Thirty years ago this month the Berlin Wall came down. Within days, communism had fallen in Eastern Europe. This week we’ll hear how these events affected Christians living behind what had been the Iron Curtain, from two eyewitnesses.
Petr Jasek grew up behind the wall as the son of a pastor in Czechoslovakia, and saw the dramatic changes first-hand as fellow Christians celebrated opportunities they’d never imagined under communism. He will talk about those exciting days in his country, and how the legacy of persecution still affects the Czech church today.
Merv Knight is the co-founder of VOM-Australia and a long-time associate of Richard and Sabina Wurmbrand, VOM’s founders. He’ll share how VOM responded to the wall’s fall, immediately swinging into action to take aid and Bibles to brothers and sisters in newly-freed nations. At the time, many thought that the window of freedom might not remain open for long. Christians that VOM workers found were desperate for God’s Word and thrilled to have access to Bibles and other evangelism tools.
In 2016, missionaries Norine Brunson and her husband, Pastor Andrew Brunson, were arrested in Turkey. Norine was released 12 days later, but Andrew remained in prison for two years. Norine remained in Turkey throughout his imprisonment to support Andrew and fight for his freedom.
Listen as Norine tells VOM Radio how she helped Andrew battle for his faith and freedom as she watched him suffer and as they both missed significant family events in the United States during Andrew’s imprisonment.
Hear Norine describe the lowest point in Andrew’s imprisonment and how she saw God bring good out of even the darkest days of Andrew’s discouragement and doubt.
Norine also shares with VOM Radio listeners how they can pray for the nation of Turkey as well as for the families of Christians imprisoned because of their faith in Christ.
Dr. Mary Ho, executive leader of All Nations, is back to continue our discussion of the life and legacy of John Chau, killed one year ago this month attempting to take Jesus’ love to the people of North Sentinel Island. John’s sacrifice has drawn comparisons to Jim Elliott and Nate Saint, and Mary will talk about the qualities they shared, especially a sacrificial, deep love for Jesus.
Mary will tell us more about All Nations, the ministry she leads which sent John to the island, including how they train missionaries and church planters all over the world and then coach each one as they put their training into practice. She will also discuss what it will take to reach the hardest places—places like North Sentinel Island—with the gospel message.
John Chau felt called to North Sentinel Island after reviewing this list of unreached people groups; would you consider choosing one unreached people group to specifically pray for?
One year ago this month, John Chau gave his life for Jesus Christ and the gospel on North Sentinel Island, and island in the Bay of Bengal governed by India.
Dr. Mary Ho is the executive leader of All Nations, the mission organization that sent out John Chau and sends gospel workers all over the world, including countries where Christians are persecuted. Listen as she describes the John Chau she knew: unassuming, humble, soft-spoken, and with a clear calling from God to go to the people of North Sentinel Island.
Dr. Ho will also talk about the criticism that came after John’s death—in secular media and even from within the church, and describe her own perspective on fulfilling the Great Commission and how missionaries bring blessings, not problems, to the nations where they go.
John was a young man when he went to the island, but he was not unprepared for challenges he might face there. Mary will tell us how much effort John put forth—years of effort—preparing to arrive on the beach that sunny morning last November.
This is Part 1 of our conversation with Dr. Mary Ho; tune in next week to hear Part 2 as we continue to honor the life and sacrifice of John Chau.
The world knew Pastor Han Chung-Ryeol as a persecuted Christian pastor and a man who served North Korean refugees crossing into China—in spite of threats and danger.
Dr. Eric Foley, the leader of VOM-Korea, knew Han as coworker and friend. This week Dr. Foley shares personal stories of the courageous pastor murdered by North Korean agents inside China. Pastor Han’s story is the subject of this year’s International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church video from VOM.
Just months before Pastor Han’s murder, he visited Dr. Foley and they talked openly about the threats against Pastor Han’s work. One of Han’s coworkers had already been kidnapped and taken to prison in North Korea. There were threats the same thing could happen to Pastor Han.
But Pastor Han reminded the Foleys that the shepherd’s job is to care for the sheep—and his sheep were along the North Korean border, where they needed their shepherd. He was willing not only to go, but to lay down his life for the sheep God had entrusted to his care.
Listen and be inspired by the example of faithfulness, commitment and courage lived out by Pastor Han Chung-Ryeol, and prepare your heart and your church to pray for persecuted Christians in North Korea and around the world on the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church, November 3.
