Welcome to The Voice of the Martyrs Radio Network! Join host Todd Nettleton each week as we share the testimonies of brothers and sisters suffering for their faith in Christ. The Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) is a nonprofit, interdenominational missions organization that offers practical and spiritual…
Listeners of VOMRadio that love the show mention: persecution, martyrs, hearing first, brothers and sisters in christ, every believer, discouragement, zeal, imprisoned, brunson, missionaries, christ jesus, faith building, prayer life, around the globe, body of christ, devastated, around the world, nations, testimonies, muslims.
Jonathan Ekman and Matthew Hanson recently visited persecuted Christians in Central Asia—Christians caught between a growing wave of radical Islam and governments with a communist-style distrust of all religion. Matthew and Jonathan will share stories from believers they met. Listen to hear “the rest of the story” of one of the chapters in When Faith Is Forbidden (VOM Radio host Todd Nettleton's book), including how God has built on the legacy of a martyred pastor in Tajikistan. They'll also share the story of a woman who faced intense persecution from her own family, yet has seen God take her suffering and create something “beautiful.” Christians in Central Asia don't have protection from their governments or from families. Yet the church is growing across the region as more and more people experience the spiritual family of followers of Jesus. You can receive a free copy of When Faith is Forbidden when you make a donation to The Voice of the Martyrs. Never miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe to the podcast.
How long was it from the time you heard Jesus died, until you knew that He rose again? What did you feel in that interim? Grief? Loss? Defeat? And what did it mean when you knew that He did rise again? “Brother Stephen” has worked with Operation Mobilization for many years sharing the gospel among Muslims, including nomadic peoples in the Middle East. He has told the story of Jesus to people who had never heard it before! Listen for the story of how one woman responded to Jesus' death. Brother Stephen will share how God called him to missions, and advise those feeling a call to missionary service today. He challenges us to see Muslims not as an enemy to be defeated, but as a prize to be won for Christ. He'll also share about Muslims making the decision to follow Christ and the price they often pay for that decision. How can Christians living in free nations reach out to Muslims they know or work with? How can we pray for gospel work among Muslims? Never miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe to the podcast.
Rashin Soodmand was 13 years old when Iran's government executed her father, Pastor Hossein Soodmand, and buried him in an unmarked grave in a part of the cemetery reserved for “the cursed.” But killing this faithful pastor didn't erase his legacy or stop the growth of the church in Iran. Her father wasn't the only martyr of the persecuted Iranian church that Rashin knew well. In this second part of our conversation, Rashin shares things she remembers about other martyrs she knew personally: Haik Hovsepian, who preached at her father's funeral; Mehdi Dibaj, who encouraged her to attend Bible school; and Pastor Mohammad “Ravanbakhsh” Yusefi. To learn more about the current ministry activities of Rashin and her husband, Amir, visit the Torch Ministries web site. If you missed the first part of this conversation, listen here. Next month Christians around the world will join in prayer for persecuted Christians on the International Day of Prayer for Persecuted Christians. Download your free IDOP resources now. Never miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe to the podcast.
Rashin Soodmand was 13 years old when her father, Pastor Hossein Soodmand, was executed in Iran for the crime of apostasy. Rashin remembers that day as a strange mix of sadness and joy as she, her family and members of their church dealt with the loss of Pastor Soodmand while at the same time celebrating his life and the fact that he had stood boldly in the face of Christian persecution and threats. Rashin will tell how church leaders encouraged Pastor Hossein to leave Iran and go somewhere safer. He refused; he knew that for him to flee would discourage the hearts of his congregation. She'll describe the man she knew—a man who genuinely loved people, both Christians and Muslims—and tell of the last time she saw her dad. To learn more about the current ministry activities of Rashin and her husband, Amir, visit the Torch Ministries web site. Next month Christians around the world will join in prayer for persecuted Christians on the International Day of Prayer for Persecuted Christians. Download your free IDOP resources now. Never miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe to the podcast.
Joe Handley leads Asian Access, a ministry to train and equip church leaders—including many working in countries where Christians face persecution for their faith. Listen as Joe shares the story of an imprisoned Christian in Myanmar who found a way to be a blessing, even from inside prison. Joe will also talk about training up leaders in hostile and restricted nations—and especially helping them learn to abide in and rely on Christ. Hear how Christians in Sri Lanka reached out to those opposing them, and the way it opened a door for the gospel in a formerly-closed village. And learn how the gospel is advancing in India, in spite of persecution. Don't forget: the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church, coming up November 7. Get free resources from VOM to help you and your church pray. Never miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe to the podcast.
