KIDNAPPED GOSPEL WORKER: Forgiveness is the Best Weapon We Have
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Episodes

  • AFGHANISTAN: “We Miss Our Homeland”

    As the Taliban retook control of Afghanistan in 2021, many Afghan Christians—especially those widely known to be followers of Christ—had to flee the country. Today, many of those Christians grieve the loss of their homeland, especially as they watch the suffering of their countrymen under Taliban rule. Some desire to return but while they wait are still faithfully reaching Afghans through a variety of digital means.

    In Part 2 of our conversation with author John Weaver (Part 1), he calls us to pray God will bless Afghan people—including both persecuted Christians and the governing Taliban—and that God will draw many to Himself.

    Listen as Weaver, the author of Najiba: A Love Story from Afghanistan (affiliate link), shares what life is like for Afghans now under Taliban rule. He will also tell what life is like for those who’ve fled the country and deal with the culture shock of navigating healthcare, education, work and relationships in a completely new environment and culture. As Christians, John gives us advice on first steps in welcoming Afghans into our communities and churches.

    Christians in Afghanistan are seeing increased response to the gospel as they discern hearts that are hungry and seeking truth. Once they become followers of Jesus, new Afghan Christians hunger for like-minded fellowship.

    Pray for the Taliban to lead with peace and focus on what’s best for Afghanistan’s people. Most importantly, pray for their salvation. Pray for our brothers and sisters in Afghanistan to know God is with them and for endurance in their faith. Pray for Afghans sharing the gospel through social media as they continue in their ministry.

    Never miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe to the podcast Or you can listen each week—and get daily prayer reminders—in the VOM App for your smartphone or tablet.

    30 MIN
  • AFGHANISTAN: Desperate and Dissatisfied, Muslims Turning to Christ

    Twenty months into the second Taliban rule of Afghanistan, all Afghans—but especially Afghan Christians—face great challenges. What pressures do our persecuted brothers and sisters face living in Afghanistan today, and how has their life changed under the strict Islamic rule of the Taliban?

    Listen as John Weaver, author of Inside Afghanistan, A Flame on the Frontline, and Najiba: A Love Story from Afghanistan (affiliate links), explains what life is like for Muslims and Christians in Afghanistan as they experience economic crisis and lack of assistance from the outside world.

    Many of the Taliban fighters come from the Pashtun people group, one of the largest unreached people groups in the world with 50 million people primarily in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Persecution against Afghan Christians has always come from local mosques, communities, and families. With the Taliban takeover, the nation’s government is now also openly opposed to the gospel.

    Amid isolation and economic hardship, many Afghans are desperate and dissatisfied with Islam. That dissatisfaction means they are more open to the gospel. Christian brothers and sisters in Afghanistan continue boldly witness in conversations with Muslims. Listen as John tells how Christians are carefully sharing the gospel and finding “people of peace” in their communities.

    Pray for Afghan Christians outside the country who are reaching their people through digital tools and pray for wider distribution of the Pashtun Bible. Pray the Holy Spirit will draw more Afghan people to become followers of Jesus Christ.

    Never miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe to the podcast Or you can listen each week—and get daily prayer reminders—in the VOM App for your smartphone or tablet.

    26 MIN
  • NORTH KOREA: Christianity Is Existential Threat to Kim Regime

    It is illegal to bring a Bible into North Korea, and illegal to possess one inside the country. But VOM continues to find ways to get God’s Word into the hands of North Koreans. Dr. Eric Foley, CEO of VOM Korea in Seoul, says everything changes every day in North Korea, bringing new challenges and requiring new responses to continue bringing the gospel to desperate people in “the hermit kingdom.”

    Listen to hear how persecuted Christians in North Korea practice biblical obedience in spite of a brutal regime that demands utter loyalty. How can Christians follow the first commandment, “You shall have no other gods before me,” while living in a country that deifies members of the Kim family? Dr. Foley shares how, despite the consequences for even the slightest hint of Christian behavior, our brothers and sisters continue to boldly take risks and exercise wisdom to follow Christ inside North Korea.