Also listen to Dr. Foley’s previous visit to VOM Radio, where he discussed why the North Korean regime of the Kim family is so threatened by Christianity.
Pastor Andrew Brunson, author of a new book called God’s Hostage, was imprisoned in Turkey for two years, and he says every single day was a battle to overcome his fear and grief and anxiety. One of those who inspired him in these battles was Richard Wurmbrand, VOM’s founder. In Part 2 of our interview with Brunson, he explains how Wurmbrand inspired him to dance inside his prison cell. He says he didn’t feel joy or happiness, but he set his will to act joyfully in spite of his feelings.
Brunson was also inspired by another former prisoner for Christ (and VOM Radio guest), Dan Baumann, to lock away doubts and questions and choose to leave those in God’s hand. Brunson says he told God from his prison cell, “I don’t need answers to have a relationship with You.”
Listen as Andrew shares how he came to “embrace my assignment” of being in prison for Christ.
Andrew will share about the song God birthed in his soul while he was locked in prison, and how his heart changed over long months in prison to a posture of faithfulness and trust in spite of not seeing his outward circumstances change. That heart change, he says, was his victory over the terrible circumstances and injustice he faced in prison.
Finally, Brunson will tell the story of a letter he wrote to Norine that clearly demonstrated his changed heart as he expressed commitment to drink every drop that the Lord had ordained for him to drink from the “cup of suffering.”
Pastor Andrew Brunson spent two years in Turkish prisons accused, among other “crimes,” of helping plot a coup against President Erdogan’s government there.
There were very dark days for Brunson, isolated in prison and wondering why God seemed silent in his time of suffering. Listen as he shares how he poured out his frustrations to God, but ultimately chose to lean into God—even if God seemed to remain distant.
Through those dark days, Andrew's wife, Norine served as his pastor and encourager, the only Christian he was allowed contact with. Listen as he tells how she was “heroic” in standing with him in spite of risks to her own freedom.
Pastor Brunson also took strength from the stories of other Christians who suffered persecution. One of those was Richard Wurmbrand, founder of The Voice of the Martyrs and the author of Tortured for Christ and other books. Andrew says he “spent a lot of time with Richard Wurmbrand in prison,” through Richard’s writings.
Andrew tells the entire story in a new book, God’s Hostage, which you can order here (affiliate link).
Prior to the start of Andrew’s trial in Turkey, his daughter Jacqueline was our guest on VOM Radio. You can hear our conversation with her here.
Gary Lane has been telling the stories of persecuted Christians for decades. As International News Director and Senior Correspondent for CBN News, he’s gone to meet them—he’s traveled to more than 100 countries—and been drawn not only to tell their stories, but also actively serve and stand with bold believers enduring persecution.
A month after 21 Christians were martyred by ISIS on the beach in Libya, Gary went to Egypt to meet the families of many of those beheaded on the sand. When he met these families—just weeks after their loved ones were killed—he was moved and challenged by their strong faith. They told him what an honor it was that their loved ones had died for Christ, and expressed forgiveness to the ISIS murderers.
Gary also served three years on staff at VOM. He’ll share how he encountered VOM workers on the front lines in Sudan and how that led to a cooperative effort between VOM and Operation Blessing—and eventually to Gary serving on VOM’s staff.
Gary will tell about his first encounters with persecuted Christians, and how he transitioned from simply being a neutral observer, reporting on their suffering to actively providing help as a brother and fellow member of the Body of Christ.
Brother Rachid is the host of an Arabic-language television program, answering on-air questions that Muslims have about faith and about Jesus Christ. The first day his program went on the air, Rachid was hoping 10 or 20 Muslims might call in with questions. They received 800 calls in the first half hour!
He knows first-hand the persecution that comes when a Muslim rejects Islam: Rachid’s own family kicked him out when he became a Christian.
Listen as Rachid shares his story of coming to Christ, his family’s rejection and what it meant for him to come into fellowship with other Arab Christians. He’ll also help listeners understand some of the teachings of Islam that directly contradict the gospel message—and advise us on reaching out to Muslims we know.
You can watch a video about Brother Rachid’s testimony here.
September marks the five-year anniversary of VOM Radio, and all month we’ve heard clips from powerful stories God has allowed VOM Radio to share over the past five years. This week: a clip from “Sister Amber,” who was arrested in Tibet. You can hear her entire, powerful testimony here.
