catalytic Ministries (Listen to “Ali,” also from GCIC, here.)

    Amir Bazmjou, Torch Ministries (Amir’s wife, Rashin, is the daughter of martyred Iranian Pastor Hossein Soodmand. You can hear her story here and here.)

    Dick Brogden, Live Dead Ministries (Previous conversations on VOM Radio here and here.)

    Dr. Mike Ansari, Heart 4 Iran Ministries (Previous conversations on VOM Radio here and here.)

    Dr. Hormoz Shariat, Iran Alive Ministries (Previous conversations on VOM Radio here and here.)

    Never miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe on your favorite podcast app.

    24 MIN
  • AFRICA: Our Call is to Obedience

    Steve and Debbie Wolcott have served for decades as missionaries in Africa, seeking to share the gospel and strengthen the church in Congo, Central African Republic, Nigeria, Burkina Faso and other nations.

    The Wolcotts are back this week to finish our conversation about sharing the gospel even when it’s risky. They’ve gone to dangerous places to serve the church; listen as they explain how they think about risk-taking and the values that guide their decisions—decisions that have affected not only Steve and Debbie but their children as well.

    Perhaps you or people you know are sensing God’s call to serve Him in missions. Steve and Debbie, as experienced missionaries, are uniquely qualified to advise and encourage on that journey. They’ll talk about discerning and answering that call, as well as their own journey of saying yes to God’s call—separately and together—to serve Him and His church in Africa.

    They will also equip listeners to pray for missionaries, and for the church in some of the African nations where they work—and where Christians are persecuted for the name of Christ.

    You can hear Part 1 of our conversation with the Wolcotts here. Steve and Debbie are a part of Africa Inland Mission. Learn more about their ministry here.

    24 MIN
  • AFRICA: I Never Knew I Was Loved!

    Steve and Debbie Wolcott have served for decades as missionaries in Africa, seeking to share the gospel and strengthen the church in Congo, Central African Republic, Nigeria, Burkina Faso and other nations.

    The Wolcotts will share how God called them to global mission work. Debbie will talk about her specific ministry helping victims recover from the wounds of trauma using Godly, Biblical principles—and training the church in 22 different languages to spread the healing power of Christ.

    Steve will share how God allowed him to illustrate the message of salvation in such a way that, 22 years later, one of the men in the audience was able to recall how Steve’s message led him to commit his life to Christ.

    We’ll explain Christian persecution in Central African Republic—including what motivates attacks and how Christians are responding. Steve will also give context to the spread of Islam on the African continent—and explain how Islam is not just a set of religious teachings, but an entire way of life and framework for all of society.

    Steve and Debbie will also share the biggest challenges of their work—which will help you pray not only for the Wolcotts but for other missionaries you know and support.

    Steve and Debbie are a part of Africa Inland Mission. Learn more about their ministry here.

    24 MIN
  • BURKINA FASO: Persecution Rising

    Burkina Faso is not a country we’ve previously discussed on VOM Radio. But in the past 18 months the country has seen repeated jihadi attacks on churches, pastors and other Christian targets.

    Sean Paton, VOM’s Africa regional director, explains the increase of persecution in Burkina Faso, including government changes and the rise of groups linked with Al Qaeda, ISIS and other Islamist factions. He’ll describe how VOM monitors persecution and makes the decision to ramp up our work in a particular country to equip and encourage Christians undergoing persecution—some for the first time. He’ll also share about other African countries where persecution is increasing.

    Sean will tell some of the stories of courageous believers in Burkina Faso, including one pastor who, along with his son and nephews, was abducted and then executed after they refused to renounce their faith in Christ.

    Finally, Sean will equip listeners to pray for the church in Burkina Faso, as well as VOM’s international ministry workers who travel to meet with and serve persecuted Christians.

    Sean has previously shared on VOM Radio about VOM’s ministry in Nigeria and about the overthrow of the Islamist government in Sudan.

    Never miss an episode of VOM Radio: subscribe to the podcast.

    24 MIN
  • Communism Is Not Dead

    Communism Is Not Dead

    March 28, 2020

    VOM’s President, Cole Richards, joins us to talk about communism and how this old philosophy is motivating new persecution of our Christian brothers and sisters. Why is communism so directly opposed to the gospel of Jesus Christ? We’ll look specifically at China and steps President Xi Jinping and his government are taking to bring every aspect of Christian worship and practice under Communist Party control.

    Richards will also share how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting VOM’s work, and how Christians can respond in the midst of an international health crisis.

    We’ll look at what China’s Christians face right now, through the experiences of Early Rain Covenant Church, which is the focus of the feature story in the March edition of VOM’s free magazine. Their pastor has been sentenced to nine years in prison, and yet this church continues serving and evangelizing—church leaders even train members to see police interrogations as opportunities to witness for Christ!