    One way members of the persecuted church in the DPRK are encouraged and discipled is through VOM radio broadcasts sharing passages from the Bible or sermons delivered in the North Korean dialect. With five broadcast times throughout the day, Dr. Foley asks us to pray that the Lord would continue thwarting efforts of the North Korean government to jam these Christian radio broadcasts. 

    Dr. Foley, author of These Are The Generations (affiliate link), will also share his own story of persecution for spreading the gospel to North Korea. He reminds us that getting God’s Word out, even just one copy, is worth it.

    Pray for North Koran Christians to be faithful to Christ as they go about their daily lives in this restricted nation, and for more North Koreans to be able to read and listen to the Bible for themselves.

    Never miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe to the podcast Or you can listen each week—and get daily prayer reminders—in the VOM App for your smartphone or tablet.

    24 MIN
  • CENTRAL ASIA: “To Suffer for Jesus Is An Honor”

    Born and raised in a Muslim family, Brother Maksud says it’s a miracle he is now a follower of Jesus Christ.

    Maksud’s first years of life were under communist rule as his country was part of the Soviet Union, but it became independent, and more Islamic, after the fall of the USSR. As different factions battled for post-Soviet control, civil war broke out, a difficult time for Maksud and all of his countrymen. Yet good news was coming.

    Listen as Maksud tells how he was impacted by seeing the JESUS Film and hearing Jesus speak Maksud’s own language. He’ll share how a Christian stepped into his family’s life, becoming a faithful friend and sharing stories from the Bible about God. Years later Maksud heard those same stories at a free Taekwondo lesson, another step on his pathway to following Jesus.

    When Maksud first stepped into a church, he was shocked. It was a completely different atmosphere from anything he’d known. It was full of love; people greeted him by name with hugs. He was floored when believers at the church told him they had been praying for him for more than a year.

    At age 18, Maksud made the decision to follow Jesus. His younger brother wasn’t far behind. When they shared their Christian faith with their mom, she cried, knowing their family would be shamed and face persecution in their Muslim culture. Maksud’s father was not home when they announced their newfound faith to their mother. When he heard of their decision, he asked both brothers to confirm their decision to follow Jesus. Expecting their father to be angry, both young men said that yes, they had become Christians. Their father’s response shocked them:

    “Thanks to God. Two years ago, I gave my life to Christ. I didn’t know how to tell you, but I was praying for you guys.”

    Many people in Central Asia, upon sharing their faith in Christ with family members, face beatings, rejection, and being kicked out of their home. Even though Maksud didn’t experience persecution from inside his home, he knew that he and his brothers would be persecuted by others.

    Today Maksud is a pastor, and his brother also pastors a church. Listen as he tells how we can pray for his people in Central Asia, including praying that whole families will come to Christ together.

    Never miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe to the podcast. Or you can listen each week—and get daily reminders to pray for persecuted Christians—in the new VOM App for your smartphone or tablet.

    24 MIN
  • LAOS PASTOR: “God is Real and He Healed Me”

    One night, TK, extremely sick, found himself in his room praying, “I am ill and if you are the one true God then I will commit my life to you.”

    TK slept through the night and woke up completely healed! From that moment, he was committed to following Christ. His father—a former drug dealer who met Christ in prison for his crimes—encouraged TK to learn more about the one true God.

    With passion for following Christ after he had experienced God’s power over disease, TK went to Bible school in Thailand. Returning to Laos with Christian materials to help his ministry, TK was arrested at the border and imprisoned for three months before God ordained his release from prison.

    Today TK serves persecuted Christians inside Laos and holds a leadership position within Laos’s registered church organization. He says at the time of his arrest it was common for Christians in Laos to endure physical suffering for being a Christian—arrests, beatings and other pressure. Today, he says, mental and spiritual pressure for following Christ is more common, including being ostracized by family members, cut off from work or educational opportunities and even kicked out of your village.

    Listen as TK shares what our persecuted church family faces in Laos today. TK will also explain how he is serving persecuted brothers and sisters there. Pray for communist authorities in Laos and for wisdom and discernment for TK as he assists persecuted Christians.

    Never miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe to the podcast. Or you can listen each week—and get daily prayer reminders—in the new VOM App for your smartphone or tablet.