Semse Aydin and her husband, Necati, were expecting a baby. Necati had been arrested for gospel work in Turkey, and now the couple had a decision to make. Would they continue advancing the gospel among their countrymen, in spite of the risk of more persecution? Or would they choose a safer path for their now-growing family? Together, Necati and Semse made the decision: they would continue boldly in their Christian work. The decision led them to Malatya, where Necati was murdered in 2007. This week we continue our conversation with Semse and Gracia Burnham. Both women are widows whose husbands were killed serving in front-line ministry work. Both have experienced God's faithfulness in the years since, and both consider their suffering for Christ an honor. Listen as they discuss their husbands' legacies and what their ministry looks like today. You can hear in-depth interviews with Gracia and Semse in the VOM Radio Archives. Please continue to pray for them, and their children. Never miss an episode of VOM Radio. Subscribe to the podcast!
Gracia Burnham was serving as a missionary in the Philippines with her husband, Martin, when they were taken hostage by a radical Islamist group. Martin was killed in a rescue attempt, leaving Gracia to raise their three children alone. But she was not alone; God has been with her. “I've seen God be faithful…He takes special care of the widows,” Gracia says. Semse Aydin also experienced the loss of a husband when Necati was murdered with two other Christian men in Malatya, Turkey in 2007. The couple had two young children. Listen this week as these two women share the stories of their pain and loss, but also how God has written a different story, one of joy and forgiveness and provision. You can hear in-depth interviews with Gracia and Semse in the VOM Radio Archives. Please continue to pray for them, and for their children. Never miss an episode of VOM Radio. Subscribe to the podcast!
Tom and JoAnn Doyle are back to finish our conversation about how Jesus is reaching women across the Middle East—including amazing stories of God's work in Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Syria and other nations. Tom and JoAnn say these Christian women are committed to following Christ no matter what persecution they face, even the risk of their lives. They are also bold witnesses for Christ; often the greatest initial impact their witness has is on their husbands. The Doyles help American Christians learn to reach out to Muslims through their work with Uncharted Ministries—and they say Muslims are incredibly open to hearing the Good News! If you missed the first half of our conversation with the Doyles, listen here. Be sure to get a copy of Tom and JoAnn's new book, Women Who Risk: Secret Agents for Jesus in the Muslim World. Tom and JoAnn have been with us before on VOM Radio; listen to those conversations here. Never miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe to the podcast.
“God loves Afghans!” Author John Weaver lived in Afghanistan, speaks the language and is in daily contact with people still in the country. He'll give listeners an update on how the Taliban's takeover is affecting our Christian brothers and sisters and share specific requests to help us pray for our Afghan family members. John will also tell us how God is working through current events and even among members of the Taliban. One thing we know He is doing is raising up an army of prayer warriors to intercede on behalf of Afghanistan and pray for the advance of Christ's kingdom among unreached people there. Here are six ways you can pray for Afghanistan right now. Don't miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe to the podcast.
Tom and JoAnn Doyle share the stories of Jesus reaching women across the Middle East—amazing stories of God's work in Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Syria and other nations. Their new book, Women Who Risk: Secret Agents for Jesus in the Muslim World, shares exciting stories of Muslim women coming to faith in Christ, then becoming "secret agents" for Christ and His Kingdom—transforming their own lives, their families, friends and even entire nations. They will share how the Bible's teachings about women are vastly different from the teachings of Islam—and how Muslim women respond when they learn how the God of the Bible loves women. Tom and JoAnn have been with us before on VOM Radio. You can hear those conversations here. Never miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe to the podcast.
Dr. Mike Ansari is the President of Heart 4 Iran, which partners with multiple Christian ministries to reach Iranian people with the gospel of Jesus Christ. He'll explain what the inauguration of Ebrahim Raisi as the new president of Iran means for persecuted Christians and religious freedom. One of the greatest needs of the church in Iran is Bibles. Mike will tell how VOM is helping meet that need—and thank our listeners for giving to deliver Bibles into Iran. He'll also talk about the benefits of delivering Bibles in digital form—which are much easier to hide and also to share with friends. You'll learn about the need to train leaders for Iran's growing church—and how Heart 4 Iran is encouraging new believers to share Christ and even plant their own house churches. Finally, Dr. Mike will equip us to pray for the nation of Iran and our Christian family members there. Learn more about delivering Bibles into Iran in this VOM Radio conversation with Joe and Dawn. Never miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe to the podcast.