This week we’ll meet the pastor of an unregistered church congregation in China. Because of the danger to him for sharing his story, we aren’t sharing his name and you’ll only hear the voice of his translator during the interview.
He’s been detained by police more than 20 times, and he says of course there is fear when police raid his church or come to arrest him. But he’s seen God work through him inside prison cells, including seeing fellow prisoners come to Christ for the first time, and says he’s willing to go back to prison if his being there is part of God’s purpose.
He’ll give an update on the current wave of persecution in China, and talk about why the Communist Party leaders are so afraid of the growth of the church. Finally, the pastor will give specific ways to pray for the nation of China as a whole, and for the church there, including Christians currently in prison for their faith in Christ.
We’ll also hear, as we continue to commemorate the five-year anniversary of VOM Radio, from a man detained inside North Korea—just one of many powerful stories God has allowed VOM Radio to share over the past five years. (You can hear his complete story here.)
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Brother Semeone is a church leader from Ethiopia—a country with a long Christian history, but where persecution can come from different directions, often beginning with members of a new convert’s own family.
Learn some of the history of the church in Ethiopia—including how persecution and hardship have helped the gospel spread. “Persecution,” he says, “has its own way of purifying the church.”
Semeone will also share how the church—within Ethiopia and around the world—steps in to help Ethiopian Christians in times of trouble, and what it means to him to be a part of the extended family of God.
We’ll also continue our commemoration of the five-year anniversary of VOM Radio this month by looking back at another powerful moment from the past five years as “Dr. Andrew” shares about the terror he feels when police detain or interrogate him—and how he overcomes that fear by focusing on Who God is. You may want to go back and listen online to our full conversation with Dr. Andrew. Listen to Part 1 and Part 2.
Early in 2017, Pastor Raymond Koh was abducted off the streets of Malaysia—a military-style operation that took less than 40 seconds. He hasn’t been seen or heard from since.
Since our first VOM Radio conversation with Raymond’s wife, Susanna (listen here), the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia issued a formal report on Pastor Raymond’s disappearance. Susanna will give us an update on what that report said.
Raymond and Susanna’s daughter, Esther, will tell the story of the day she found out her dad had been taken, and what she misses most since his forced disappearance. She’ll also talk about the amazing way God prepared and strengthened her mom to go through this season of suffering.
Susanna shared what a blessing it was to receive encouraging cards and letters from Christians all over the world after her last visit with VOM Radio. You can mail your cards and letters to her at:
Liew Sow Yoke
Lot LG109B, One Utama Shopping Center,
No. 1, Lebuh Bandar Utama,
47800 Petaling Jaya,
Selangor Darul Ehsan,
September marks the five-year anniversary of the launch of VOM Radio, and all this month we’re sharing highlights of the amazing stories God has allowed VOM Radio to tell over the past five years. This week’s clip features the story of an ISIS trainer who wanted to find a copy of the Bible. You can hear that entire episode, featuring a conversation with a gospel worker in the Middle East we called “Julian,” by clicking here.
“Brother Enfu” is the pastor of an unregistered (illegal) church in China. Every time his church meets, members know police could raid the service and close down their meeting. Other churches in the area have already been closed. Church members have been told to stop attending services, or risk losing their jobs.
How do Christians deal with the constant, oppressive surveillance state that is modern-day China? “Everything is illegal in China,” Enfu says. So how do Christians overcome fear to continue serving Christ in spite of the high cost they may be asked to pay?
Listen as Brother Enfu shares how persecution is becoming more intense in China, and how pastors and churches are responding—and the gospel continues to spread. Enfu also gives specific ways to pray for brothers and sisters in the Chinese church, and for him and other church leaders.
Brother Enfu has been on VOM Radio previously; you can hear that conversation here.
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Pastor Pierre serves the Lord in Lebanon, including reaching out to refugees who have fled violence and war in Syria to find a safer place to live and raise their families.
Listen as Pierre shares how Muslims have become more open to the gospel in the midst of suffering, and how Christians have sacrificially helped meet needs and share Christ among refugees. He’ll also talk about the persecution Christian converts face, sometimes even at the hands of their own families.
Pastor Pierre will also share the story of a man from Syria who came into genuine relationship with Christ after he lost everything in Syria—and even had his life threatened by terrorists. His family now joyfully shares that losing everything they owned on earth was worth it, because it brought them into joyful, eternal fellowship with Christ.
Pastor Pierre also equips us to pray for the church in Syria, Lebanon and throughout the Middle East.
