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.
Never miss an episode of VOM Radio: subscribe to the podcast.
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.
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.
“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.
“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.
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.
Aaron Miller leads VOM’s international work in Latin America, and he just returned from visiting Christians living and ministering in the “red zones” of Colombia—places where paramilitary groups and Marxist guerillas battle for control and brutally persecute Christians.
One of those Aaron met with was Alex, the subject of a VOM video for the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. Alex was pulled off a bus by FARC guerillas and almost killed. Yet he has forgiven the attackers—and even helped disciple the imprisoned FARC commander who led the bus attack.
Hear why gospel workers in Colombia would rather not be called pastor, even if they function in that role in their community. Hear the story of a man whom God called to full-time ministry while he was being held captive for doing ministry work. And hear the story of how an Action Bible inspired a young woman to resist the call to take up arms.
Miller has previously been a guest on VOM Radio, when he told his own story of encountering persecution in India.
This week marked the three-year anniversary of the disappearance of Pastor Raymond Koh in Malaysia, a military-style operation that took less than 40 seconds and was captured on a nearby security camera.
Three years later, there is still no word on what happened to Pastor Raymond; his car has never been found. The kidnapping wasn’t his first taste of persecution; Pastor Raymond had been mailed a box of bullets as a warning to stop his ministry.
VOM launched an international petition drive calling Malaysia’s government to account for this crime. Add your signature online at www.ReleaseRaymond.com.
This week we will hear again from Raymond’s wife, Susanna, about how Pastor Raymond continued ministry in spite of threats and danger. She’ll describe the spiritual deepening she saw in her husband in the months before his abduction, and how she knows God was preparing him for the challenging time to come.
Susanna says God has carried her and her family since Raymond’s forced disappearance. He’s even enabled them to forgive those who took her husband away. She’ll share specific scriptural promises and Christian songs that have helped her through dark hours of grief and anxiety.
Susanna and her family have been greatly encouraged by notes, cards and letters from members of their spiritual family around the world. You can join in encouraging her by sending a card or a note of encouragement to:
You can hear encouraging conversations like this one every week! Subscribe to the VOM Radio podcast.
“Uncle Monnie” has ministered in more than 150 countries, including many hostile and restricted nations where Christians are persecuted. He serves not as a “father” to persecuted-church pastors, but as an “uncle,” one who comes alongside and encourages, but isn’t the decision-making authority figure.
Uncle Monnie says he quickly realized, in his first overseas ministry experience, that he needed to go as a fellow learner alongside God’s people he was there to serve. He equips pastors to study the Bible for themselves, to not be reliant on a Westerner or an outside organization for their spiritual food. He also prepares them to face persecution—including looking together at real-life case studies from persecuted Christians in other nations.
Listen as Monnie talks about how he does ministry with Fulani former-Muslims in Africa, Christian leaders and pastors in China, Sudan, Nigeria, Nepal, Lebanon and other nations.
Monnie has also served as a missions pastor in large American churches, and he’ll share challenges and struggles of that job, as well as encouragement for those currently serving God in that role. He’ll also challenge American Christians to be more grounded in our faith.
“Brother Amin” is a church leader from Algeria—a place where in recent months the government has forcibly closed numerous church buildings.
Amin says when persecution happens, that’s the time new Christians see the reality of the Body of Christ—the reality that they have a new family, joined together through the blood of Christ. But how do they prepare for persecution? And how do they overcome fear and keep spreading the gospel in spite of hardships?
Amin will share his own story, from being a radical Muslim trying to disprove the Bible to becoming convinced that the Bible was actually the truth. His decision wasn’t without cost: he’ll tell of the persecution that he faced after leaving Islam to follow Jesus. He’ll also equip listeners to pray for the nation of Algeria and our spiritual family there, and to reach out to Muslims that we know right here in the US.
In Part 2 of our conversation, Paul Childers, leader of YWAM’s University of the Nations in Kona, Hawaii is back along with another Paul, the leader of YWAM’s work in Nigeria.
Paul is reaching Muslims—even terrorists—in Nigeria for Christ. He says it is his passion to see people come to know Jesus that overcomes any fear he might have ministering in dangerous places. He will also share about a special ministry to widows whose husbands were killed in persecution.
