Visiting Middle East Christians
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Visiting Middle East Christians
January 22, 2022
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  • MISSIONS: Hold On To God's Call

    “Brother Jeff” served as a long-time gospel worker in South Asia and Indonesia—places with intense Christian persecution. Today he helps lead Assemblies of God World Missions (AGWM).

    Listen as he shares about the time he was arrested for his work, how God worked to set him free and how his arrest actually opened a doorway to more (and more secure) ministry opportunities.

    He’ll also talk about the challenges he and his wife experienced in their early years of missionary service, and how God’s clear call on their lives became an anchor they could hold on to in difficult seasons. His stories will help you know how to pray for missionaries currently in the field.

    Jeff will also offer advice to listeners sensing a call to serve God cross-culturally, including the need for a sense of adventure: “In 23 years [of overseas ministry],” he says, “the greatest things we did were not planned.”

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

    37 MIN
  • A CHOICE IN ETHIOPIA: Jesus or My Gun?

    Brother Alayu was a very young man when he became a follower of Christ. Soon after, he was persecuted for that choice, even facing a communist official who told Alayu to “choose Jesus or my gun.”

    Alayu chose Jesus—and he continues to do so. Today, he is a leader with Global Call, a church-planting work in Ethiopia and surrounding nations, where he has seen great hunger for the gospel and a great move of God—in spite of the persecution Christians often face.

    Listen as he shares about ministry today in areas dominated by Ethiopian Orthodox teaching—a mixture of ancient Jewish teachings, some Christian ideas and even traditional African religious and witch doctor practices. Alayu and his workers have seen many people—even Orthodox priests—come to life-changing faith in Jesus as Savior and Lord.

    Alayu will also describe the importance of delivering Bibles and equip us to pray for Ethiopia and for the church there.

    24 MIN
  • When Her Husband Was Detained in North Korea, She “Simply Trusted the Lord”

    Karen Short’s husband, John, was detained inside North Korea, held incommunicado. Yet Karen never felt panicked about what would happen to him. “I simply trusted the Lord,” she says.

    John Short, an Australian Christian, was detained in North Korea in 2014 after leaving gospel tracts outside a Buddhist temple while part of a tour. Karen was home in Hong Kong, dealing with media attention, praying for her husband and receiving words of encouragement from all around the world.

    Listen in as Karen shares:

    • How God ministered to her during John’s detention
    • How she and John stayed connected through Scripture—even though they couldn’t communicate during his detention
    • How journalists and others responded when they observed Karen’s calm assurance and faith in God
    • How she learned that her husband would be released and allowed to return home
    • The one thing she wishes she’d done differently—it will surprise you!

    The story of Karen’s faithfulness will inspire you to trust more deeply in God and dive deeper into His Word, even if you’re not planning a trip to North Korea.

    VOM Radio also shared John’s side of the story of what happened in North Korea. Listen here.

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

    24 MIN
  • Richard Wurmbrand’s Editor: He Focused on Jesus

    Through books and other writing, Pastor Richard Wurmbrand became a voice for persecuted Christians all over the world. This week we’ll meet the woman who shaped and polished so many of Richard’s printed words.

    Ellen Oblander served many years as the editor for Richard Wurmbrand, co-founder of The Voice of the Martyrs. She worked on many of his books, as well as on VOM’s free monthly magazine. Over the years Ellen became much more than an editor; she grew into being almost a member of the family.

    Listen as she shares the story of being given a copy of Tortured For Christ, then soon afterwards hearing Richard Wurmbrand speak for the first time and meeting his wife, Sabina. She saw, first-hand, Sabina’s incredible behind-the-scenes ministry supporting her husband and advancing the work of VOM.

    Ellen will also talk about Richard’s constant writing, his editing process and the times she’d pick up the phone to hear Richard unpack some Scripture passage he’d just read or a spiritual truth he was pondering.

    She’ll also tell about her time with Richard and Sabina in the latter years of their lives, and how Richard always looked to be a witness for Christ.

    Learn more about the lives of Richard and Sabina Wurmbrand by reading WURMBRAND: Tortured For Christ The Complete Story. Order your copy today. Listen to an interview with the principal writer of the book here.