Most Americans look at the world through a lens of right vs. wrong; a person is either guilty or innocent. But in the Muslim world, most people see the world in terms of honor and shame. Audrey Frank is the author of a new book, Covered Glory: The Face of Honor and Shame in the Muslim World (affiliate link), which explores honor/shame cultures and specific ways Christ speaks to people with that cultural worldview.
Listen to learn how the honor/shame worldview affects every decision many Muslims make, how men and women play different roles in upholding honor, and how the Scriptures were written from within an honor/shame culture. She’ll also discuss how persecution of Christians often grows out of perceived shame.
Audrey will also remind us of God’s loving heart to reach Muslims, and advise listeners on specific ways to reach out to Muslim friends and coworkers with the message of Jesus’ love for them.
Connect with Audrey via her web site, www.AudreyFrank.com.
“I really shouldn’t be alive,” says Brent Teague. He’s one of a small number of Americans who have survived an Al Qaeda attack. While serving in Niger, he was shot multiple times and left for dead. But as he prepared to say goodbye to life on earth and enter heaven, Brent sensed God telling him that his earthly ministry wasn’t finished yet.
Later, he discovered that God had worked a miracle—before he was even shot—that led police to find him before it was too late. Hear the incredible story of his rescue, and how God has used the story of the attack, and even the physical scars, to open doors for ministry for both Brent and his wife, Shelley.
Brent and Shelley will also share advice for creating opportunities to share the gospel with Muslims that you know, and talk about their ongoing work for the gospel in West Africa.
Dr. Mike Ansari leads Heart4Iran, working with different ministries to reach Muslims in Iran with the gospel message, and to strengthen Iranian believers to withstand persecution and continue boldly serving Christ.
Dr. Mike will tell us the story of an Iranian Christian woman currently in prison for distributing Bibles inside Iran—a project supported by VOM—and how she is responding to persecution with boldness and grace, even witnessing for Christ inside the prison.
You’ll also learn how VOM partners with Christians from restricted nations to support and further their vision and ministry, and about the intense persecution Christians are facing right now inside Iran—where they are seen as one of the biggest threats to the Islamic Republic.
Merv Knight has served persecuted Christians for more than 50 years, including co-founding The Voice of the Martyrs Australia and serving for decades as a member of the board of directors for VOM-USA. He worked side-by-side with Pastor Richard and Sabina Wurmbrand, VOM’s founders and former prisoners for Christ in Romania.
Recently Merv spoke to the staff at VOM headquarters on the occasion of his retirement from active service on the ministry’s board. Listen as he shares insights about the Wurmbrand family, the early days of the ministry and some of the persecuted Christians who inspired Merv over his many years of serving through VOM.
He’ll tell about:
Finally, Merv will challenge each of us to be faithful in the things that God has called us to do to serve Him and build His Kingdom, wherever we are.
Ron Morse was a teenager when his missionary family was told to leave Burma. But before the family could get out of the country, the borders were closed—for six years!
Listen as Ron describes living in the jungle, making everything the family needed—including cooking pots and blackboards for school—and how God used those difficult years to plant seeds in his life that are still bearing fruit today as he serves the Lord and the people of Southeast Asia through North Burma Christian Mission.
With the story of a snake bite, Ron will challenge all of us to be willing to do anything to share Christ. He reflects on lessons he learned from his parents and grandparents as he watched them serve in difficult circumstances, and offers advice for those exploring a call to missions today. He’ll also equip listeners to pray specifically for the church in Myanmar and for missionaries serving around the world.
Read about Ron’s family and their years in the jungle in Exodus to a Hidden Valley (affiliate link), written by Ron’s father, Eugene.
God called John Weaver to Afghanistan as a single man, and he stayed in the country even after 9/11 when the U.S. government encouraged all Americans to leave. John committed his singleness to God, making peace with the fact that he might never get married while living and working in an isolated village in Afghanistan.
It was only weeks after making that commitment that John met Jeanne—an American woman born in Kabul whom God had brought from half a world away to be John’s bride.
Listen to the story of their amazing romance, which is also told in a new book called Najiba: A Love Story from Afghanistan (affiliate link). You’ll hear how they courted and married according to Afghan traditions, honoring the culture in which they served while still shining as a lighthouse for Christ and for God’s amazing blessing that is Christian marriage.
John will also demonstrate specific ways we can pray for Afghanistan.