    You can download the Special Report about communism from VOM that is discussed in this episode. Also, learn more about the church in China in previous VOM Radio conversations with Bob Fu, leader of China Aid Association, and with “Brother Enfu,” pastor of an unregistered church congregation in China.

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

    24 MIN
  • AFGHANISTAN: Prayers and Seeds

    What does the recent peace deal between the US government and the Taliban mean for persecuted Christians in Afghanistan? Author John Weaver—who lived many years inside Afghanistan—helps answer that question and helps us pray for Afghanistan and our spiritual family there.

    How is the church growing? How are Muslims—even Taliban members—hearing the gospel? What do “church” meetings look like, and how much access do Afghans have to Bibles?

    Weaver will introduce Mary, an Afghan gospel worker using the oppressive burqa to cover her evangelism that is reaching Afghan women for Christ.

    Weaver will talk about the growth of the church in Afghanistan in recent years, the result of seeds planted over many decades by missionaries and other gospel workers and the prayers of millions of Christians around the world, especially after 9-11. He’ll also share the difference it makes when Afghans hear the gospel from a fellow Afghan instead of a foreigner.

    Finally, he’ll equip every listener to pray, then lead in a special prayer for Afghanistan.

    John Weaver previously shared on VOM Radio about how he and his bride used their wedding ceremony to demonstrate Jesus’ love inside Afghanistan. Javed and Lowen talked about reaching Afghanistan through media ministry, and Hannelie Groenewald shared the story of the day when her husband, Werner, and their two teen-aged children were martyred in Kabul.

    Never miss an inspiring VOM Radio conversation: subscribe to the podcast.

    24 MIN
  • TURKEY: We Have To Take Risks

    “Brother Bayram” is back to finish the conversation we began last week. He came to the United States to further his education and start a business. One day a Christian woman gave Bayram a New Testament. He began to read it, the beginning of a path that would lead him to faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Son of God.

    Listen to the stories of people in Turkey Bayram has seen leave Islam behind and embrace Jesus Christ, the Son of God—and the persecution they’ve endured for making that decision. What are the truths that draw them? What are the misunderstandings of the gospel Christians can address with Muslims? How do new Christians in Turkey think about telling family members that they are following Christ?

    Finally, Bayram will equip us to pray for Turkey, and for our Christian brothers and sisters there.

    You can connect online with Brother Bayram and his ministry at www.albtci.org.

    You can hear David Byle tell his story of persecution in Turkey here. You may also be interested in hearing American Pastor Andrew Brunson and his wife, Norine, tell their story of imprisonment and persecution in Turkey.

    Never miss a VOM Radio conversation: subscribe to the podcast.

    24 MIN
  • TURKEY: It’s Not About Arguments

    “Brother Bayram” came to the United States to further his education. He started a business, and one day a Christian woman gave Bayram a New Testament. He began to read it, the beginning of a path that would lead him to faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Son of God.

    It was a costly decision: his devout Muslim wife divorced him and won’t allow him to see their daughter. His brother had Bayram committed to a mental hospital—viewing anyone who would leave Islam as mentally unstable.

    It has been a difficult road, but Bayram’s faith has only grown stronger as he has seen God work in his life and in his country. Listen as he shares the story of his journey to faith, and how his family pressured him to return to Islam and persecuted him for his Christian faith, and stories of those still meeting Jesus Christ in Turkey.

    Bayram will encourage and instruct listeners about how we—like the woman who gave him a New Testament—might help lead Muslims here in the US toward Jesus Christ.

    You can connect online with Brother Bayram and his ministry at www.albtci.org.

    We’ll finish this conversation with Bayram next week on VOM Radio. Between now and then, you can hear David Byle tell his story of persecution in Turkey here: Part 1 and Part 2. You may also be interested in hearing American Pastor Andrew Brunson and his wife, Norine, tell their story of imprisonment and persecution in Turkey.

    24 MIN
  • INDIA: “Now I’m in Light”

    In India, resistance to the gospel and to Christian missionary activity is very organized. Hindu nationalists all over India are watching for evangelism—and they are ready to persecute Christians.

    Aaron Miller oversees VOM’s work in South Asia. He’s just met with church leaders from all over India, evaluating the current state of Christian persecution there. He brings us a timely report as President Donald Trump just visited India, where he met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi—whose background is in the Hindu-nationalist RSS movement that is one of the main persecutors of Christians and other religious minorities in India.

    Several Indian states have passed anti-conversion laws, but church leaders say the laws aren’t stopping people from coming to faith in Christ In fact, in every state where an anti-conversion law has passed, the church is still growing.

    Aaron will share some specifics of how persecution in India is happening right now, both through physical violence and through more subtle means, like government restrictions and financial controls. But more importantly, Aaron tells stories of Hindus who have found freedom and peace in Jesus Christ and equips us to pray for our brothers and sisters in India right now.

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

    24 MIN