    24 MIN
  • Surrounded by ISIS: Imprisoned For Christ in Sudan

    Petr Jasek was imprisoned 445 days in Sudan. He traveled to the country on behalf of The Voice of the Martyrs to meet with and encourage Sudanese Christians. His first cellmates were arrested ISIS fighters—men who hated Christians and quickly began to persecute Petr.

    In his lowest moments, God brought to mind names and faces of other persecuted Christians—men and women Petr had met personally during his years serving with VOM. He began to pray for other persecuted believers, and his spirit lifted as his focus changed from his own difficulties to his prayers for other Christians.

    Listen as Petr shares how God prepared him to face persecution, how he had prepared his own family for his arrest, and how he prays for Christians after his experience of long months in prison and facing a death sentence for his gospel work.

    This conversation with Petr was recorded as a part of the Imprisoned For Christ Virtual Event. You can still watch the entire event—featuring three former prisoners for Christ sharing their stories—on-demand when you register here.

    Petr’s first VOM Radio interview was recorded just eight days after his release from prison.

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

    24 MIN
  • Imprisoned for Christ: Former Prisoners Brunson, Baumann Speak

    Dan Baumann and Pastor Andrew Brunson were arrested in Muslim nations because of their Christian faith. They both experienced depression and even thoughts of suicide in prison, yet testify that God was faithful even in those desperate moments.

    Listen as they share the challenges of prison and their thoughts on loving our enemies and how much they don’t miss being in prison.

    One of the things that helped Brunson during his time in prison was something Baumann had written in one of his books. He’ll share that story—and then hear how Dan responds to the idea that God used something he’d written to sustain and bless a fellow Christian during a season of suffering.

    This conversation happened as a part of the Imprisoned For Christ Virtual Event, already viewed by more than 150,000 Christians in 50+ countries. The event is still available for you and your church. Register here.

    Both Dan and Andrew have previously been guests on VOM Radio (as well as Andrew’s wife, Norine). Listen to the full VOM Radio interviews with Dan Baumann and Pastor Andrew Brunson.

    31 MIN
  • CUBA Pastor’s Wife: “God Removed My Fear”

    As a teenager in Cuba, “Maria” encountered the book Tortured For Christ, written by VOM’s founder, Pastor Richard Wurmbrand—when she was told to burn the books before Cuban authorities could find them and arrest her father!

    Today, Maria and her husband, “Pedro,” help VOM serve persecuted Christians in Cuba and other Latin American nations. Listen as they share a recent experience when Cuban authorities issued an arrest warrant for Pedro, and how Pedro and Maria experienced the prayers of Christians around the world in that time of pressure and trial.

    Listen also to learn how Cuban pastors are pressured by communist authorities, and whether or not anything changed for Cuban Christians after the death of Fidel Castro.

    Bonus content: This is release week for the new book, When Faith is Forbidden: 40 Days on the Frontlines With Persecuted Christians, written by VOM Radio host, Todd Nettleton. We’ve posted the first two chapters of the audiobook version into the podcast stream. Listen to:  Departure Day: Preflight Checklist and Day 1: Beyond Our Control.

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

    24 MIN
  • When Faith is Forbidden: Audiobook Preview | Day One

    This is release week for VOM Radio host Todd Nettleton’s new book: When Faith is Forbidden: 40 Days on the Frontlines with Persecuted Christians, published by Moody Publishers.

    In this special bonus episode, VOM Radio listeners can hear a preview of the audiobook version, which will be available soon wherever audiobooks are distributed. Today’s chapter is Day 1: Beyond Our Control.

    You can learn more about the book, and order your copy, at

    Also, be sure to register to be a part of this weekend’s Imprisoned For Christ Virtual Event and watch as Todd interviews former prisoners for Christ (and former VOM Radio guests), Dan Baumann and Pastor Andrew Brunson.

    11 MIN
  • When Faith is Forbidden: Audiobook Preview | Departure Day

    Today is release day for VOM Radio host Todd Nettleton’s new book: When Faith is Forbidden: 40 Days on the Frontlines with Persecuted Christians, published by Moody Publishers.