    24 MIN
  • CHINA PERSECUTION: The Gift of Suffering

    This week we complete our conversation with Richard and Jeanette, an American couple who had served 10 years in China when police came knocking on their apartment door and they knew their gospel service in China was over.

    When we left off last week, Richard was being interrogated at a Chinese police station while Jeanette, his wife, prayed and was ministered to by their local church pastor and other Christian friends. Richard’s interrogation continued the next day before police let him return home but warned him not to tell anyone—even his wife—about the questioning. He knew the interrogation wasn’t over. In the ensuing weeks he was repeatedly called back to the police station.

    When he arrived home, Jeanette watched her husband closely, looking for signs of beatings or torture. The stress of each day—and not knowing when authorities would demand another trip to the police station—left Richard, at times, barely able to function. Some days he couldn’t even get out of bed. He couldn’t tell his wife what happened with the police, fearing anything he said would put her in danger of also being arrested or interrogated.

    Chinese police mockingly asked why he would follow Christ. They thought Jesus selfish to ask His followers give up family, jobs, money and success just to end up being locked in a police station. Yet even as they questioned him, Richard felt guidance from the Holy Spirit in how to answer their questions and even tried to plant seeds of the gospel in their conversations.

    Finally, Richard and Jeanette learned that they would be allowed to leave China but would likely never be allowed to return to the land and people they love deeply. Listen to hear how they were finally set free, and when they finally had the chance to talk to each other about all they’d gone through at the hands of communist Chinese police.

    You’ll also hear how they are both thankful for the persecution they endured—and the fruit they’ve seen in their own lives and their family that grew directly out of their time of trial. They’ll also help listeners pray for Christians in China as they endure persecution and suffering for their faith—without the opportunity to leave the country or the protection of a foreign passport.

    Listen to the first part of Richard and Jeanette’s story here, and the second part here.

    Never miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe to the podcast. Or listen each week in the new VOM App for your smartphone or tablet.

    24 MIN
  • CHINA PERSECUTION: “The Lord is With Me”

    We left off last week as Richard and Jeanette’s apartment was raided by 25 Chinese policemen. The couple knew that their time in China was over after 10 years of ministry, but they didn’t know how long it might be before they were allowed to leave. Listen now as Jeanette recalls exactly what happened when she returned to their apartment to find police searching through their bookshelves and closets and questioning her husband.

    Despite the chaos of the raid, Jeanette continued relying on the sovereignty and goodness of God, reminding herself often that He is trustworthy no matter our circumstances. She prayed fervently for Richard as he was taken away by the police.

    Richard experienced God’s sovereignty and the Holy Spirit at work as he sat in the police station interrogation room, living in the truth of Luke 12:11-12. In spite of police threats, Richard relied on scripture God brought to his mind and four things he knew he had to stand firm in as he tried to answer the police accusations.

    Listen also for how Chinese Christians supported Richard and Jeanette during their ordeal, including a local church pastor who knocked on their door and offered a bold prayer for Richard. Their local Christian community brought Jeanette great comfort, providing practical proof that the Lord was with them.

    Pray persecuted Chinese Christians will stand firm in faith and be encouraged by the Body of Christ.

    One group of Chinese Christians, the Mayflower Church, made the decision as a congregation to flee their homeland. Pastor Pan, leader of the group, was our guest on VOM Radio last month. Listen this week for a praise update on this group of believers and their immigration case.

    Never miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe to the podcast. Or listen each week in the VOM App for your smartphone or tablet.

    24 MIN
  • CHINA PERSECUTION: Not If But When

    Richard and Jeanette had served in China for several years when—around 2018—they began hearing stories of foreign Christians forced to leave the country. “Everyone knows it happens, but no one thinks it’s going to happen to them,” Richard says.

    The couple decided to stay in China as long as God kept the door open—even when Covid put the entire country under lockdown. They were prepared to be kicked out; they’d even begun to think about when it would happen instead of if it would happen. The threat gave them a sense of urgency in their ministry as they continued shepherding and teaching God’s Word to Chinese people.