A 16-year-old persecuted Christian girl in the Himalayas would crawl to gather with other believers for worship and Bible study. In spite of suffering and persecution, she would not stop sharing the gospel! That's just one story you'll hear this week in the second half of our conversation with Andy Byrd. He's part of the leadership team of Youth With a Mission in Kona, Hawaii, and also leads The Send, an international event to motivate Christians to share the gospel. Byrd has spent significant time in the Himalayas—“the roof of the world”—and says the impact of the Word of God is beyond what we could imagine in countries like Nepal, Bhutan and Tibet. He'll also tell how COVID opened doors for the gospel and helped people—both Christian and non-believers—focus on what really matters, and what sources truly give hope. Finally, Andy will advise people—at any age—feeling called to missions, and equip listeners to pray for God's work overseas. You can register now to be among the first to get registration and ticket information for The Send, happening next summer in Kansas City. If you missed the first half of our conversation with Andy, you can listen to it here. Never miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe to the podcast.
The first time Andy Byrd went on a missions trip, he wasn't really living a sold-out life for Jesus. But something happened on that trip: the seed of gospel service was planted in his life. After high school, he signed up to train and serve for six months through Youth With a Mission. That six-month stint has now lasted 23 years as Andy has dedicated his life to spiritual awakening in a generation. Today he serves on the leadership team of YWAM in Kona, Hawaii, and also heads up The Send, an international event to bring about a new Great Awakening and motivate Christians to get involved in sharing the gospel—to those around them and to the ends of the earth. Listen as Andy shares about his own call to missions, how God has used The Send, and about his time in places where Christians are persecuted, including North Korea. Never miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe to the podcast.
Aaron Miller is just back from visiting persecuted Christians in the Middle East, including one of our Christian brothers who was formerly a Sunni Muslim, then became a Shia Muslim and ultimately found love, hope and truth in Jesus Christ. Aaron also met the family of a man who gave his life delivering Bibles to Iran. Rather than pull back, the family continues to be involved in secret Bible deliveries—in spite of the risk. Aaron will discuss Christians displaced in recent years by ISIS, by the situation in Syria and other persecution—and how VOM is encouraging and equipping Christians to reach out with the gospel in some of these difficult situations. Finally, Aaron will share about a young woman sharing the gospel with a “holy recklessness,” who points to one of the blessings of persecution: she says it gives her “a taste of Jesus.” Never miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe the podcast.
Australian John Short was detained inside North Korea after leaving gospel tracts near a Buddhist temple. He was facing years in prison—but he wasn't afraid. “Fear and faith cannot exist within my heart at the same time,” he says. In this second part of our conversation with Mr. Short, he shares how he prayed—out loud—throughout his captivity, how his captors responded to his faith and how his “letter of confession” and eventual release came about. He'll also share how, upon landing back in China, he learned for the first time that his captivity was international news. He was deeply moved to learn that Christians in many nations were praying for him during his trial, including a group of Chinese house churches that prayed around the clock during his detention. Finally, Mr. Short shares specific ways we can pray for the “hermit kingdom” of North Korea. You can hear John's wife, Karen, share her side of the story in this episode of VOM Radio.
Australian John Short was detained in North Korea. He was repeatedly interrogated. He was forced to write a “confession” of his “crimes,” including the offense of wanting more North Koreans to follow Jesus. But if God asked him today, Short would happily go back to the "Hermit Kingdom." Short shares with VOM Radio how God strengthened him during his captivity, Scriptures and earthly examples of persecuted Christians that most encouraged him, and how he managed to take a measure of control back from his captors — and even make them nervous. Mr. Short agreed to only two media interviews after his release; one with his hometown newspaper back in Australia, and the other with The Voice of the Martyrs Radio. Hear the rest of the story when you listen also to our interview with Short's wife, Karen. Never miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe to the podcast.
Floyd Brobbel has been involved in ministry to persecuted Christians since birth! Today he leads the work of VOM – Canada, the ministry founded by his parents 50 years ago. Listen as Floyd tells the story of his first trip for VOM, and a Christian woman in Ethiopia that permanently changed the way Floyd thinks about Christian persecution and what it means to be part of the Body of Christ. Floyd will also tell of his experiences as a child and young man with Richard and Sabina Wurmbrand, VOM's founders who were both imprisoned for their faith in communist Romania. Floyd knew the Wurmbrands were spiritual heroes, but he also saw their playful side as people and friends. Brobbel will also tell about his new book, Trouble on the Way: Persecution in the Christian Life (affiliate link). You can learn more about VOM Canada—and Canadian listeners can subscribe to the ministry's free newsletter, at www.VOMCanada.com. Never miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe to the podcast.