Childers says that the way to prepare for Christian persecution is to fall in love with Jesus and really understand his Lordship over our lives.
Paul and Paul will help us to pray for Christians in Nigeria and other nations, and also talk about the need for Bibles: there are 227 languages spoken in Nigeria that don’t yet have the whole Bible translated into their language.
Paul felt God speaking to him, and the message was clear: “Get off this bus. Right now!” Paul obeyed, and his obedience saved his life.
Jesus told His followers to deny themselves, take up their cross and follow Him. God still calls His children to the uncomfortable, and even the dangerous. Paul, who leads the work of Youth With a Mission (YWAM) in Nigeria, shares this week on VOM Radio how God called him to minister in a difficult and dangerous part of Nigeria—a place where Christian persecution is a constant reality. He’ll also share how God protected him as he answered God’s call—including getting him off of that bus.
Today, many of Paul’s coworkers in gospel work are former radical Muslim persecutors of Christians miraculously transformed by the love of Jesus.
We’ll also hear from Paul Childers, who leads YWAM’s University of the Nations in Kona, Hawaii. Childers offers an encouraging update on what God is doing around the world from his front-row seat to missions work in many nations. He’ll talk about a move of God that’s raising up a generation of people willing to truly take up their cross and follow God’s call to any place on earth, no matter how difficult or dangerous.
Bob Fu is founder and president of the China Aid Association, and he’s one of the most knowledgeable people in the world on the Christian persecution in China. He’ll help explain why the Chinese government is cracking down on churches—even registered, “legal” churches— and how it is demanding Christians’ first loyalty be to the Communist Party and President Xi Jinping.
Wang Yi, pastor of Early Rain Covenant Church, was sentenced to nine years in prison by a Chinese court. Listen as Fu describes current oppression of the church in China—and how the church is responding. How can government leaders in free nations respond, and will it make a difference?
Bob will also share an update on the “prison ministry” of pastor John Cao—including a poem Cao wrote about God’s faithfulness to him in prison and his love, even for his persecutors. Pastor Cao is one of the Chinese prisoners you can write letters to through PrisonerAlert.com.
Use the link below to order a copy of Bob’s book, God’s Double Agent.
Jonathan Ekman is VOM’s vice president for international ministry, overseeing VOM’s work to serve and stand with persecuted Christians in the 70+ countries where they are persecuted. This week he’ll help us look ahead to 2020 and equip us to pray for persecuted Christians—and for VOM workers who directly serve them—in the New Year.
Jonathan will talk about persecution response, including specific examples of what VOM’s work looks like and how it is carried out inside hostile and restricted nations. He’ll talk about specific places where the need for VOM’s work is increasing, including India, China and Iran. He’ll also talk about how VOM’s staff members think about risk as they work in hostile and restricted nations—and what kind of people he’s looking for to join VOM’s international ministry team.
To help you pray effectively for persecuted Christians in 2020, request your free copy of VOM’s newly-released 2020 Global Prayer Guide.
Listen to Jonathan’s message—previously broadcast on VOM Radio—entitled “The Gospel Wildfire.”
This week, we’ll finish our two-part look back at some of the amazing stories God allowed VOM Radio to tell in 2019. We’ll share stories of God’s people in restricted nations in Asia, and look at how persecution affects not only the Christian being persecuted directly, but their family members as well.
Hearing small pieces of these episodes will make you want to hear the whole conversation with each of these guests. Here are links to listen online to all the episodes excerpted this week (you can also search for each episode in your favorite podcast app):
Brother Enfu from China, who sees constant government surveillance as an opportunity to witness for Christ.
Another pastor from China shares about why China’s government is so worried about church growth.
Brother Josh tells the story of a Christian in Laos who was fired from his job for following Jesus.
Dr. Eric Foley shares the amazing faithfulness of Pastor Han, martyred by North Korean agents inside China.
Norine Brunson was very intentional to encourage her husband, Pastor Andrew Brunson, while he was in prison in Turkey, and she shares how much the prayers of Christians around the world meant to her and Andrew. Andrew shares about one of the low points of his imprisonment, and how he felt victorious even in that low moment.