    Richard and Jeannette felt the Lord work in their hearts during their college years, and both knew that overseas gospel work was God’s call for them. They met after Jeanette returned from two years working in China, married, and then received an invitation to serve in China. Listen as Richard and Jeanette share how they thought about risk and danger of serving in a Communist country, and the joys and challenges of their first years of missions service, including learning Chinese.

    You’ll also hear about the day Richard opened the door of their apartment to find 25 uniformed Chinese national police and knew their time of serving the Lord in China was coming to an end. Richard and Jeanette will return to VOM Radio next week to continue their story.

    Never miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe to the podcast. Or listen each week in the new VOM App for your smartphone or tablet.

    24 MIN
  • MISSIONS WORKER: “We Will Never Stop Fishing”

    One million to one. One million lost people for every one gospel worker.

    When Brother David heard the million-to-one ratio of population to gospel workers in the Arab world, he and his wife knew that was where God needed them to serve in missions.

    Today, Muslims in North Africa and the Middle East are more open to asking questions and seeking information about Jesus, the Bible and Christianity—especially through the internet. Brother David leads Operation Mobilization’s North African and Middle Eastern work and emphasizes the need to have more workers reaching Muslims for Christ.

    David’s leads OM workers across 20 countries as they reach out to Muslims and disciple new believers. His teams also work to train Muslim background believers to reach, disciple and lead their own people and churches. He knows there will be Christian persecution as the church grows; he’s seen persecution directly on members of his team and his own family. But, from his own experience, he’s also seen how God uses persecution of His followers for His glory and purpose.

    David will advise listeners who want to reach out to Muslim friends and coworkers with gospel conversations. He has seen the insecurity many Christians have engaging with Muslims, but encourages us to jump into conversations about faith and beliefs. He says stories from the Bible and our witness to God’s hand in our own experiences are powerful ways to plant gospel seeds with our Muslim friends.

    He’ll also help us know how to pray for gospel work in the Middle East and North Africa.

    Never miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe to the podcast. Or you can listen each week in the new VOM App for your smartphone or tablet.

    25 MIN
  • Helping Muslims Find and Follow Jesus

    Moving to a new place can be difficult, especially if you don’t know anyone in your new community. Muslims from across the world have moved to America for work or school yet they are often ignored by those around them—even Christians. Fouad Masri, president of the Crescent Project, says our job as believers is not to convert anyone, but to shine the light of Jesus and rely on him to draw our Muslim friends to himself.

    Masri is the author of a new book, Sharing Jesus with Muslims: A Step-By-Step Guide (affiliate link). Listen in as he talks about conversational apologetics, thought-provoking questions to ask a Muslim friend, and myths still circulating within the Muslim world about the Christian faith. You’ll also hear Fouad’s joy as he shares about his ministry and stories of Muslims coming to Christ.

    With over 30 years of sharing the gospel with Muslims, Fouad reminds us we are not called to bring anything new, but to pray for sincere hearts ready to receive the gospel. He emphasizes that we should pray for the leading of the Holy Spirit to help answer Muslims who are seeking spiritual truth, and to ask questions that provoke self-examination.

    Jesus is building his church among former Muslims—including inside hostile and restricted nations where Christian persecution is common and among Muslims living in the United States and other nations with more religious freedom. To learn more about how to witness and build bridges cross culturally with Muslims, sign up for the Sahara Challenge in Nashville, TN from May 1-3, or join online from May 23-25.

    Listen to the first half of this conversation here. Never miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe to the podcast. Or listen each week in the new VOM App for your smartphone or tablet.

    24 MIN
  • Muslims Are Open to the Gospel Like Never Before

    How can I share Christ with Muslims when I don’t know more about Islam? What if I can’t answer all their questions? What can I do to overcome my fear of sharing the gospel?

    Fouad Masri, founder and president of Crescent Project, answers these questions and more in his new book Sharing Jesus with Muslims: A Step-By-Step Guide (affiliate link). For more than 30 years, Masri has been training Christians how to share Jesus with Muslims. He says Muslims are more open today than ever to hearing the gospel, and many are actively searching for Christian books or information online.