    In this special bonus episode, VOM Radio listeners can hear a preview of the book: the first chapter of the audio book, available soon wherever audiobooks are distributed.

    You can learn more about the book, and order your copy, at

    13 MIN
  • NEW BOOK: When Faith is Forbidden

    We’re trading chairs this week on VOM Radio! Todd Nettleton has a new book releasing March 2 from Moody Publishers: When Faith is Forbidden: 40 Days on the Frontlines With Persecuted Christians. So he’s in the guest chair this week, and Janet Parshall—nationally syndicated host of In The Market With Janet Parshall—has graciously agreed to fill in as our VOM Radio host for the week.

    Todd’s new book contains 40 of the most powerful and inspiring stories he’s heard in interviews with persecuted Christians over the past 20+ years. He’ll also share a little of how God brought him to work at VOM, including time as a missionary kid in Papua New Guinea.

    You can learn more about When Faith is Forbidden, including links to order your copy, at In celebration of the book’s launch, we’ll offer the first two readings from the audio book version in the podcast stream next week. So be sure to subscribe to the VOM Radio podcast!

    Don’t forget to register for the Imprisoned For Christ Virtual Event, coming up on March 5.

    35 MIN
  • BIBLE SMUGGLING: “We Didn’t Come Here To Be Safe”

    “Joe” was in prison in the United States—justly, he says. As a young man his life was filled with drugs and crime. A fellow prisoner gave Joe a Bible, and Joe’s life was transformed as he found forgiveness and surrendered his life to Jesus Christ.

    Having seen the power of God’s Word first-hand, Joe committed his life to getting Bibles to as many people as possible. He and his wife, “Dawn,” are now part of a team delivering Bibles into the Islamic Republic of Iran. It’s dangerous work, but Joe and Dawn have counted the cost and answered God’s call.

    Joe will tell his story of salvation, and share about the work he’s doing today—including how God allowed Bibles to be delivered throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Dawn will explain how she thinks about the danger her family is in—including making peace with the fact that her children are at risk.

    They’ll also help equip listeners to pray for Bible delivery work into Iran and also around the world.

    Never miss an episode! Subscribe to the podcast.

    32 MIN
  • IMPRISONED IN CHINA: God is With Me Anytime, Anywhere

    Cheng Jie, whose English name is “Esther,” was the wife of a pastor in China. She and her husband had discussed the idea that he could be arrested and go to prison for his Christian work. They hadn’t believed that she would be targeted by the communist government. But in 2014 she was called to the police station for a “meeting” about the school Esther was running. The meeting with police turned into Esther’s arrest and two years in a Chinese prison.

    At the time of her arrest, Esther’s sons were aged 3 and 1. Listen to her share how they were affected by her arrest and imprisonment—and even the challenges after she was released and returned home.

    She’ll also talk about how God enabled her to have a ministry in the prison—and even the prison guards saw the difference her ministry made.

    While she was in prison, Cheng Jie was among the prisoners featured on VOM’s web site that enables Christians to write letters to prisoners. Listen to hear her speak directly to those that prayed for her and wrote letters to her while she was in prison, and advise how we can pray for Christians in prison today.

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

    31 MIN
  • MISSIONS: An Absolute Guarantee Jesus Will Be With Us

    As a college student in San Francisco, Brother Kevin explored many avenues of spirituality, including pursuing Zen Buddhism and Transcendental Meditation. But an experience of darkness caused him to call out for Jesus, and Christ revealed himself to Kevin as both real and powerful.

    Since that day, Kevin has wanted to tell people about Jesus, including Muslims, Hindus and people of other faiths. Today he helps lead YWAM Frontier Missions, sending workers to share the gospel in places where Jesus’ name is completely unknown.

    It’s not an easy work. Kevin will share stories of gospel workers he’s sent out who have been arrested, beaten, kidnapped and even killed. Kevin says he’s seen blessing come out of even very difficult circumstances—and he’s thankful for the unique role that VOM plays in helping Christians enduring persecution.

    He will also share how he prays on certain days each week for Muslims and Hindus to come to Christ. If you’d like guides to help you pray with Kevin visit (Muslims) and (Hindus and Buddhists).