Dr. Mary Ho paints for listeners a clearer picture of John Chau, the young man martyred on North Sentinel Island in 2018.
Rashin Soodmand remembers her father, martyred in Iran when Rashin was only 13 years old.
Susanna Koh tells us the pain of missing her husband, Pastor Raymond Koh, who was abducted in Malaysia almost three years ago. Esther Koh talks about trying to forgive those who abducted her father, without knowing what happened to him or what exactly she needs to forgive. (You can sign a petition on behalf of Pastor Raymond Koh at www.ReleaseRaymond.com.)
Please share this episode with Christian friends who share your heart for our persecuted Christian family in hostile and restricted nations.
This week and next on VOM Radio, we’ll look back at some of the amazing stories God has allowed us to tell in 2019. This week we’ll focus especially on stories of God’s work in Muslim nations, places like Iran, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Afghanistan and other Islamic nations where Christians often face persecution.
Hearing small pieces of these conversations will make you want the whole story from each of these guests. Here are links to listen online to all the episodes excerpted this week (you can also search for each episode in your favorite podcast app):
VOM this week issued a Special Report about the church in Iran—a timely subject in light of current mass protests all over that nation. This special bonus episode of VOM Radio works hand-in-hand with that special report to help you understand current events in Iran and how they are affecting our Christian brothers and sisters there.
Peter Smith has been praying for and watching events in Iran for more than two decades. He’s made connections with Christian workers inside the country and Persian ministries around the world, giving him a unique understanding of what is happening in the country and how the church is being impacted.
Request your copy of the VOM Special Report about the church in Iran.
Listen to how Peter came to adopt Iran for prayer—and the blessings that resulted—in this episode of VOM Radio. Also, search for other guests involved in ministry to Iran by using the search bar at www.VOMRadio.net.
“Sister Nilufar” (not her real name) is ministering in the name of Jesus and sharing the gospel inside the Islamic Republic of Iran—a nation riven by protests and upheaval in recent weeks. It’s also a nation where Christians are persecuted by their government.
Listen as Nilufar tells the story of a young woman, Eldora, who became a follower of Christ—leaving behind a difficult life and becoming a bold witness among members of her family. God revealed the pain in her past and rescued her from a life of depression and addiction.
Eldora immediately began to bring friends and family members to meet the Savior who had rescued her life, and God revealed to Nilufar that He had significant plans for one of Eldora’s friends, Sara, like the Samaritan woman in John 4.
You’ll be encouraged and amazed as you hear stories of God working in miraculous ways inside Iran—inspiring Christians with specific ways to share the gospel and reach out to their countrymen.
VOM just issued a special report on current events and how they are affecting the church in Iran. Request your copy at www.VOMRadio.net/IranReport.
Javed and Lowen are working with Operation Mobilization to reach people in Afghanistan with the gospel and disciple new believers to follow Jesus in spite of persecution and violence. Listen as they share how God is working in Afghanistan, in spite of Taliban influence and Christian persecution that often starts with a new believer’s own family.
What are the challenges Afghan believers face? And what are the response of Afghans—both positive and negative—when they encounter the gospel of Jesus Christ?
There is encouraging news as well: the Afghan church is growing, and Muslims are seeing the difference Jesus makes. Listen for the story of a threatened Christian family who were defended by their Muslim neighbors.
Javed and Lowen will also help us understand how to pray for Afghanistan and for the church there—and why that ministry is so important right now.
Finally, they will share insights on ministering to Muslims, including five F’s to help American believers reach out to Muslims living here in the United States.
YouVersion’s Bible App was one of the very first apps available to install on an iPhone. Since launch, the app has been installed on 400 million devices worldwide, giving people all over the world—including nations where Christians are persecuted—free access to God’s Word.
But Brian Russell, the man who leads the YouVersion team, doesn’t have a background as a tech entrepreneur. Instead, his background is ministry, including living and doing gospel work in a closed country.
Listen as Brian talks about his ministry work, how VOM influenced him, and the how the Bible App was created—as a side project. He’ll also share about the reach YouVersion has today and the impact it’s making by putting God’s Word into the hands and hearts of people all over the world.