    Yet many Christians are still fearful to reach out to Muslims. Fouad says his goal is to move believers from fear and fascination to compassion, and it is that passion that led to this new book.

    Fouad encourages us to pray for God to open the door for friendships and conversation with the Muslims we meet in our work, school or community. He says one of the first challenges is to learn to listen. Listen to what our Muslim friends are telling us and listen for God to open the door for a spiritual conversation. Listen as Fouad shares an example from his own life when he really didn’t want to have a deep conversation but realized the Lord had already been at work preparing his new friend to hear the gospel.

    He will also discuss Christian persecution of Muslim-background believers in the context of western nations. Do MBB’s face pressure and persecution in the United States as they do in Middle Eastern nations like Egypt, Saudi Arabia or Yemen?

    Pray the openness of Muslims right now will result in a great harvest of people coming to know Christ in a personal way. If you want to learn more about sharing your faith with Muslims, Crescent Project’s Sahara Challenge provides an in-depth training on how to serve unreached Muslims locally and globally. The event is offered in-person from May 1st-3rd in Nashville or online from May 23rd-25th.

    Would you like to hear more about how God is working in the Muslim world? You’ll be encouraged as you listen to more stories of Muslims who came to faith, like Rachid from Morocco, Al Fadi in Saudi Arabia, and Benesh in Iran.

    Never miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe to the podcast. Or listen each week in the new VOM App for your smartphone or tablet.

    24 MIN
  • CHINA PASTOR: “This Could Be Our Last Sunday Together”

    Just before Covid shut down the Peoples Republic of China, Pastor Pan Yongguang and members of his congregation, known today as the Mayflower Church, made the difficult decision to leave their country. After 16 families from the congregation arrived in South Korea in 2019, relatives and other family members still in China faced increasing pressure from the communist government, especially when members of the church went public about the persecution they’d faced and their decision to leave China.

    Listen as Pastor Pan shares about his life before he became and believer, how he came to faith in Christ, and how the Lord raised him up to be the pastor of the church he was baptized in. Before Pastor Pan considered personally following Christ, he knew people in China must pay a price for being a Christian. He says, “That’s a special part of Chinese Christians. They know they have to pay a price.”

    The roots of the decision to leave China trace back to a day in 2018 when Pastor Pan had lunch with Pastor Wang Yi, who is now serving a nine-year sentence as a prisoner for Christ. Christian persecution was rising in China. Wang Yi knew he faced imprisonment for his faith; he challenged Pastor Pan to prepare himself to go to prison as well. Pan will share about the regular visits he received from police after Wang Yi’s arrest.

    Pastor Pan and his church members had a decision to make. Should they leave China, or should they stay? Many had good jobs in China, but they worried about raising their children in Godly truth amidst communist pressure and indoctrination. After a year of discussions, knowing each Sunday could be their last one together, they felt unified in the decision to leave China.

    Today, Pastor Pan and the Mayflower church are educating their children to follow Christ as they wait to receive refugee status from the United Nations and resettlement in a free nation. Pray for favor for them in the UN refugee application process. Pray also for family members still in China, who constantly face threats and intimidation.

    Never miss and episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe to the podcast. Or you can listen each week in the new VOM App for your smartphone or tablet.

    25 MIN
  • VOM President: Inspired By Examples Of Persecuted Christians

    “As we commit daily to being Christ’s witnesses to a lost world, we must understand that we will be opposed. In fact, the more faithful we are, the more serious the opposition.”

    Cole Richards, President of The Voice of the Martyrs, joins VOM Radio this week to talk about helping Christians in free nations, like the United States, discover what it means to follow Christ when it’s unpopular or even costly—something Christians living in restricted nations and hostile areas deal with every day. We’ll also introduce a new resource from The Voice of the Martyrs to inspire believers to learn about and develop a faith worth suffering for.

    Cole recently wrote a series of editorials in The Voice of the Martyrs free monthly magazine on the topic, “Prepared for Persecution.” The Bible promises opposition (John 16:33) and persecution (II Tim. 3:12) when we live out our faith as biblical disciples of Christ. If Christians in free nations don’t learn these scriptural truths, we will be unprepared to face persecution when it comes.