    24 MIN
  • CUBA: “My Fear Shrinks”

    “Brother Joshua” is a church leader in Cuba. He says for Christians on the island, persecution is expected. Police regularly call Joshua in for interrogation, and he says every time they call he feels intimidation and fear about what might happen. But he says as the questioning begins he can feel God’s presence and God’s provision of an answer for each question. And as he senses God’s power taking over, he says his fear shrinks and disappears.

    Joshua will give an update on the persecution of the church in Cuba, including one church which recently had its building demolished by the government. Have things changed for the church since the death of Fidel Castro? How difficult is it for Christians to get Bibles? How do pastors deal with the knowledge that every time they preach, government spies are present to watch, listen and cause problems?

    You’ll also hear about an opportunity to spend an evening hearing from three former prisoners for Christ: the Imprisoned For Christ Virtual Event, coming up March 5. Get more information and register—it’s free—here. You can also sign your church up as a host site for this virtual event.

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

    24 MIN
  • Unleashing Gospel Resources Around the World

    Reed Olson helps VOM to get Bibles and other Christian materials into hostile and restricted nations around the world. Listen to Reed share about God’s call on his life, and his excitement to use every hour, every tool and every possible channel to deliver to every person God’s life-changing Word.

    He’ll also share how VOM resources are being translated and delivered freely into hostile and restricted nations around the world—in some cases connecting Christians facing persecution in different countries who pray for and inspire each other. Finally, he’ll update how the church in Latin America is growing and becoming a great missionary-sending church.

    VOM Radio listeners can access many of these free resources at

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

    24 MIN
  • In The Presence of My Enemies

    Martin and Gracia Burnham were serving as missionaries in the Philippines, where Martin was a pilot with New Tribes Mission (now called Ethnos 360). The Burnhams went away for a few days to celebrate their wedding anniversary. Those few days turned into more than a year in the jungle when they were kidnapped and held hostage by radical Muslim terrorists.

    Listen this week as Gracia tells how she wrestled with God and even with her own faith during those dark days of captivity. She’ll also share how she experienced the prayers of God’s people, even as Martin was killed during a rescue attempt.

    Gracia says at times in the jungle she couldn’t allow herself to even think about her three children because it was just to difficult. Yet now she knows the full story of God’s faithfulness to them. She will also give an update on how God continues to work in the hearts of the terrorists that held them hostage.

    Gracia’s story will inspire you to find ways to glorify God, regardless of what challenges you may be facing. You can read the whole story in her book, In the Presence of My Enemies (affiliate link).

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

    24 MIN
  • MISSIONS: Partner With God

    C. Anderson is a leader in Frontier Missions for YWAM – Youth With a Mission. She’s developed a course based on the principles of II Timothy 2:2 with the aim of developing DMM—Disciple Making Movements.

    Anderson was born an MK in Africa, but after traumatic experiences in her youth she decided she would never live anywhere she felt unsafe. Yet God called her to lay down that need for safety to answer His call to missions, and gave her the grace to answer His call.

    Listen to learn how DMMs are developing and growing, and how the Biblical principles cross national and ethnic boundaries to grow and build the church in many nations, including India, Iraq, Afghanistan and southeast Asia.

    The course Anderson developed, “Getting Started in Disciple Making Movements,” is available online. Anderson will tell us how she felt God leading her to develop the course for use online before the coronavirus pandemic hit—and has seen the fruit of the course explode during the past 12 months. She’ll also speak specifically about next steps for those feeling called to missions, and equip us to pray for church leaders and church planters all over the world.

    27 MIN
  • Serving Persecuted Christians in 2021

    This week we look ahead to VOM’s work serving persecuted Christians in 2021 with VOM’s President, Cole Richards, and Vice President for International Ministry, Jonathan Ekman.

    Jonathan will give an update on the two countries added to VOM’s 2021 Global Prayer Map—Burkina Faso and Cameroon—and how persecution of Christians in those nations is increasing, and how VOM is responding to help the church. He’ll also talk about what those changes mean for VOM’s work and workers, and how efforts are already underway to effectively serve Christians in those nations.

    You’ll be inspired by the story of an African pastor who chooses to stay and serve in a place where he knows his life is at risk, and the reason he stays.

    Cole and Jonathan will help listeners understand the rise of radical Islam in Africa, and how the growth of such ideology affects our Christian brothers and sisters. Jonathan will also explain the growing need for help in the Central African Republic and in Ethiopia, two countries where persecution is growing and the needs of persecuted Christians are, at times, overwhelming.

    Cole will discuss how VOM helps listeners and magazine readers understand the upheaval around the world and how the Body of Christ is affected by each situation. He will also talk about how American Christians are inspired to learn what Biblical discipleship looks like—and are growing to understand that even in the United States Christians may be called on to pay a price for their faith.

    Cole will also preview some of the ways VOM will continue to tell the stories of persecuted Christians in 2021, including a coming feature film focusing especially on the life and faith of Sabina Wurmbrand and a new book written by VOM Radio host, Todd Nettleton.

    How do we allow these stories to inspire us—and inspire our children and grandchildren—that boldly following Christ, and being willing to sacrifice for following Him, is what normal Christianity looks like?

    Begin 2021 with an in-depth discussion of what it means to follow Christ and truly live for Him. Never miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe to the podcast. Please also share VOM Radio with a Christian friend.

    40 MIN
  • Moving Moments of 2020 – Part 2

    Join this week as we continue our look back on some of the amazing testimonies God allowed VOM Radio to share this year:

    • Pam tells us about Muslim women coming to faith in Christ, including one who saw that her Christian friends were different, and wondered why.
    • Amin tells how he began reading the Bible as a committed Muslim teenager, studying the book to try to prove why the Bible was wrong. But in the end, reading God’s Word led him to Jesus Christ.
    • Brother Bayram came to faith after someone gave him a New Testament. When he told his family in Turkey of his new faith, persecution began immediately.
    • Living in Iran, Omid had a dream in which he saw a man in white give him a wrapped gift. The next day, his taxi driver gave him a gift that looked very much like the gift he’d been given in his dream. Inside was a Bible, a book that would change Omid’s life.
    • Brother John tells about a young family in Syria finding Christ in the midst of their child’s medical crisis, and how Jesus gave them hope and joy.
    • Ali tells us how God healed two Christians in Iran from COVID-19. They were in separate hospitals, but each had the same dream on the same night, and walked out of the hospital completely healed!
    • Brother Jeremy recalls meeting the family of Pastor Jean Paul Sankagui, who had been martyred just days earlier in The Central African Republic.

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

    You’ll also want to listen to the first part of our look back on 2020 in last week’s episode.

    Never miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts. Also: share a link to VOM Radio with a Christian friend who will also be blessed by these testimonies.

    24 MIN
  • Moving Moments of 2020 – Part 1

    Join in as we begin a look back on some of the amazing testimonies God allowed VOM Radio to share this year:

    • Brother Paul from Nigeria tells how he heard the Lord’s voice telling him to get off the bus he was on. Moments after he obeyed, that bus was attacked by terrorists and he realized God had spared his life.
    • Sean Paton tells the story of a pastor and his family executed by Islamists in Burkina Faso after refusing to deny Christ.
    • Aaron Miller explains why some Christian leaders in Colombia would rather not be called pastor, and how church leaders in India are preparing for the increased persecution they’re sure is coming.
    • Ebrahim Firouzi shared from inside Iran, where he’s still being held in internal exile. He told how prosecutors encouraged him to renounce his faith in Christ and go free—an offer Ebrahim refused.
    • Joy Subasiguller shared about choosing to be grateful to God, even as she faced expulsion from Turkey, the nation where she’d lived for 10 years and where her children were born. VOM Radio host, Todd Nettleton, will also give an update on what has happened with Joy’s case since our original broadcast.
    • Finally, Will Hart, CEO of Iris Global, will share about learning to lay down his life—and even his wife’s safety—in answer to God’s call.

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

    Never miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts. Also: share a link to VOM Radio with a Christian friend who will also be blessed by these testimonies.

    24 MIN