    Cole and Todd will also discuss The Sabina Group Study, a new resource from The Voice of the Martyrs offering inspiring examples of Christians who have taken up their crosses and followed Christ in spite of opposition, persecution, suffering and pain. Examples in the study come from the lives of VOM’s founders, Pastor Richard and Sabina Wurmbrand, and also from seven “modern-day Sabinas,” women who endured intense persecution as faithful witnesses for Christ in our day.

    You can access this resource, including the full-length Sabina feature film and six video study sessions, FOR FREE right now in The Voice of the Martyrs' app for your smartphone or tablet.

    Never miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe to the podcast. Or listen each week in the  VOM App for your smartphone or tablet.

    Cole Richards is the President of The Voice of the Martyrs (VOM). In addition to leading VOM’s service to persecuted Christians abroad, Cole serves as Publisher and Executive Producer of VOM’s publishing and media initiatives. Cole joined VOM in 2006 after living and ministering in a restricted nation, one of the least-reached in the Middle East, where he, his wife and their children reached out to Muslims and supported persecuted Christians.

    Cole holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering as well as two master’s degrees: one in missiology, with a focus on evangelism in the Muslim world, and one in business administration (MBA) in the context of organizational leadership. Before entering full-time ministry, Cole served as a USAF officer, focusing on the rise of Islamic terrorist groups in the Middle East.

     

    33 MIN
  • MIDDLE EAST: “The Greatest Gift I’ve Ever Given”

    Last week we heard Gary Witherall talk about how God called him and his wife, Bonnie, to evangelize Muslims in the Middle East. In this second part of our conversation, Gary describes the day Christian persecution hit home as his wife, Bonnie, was martyred in the clinic where she served Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.

    Gary talks about hearing God’s voice in that time of grief as he sat on the floor; in the next room was the body of his martyred wife. Faced with the choice of bitterness and hatred or forgiveness and love, Gary chose forgiveness. In that moment, Gary prayed, “Lord, you have forgiven me of all things. Today I forgive whoever killed my wife.” Gary calls that forgiveness the greatest gift he’s ever given anybody.

    Listen as he shares the responses of friends and neighbors when they saw that forgiveness in action; his wife had just been martyred for her faith yet Gary still loved the Lebanese people.

    You’ll also hear about how God has brought fruit from Gary and Bonnie’s sacrifice, and how God is still using Gary today to share His love around the world as he continues to serve with Operation Mobilization. You can learn more about Gary’s story by reading his book, Total Abandon (affiliate link).

    Never miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe to the podcast. Or you can listen in the brand new VOM App for your smartphone or tablet.

    24 MIN
  • LEBANON: “To Lay Down Your Life Starts with Humility”

    Gary Witherall and his wife, Bonnie, heard God’s call to share the gospel in the Middle East. They answered that call by moving to Lebanon, where they served with Operation Mobilization, building relationships with Lebanese people and Palestinian refugees—until the day Bonnie was martyred in the clinic where she served refugee women.

    Listen as Gary shares about how God called them to the Middle East, what their work there was like and how each day of their ministry was unique. Gary also explains how things changed on 9-11, when he and Bonnie witnessed people all around them celebrating the murder of more than 3,000 Americans.

    After the attacks, their life and ministry became more difficult, but they never considered leaving. In fact, it was after 9-11 that Gary and Bonnie determined they would stay and serve the Lord—no matter the cost. “I think we were martyred on that day,” Gary says. You’ll be challenged as Gary asks the question that persecuted Christians around the world must often ask: what do you love so much you’d be willing to die for it?

    “If life is a limited period of hours, I want to invest it well. And if it’s cut short, I want it to be cut short in the full joy of doing something worthwhile.”

    Be sure to join us next week on VOM Radio as Gary tells about the day Bonnie gave her life for Christ. You can learn more about Gary’s story by reading his book, Total Abandon (affiliate link).

    Never miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe to the podcast. Or you can listen in the brand new VOM App for your smartphone or tablet.

    24 MIN
  • ASIA PACIFIC: More Christians Sent to Prison

    The electricity was shut off in the homes of new Christians. Their rice fields were taken away. Some were beaten by local authorities—in front of loved ones who witnessed their suffering. Listen as Carter Gates shares about meeting these faithful believers, the first in their village to follow Christ. Carter leads VOM’s work in Asia/Pacific, overseeing VOM project work to help persecuted Christians in countries like China, Vietnam, Laos, Indonesia, Myanmar, and North Korea.

    Carter shares about a unique situation in Laos, where a pastor who was martyred last year. It’s unusual for a Christian to be killed in Laos, where persecution typically occurs at the hands of family members or village authorities. He’ll also tell the story of a pastor accused of putting a curse on a policeman. The policeman suspected a curse following a string of hardships he suffered after confiscating Bibles from the pastor and burning them.

    Listen as Carter gives an update on Christians in China after “Zero Covid” policies were finally dropped. As the Communist Party continues attempts to control the Chinese people, Party leaders understand that children are one key to maintaining their control. Carter shares the penalties our Christian brothers and sisters endure when they teach Biblical truth to young people—a crime in China.

    Pray for persecuted Christian family members in prison across the Asia/Pacific region. Pray they know the Lord is with them in their persecution, and that they would be strengthened and encouraged to stand firm despite fear and anxiety. Pray for VOM’s Asia/Pacific team as they creatively work to stand with those furthering the gospel in these hostile and restricted nations.

    Please send us a note to share how this episode encouraged you. Never miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe to the podcast.

    25 MIN
  • GAZA PASTOR: Connected Together Through Pain

    Today Hanna Massad, former pastor of Gaza Baptist Church, assists persecuted Christians and refugees across the Middle East.

    He knows what they are facing. He’s had his own first-hand experiences of Christian persecution, living and pastoring a church in a Muslim context. His wife led the Gaza Bible Society during a time when it was bombed twice. Their coworker and friend, Rami Ayyad, was kidnapped and murdered.

    In these difficult moments, Hanna and his family had to completely rely on God’s Word. When Gaza police told him they couldn’t protect his family, Hanna thought of Psalm 46:1, “The Lord is my refuge.” He and his family knew God could protect them, even if local authorities could not or would not.

    In the face of threats of further attacks, they decided to leave Gaza, at least temporarily. They planned to be away for a few weeks, long enough that the situation could settle down again. Instead, their departure became long-term.

    While the doors have never re-opened for the Massad family to return permanently to Gaza, that doesn’t mean their ministry in Gaza ceased. Massad, author of the book Pastor From Gaza (affiliate link), continues ministering to Christians in Gaza through the church, online connections, the Bible Society library and regular visits back to his homeland.

    Listen as he shares an update on the current ministry of Pauline Ayyad, Rami’s widow and a recent guest on VOM Radio. He’ll also share what it means to be a true disciple and he’ll challenge every listener to keep our eyes on Jesus.

    Hanna is the founder and president of Christian Ministry to Gaza, blessing and serving widows, orphans, and refugees in multiple nations of the Middle East, helping provide for spiritual and physical needs.

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

    29 MIN
  • GAZA PASTOR: “Our Faith Will Not Be Tested When Everything Is Going Fine”

    Pastor Hanna Massad served the Lord in the face of intense Christian persecution. He’s been threatened. The Bible Society where his wife worked was bombed. He buried a martyred coworker. Yet he calls it an honor and a privilege to serve the Lord in such circumstances.

    Hanna Massad is the former pastor of Gaza Baptist Church. His wife, Suhad, led the Bible Society in Gaza. He still gets emotional thinking back to the day when Rami Ayyad, who worked for the Bible Society, was kidnapped and later killed. Speaking of his martyred friend, Hanna says, “Rami had a wonderful heart, he loved the Lord, and his dedication to the Lord, his family, and the community are wonderful memories, despite the pain and suffering.”

    Listen as Hanna shares his own story of coming to faith in Christ, and how he faced pressure—even as a boy—for being identified as a Christian in Gaza. He says Christians in Gaza live “between two fires,” and explains some of the challenges of church ministry in such a setting.

    “Our faith will not be tested when everything is going fine.” Hanna explained. God allows us to go through the fire to reflect His love to those who don’t know Him.

    Last year we met Rami Ayyad’s widow, Pauline. Listen to Pauline Ayyad’s interview on VOM Radio to hear her journey from deep grief and anger to forgiving Rami’s persecutors.

    Today Pastor Hanna Massad serves as the leader for Christian Mission to Gaza. He is also author of the book Pastor From Gaza (affiliate link). Hanna reminds us what the most important thing in life is as we, children of God by His grace, carry the Holy Spirit’s presence wherever we go.

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

    24 MIN
  • MISSIONS: Taking the Gospel to the 4-in-10

    Brother Harold served 15 years as a gospel worker among Muslims in Central Asia—where persecution of new Christian believers is common. For the past five years he has worked in the US to recruit, train and mobilize more workers into the world’s spiritual harvest fields. Harold reminds us that four out of every ten people around the world have never heard the name of Jesus. What are we, as Christians, doing to shrink that number? Harold reminds us that God’s Word clearly states that followers of Jesus are to be involved in the spreading of the gospel. He challenges every listener: Are you sending laborers into the harvest? Praying for the gospel to go out? Are you going?

    Harold will share a recent story where God allowed him to see the fruit of his family’s labor in Central Asia—but also reminds us that we won’t always see the fruit of our work, especially in the early years of gospel planting.

    He’ll also encourage listeners that they can reach unreached nations right here in the US through immigrant communities. He’ll share how he and his family have been able to bless Central Asian immigrants in their city—and how that has led to gospel opportunities. He says when Muslims come to faith in the US, it is almost always the result of encountering Christ’s love in His people.

    Listen as Harold suggests ways we can pray for more opportunities for the gospel, for our persecuted church family, and for current and future missionaries.

    In this conversation we refer to a previous episode on VOM Radio with Bob and Kasey, who were enjoying their retirement when God gave them a “holy discontent,” and called them to minister to the people of a very closed Muslim nation.

    Learn how you can specifically pray for persecuted Christians in 2023 by requesting a complimentary copy of VOM’s 2023 Global Prayer Guide.

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    24 MIN
  • TURKEY: Ready To Die for Christ

    “Tell me the truth! Dead or alive?”

    When Susanne Geske heard the answer to that question—that her husband, Tilmann, had been murdered along with two Turkish Christians, Necati Aydin and Ugur Yüksel—she was overwhelmed with shock. The Geskes had been in Turkey (now called Türkiye) for 10 years. It’s a Muslim country, and they knew there was some risk for Christians. But she never thought their family would be affected.

    The five murderers—ages 19 and 20—were arrested at the scene of the crime. Turkish media members rushed to Malatya to report on the “missionary massacre,” and they wanted to interview Susanne. She didn’t know what to say when they came to her door the day after her husband had been martyred.

    Praying, she asked, “Lord what should I say?”

    The Holy Spirit answered with the words of Christ on the cross: “Forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing.” Though Turkish media often paint Christians as an enemy, with the Lord’s help Susanne used this opportunity to share the gospel of forgiveness and the love of Jesus, the reason she could forgive men who killed her husband. Her living example of forgiveness was broadcast all over Turkey.

    Listen as Susanne shares how God has become a father to her children and looked after her needs in the 15 years since Tilmann was killed. She’ll also give an update on the killers’ trial, the search for justice and how her church family and neighbors enveloped her with prayers and love in the days after the murder.

    She says that in Turkey, and other Muslim nations, people are rejecting Islam and seeking hope and truth. Many Muslims are searching privately online to learn more about Jesus and Christianity. Pray for Christians in Turkey, for those who are seeking truth, and for Susanne and her family.

    VOM Radio has also shared a conversation with Semse Aydin, widow of Necati. Listen to that conversation here. VOM Radio host, Todd Nettleton, wrote about meeting Susanne and Semse in Turkey just seven weeks after the murder of their husbands in his book, When Faith is Forbidden.

    Learn more about praying for persecuted Christians in Turkey and other restricted nations and hostile areas when you request your free copy of the VOM 2023 Global Prayer Guide.

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

    24 MIN