Christians—especially pastors—are being targeted by an Islamist insurgent group in Northern Mozambique, a group that already pledged allegiance to ISIS. A VOM worker recently visited the area and met with Christians who are among 800,000 displaced people. He heard horrible stories of violence and persecution, but also saw persecuted Christians continuing to serve and advance the gospel in spite of their suffering and loss. Sean Paton will tell us how the church in Mozambique is responding, as well as give an update to listeners on current persecution in Ethiopia and Uganda. Paton is Africa Regional Director for VOM. Sean will also encourage prayer for Eritrean Christians who fled for refuge into Ethiopia, but now face Eritrean troops who crossed the border during conflict in the Tigray region. He'll share specific ways to pray for Christians in each nation discussed. Listen here to learn more about the situation in Mozambique from a previous VOM Radio guest, Will Hart. Never miss an episode of VOM Radio. Subscribe to the podcast!
Just a few days before government-mandated “celebrations” of the 100th Anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party, we finish a conversation with Bob Fu, former prisoner for Christ and the founder of China Aid Association. Bob points out the terrible cost of decades of control in China by a philosophy that places zero value on human life. Bob will talk about the choice some Chinese Christians are making to stay in their country in spite of the constant threat of persecution. He'll also tell how some Christians are choosing to leave, seeing no future under President Xi Jinping. China's pressure and persecution efforts also reach outside their borders—including harassing Bob and his family in the United States. Bob will help us pray for Christians in China; he also says Chinese Christians are praying right now for the United States and believers here. Bob Fu is the author of two books: God's Double Agent, which tells the story of Bob's coming to faith in China and eventually being forced to flee the country; and The Politics of Inclusive Pluralism: A Proposed Foundation for Religious Freedom in a Post-Communist, Democratic China. You can listen to the first part of our conversation with Bob here. This month you can receive a free copy of When Faith is Forbidden, the new book by VOM Radio host Todd Nettleton, when you make any donation to help persecuted Christians through The Voice of the Martyrs. Learn more and give online. Never miss and episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe to the podcast.
Bob Fu is a former prisoner for Christ and the founder of China Aid Association, serving and sharing the stories of persecuted Christians in China. He says persecution of Christians in communist China is the worst it has been in 40 years—since the days of the Cultural Revolution. Bob will share a recent case of persecution and the story of how our brother Chen Wensheng—a former mafia leader—thought of ten days in prison as a “spiritual retreat.” Brother Chen went right back to publicly witnessing for Christ the moment he was released. Pastor Bob says Chinese Christians understand they are in a spiritual battle, rather than a physical one. Listen to hear how they gain strength to face opposition and persecution, and how the church prepares believers—even youth—to stand strong. Bob Fu is the author of two books: God's Double Agent, which tells the story of Bob's coming to faith in China and eventually being forced to flee the country; and The Politics of Inclusive Pluralism: A Proposed Foundation for Religious Freedom in a Post-Communist, Democratic China. This month you can receive a free copy of VOM Radio host, Todd Nettleton's new book, When Faith is Forbidden, when you make any donation to help persecuted Christians through The Voice of the Martyrs. Learn more and give online. Never miss and episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe to the podcast.
Paul wrote to the Corinthian church that, “a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries” (I Cor. 16:9). “Brother Aaron” says Paul’s ministry description could have been written about Christians in the restricted nation of Pakistan in 2021. Listen as Aaron shares how Christian persecution is “like the air” in Pakistan—something that’s always present and almost taken for granted by people there. He’ll also explain how the church prepares believers—especially young people—to be strong in their faith and ready to withstand societal pressure and persecution. Aaron will also talk about the types of persecution faced by former Muslims who leave Islam behind to follow Christ. Finally, he’ll equip listeners with specific ways to pray for Pakistan and the church there. To learn more about how you can pray for Christians in Pakistan and other restricted nations, request your free copy of VOM’s 2021 Global Prayer Guide. Never miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe to the podcast.
“Uncle Monnie” has worked alongside Chinese Christians for decades. He says the pressure and persecution Christians face there today is even worse than during the Cultural Revolution. Listen as Monnie shares about the changes he’s seen in China and the response of believers he’s trained to face persecution and continue to advance the gospel. Some of those Monnie helped train now serve Jesus in restricted Muslim nations in the Middle East and around the world. Learn how you can pray for Chinese Christians, and how persecution is teaching Christians from different backgrounds to work and minister side-by-side. Finally, Monnie will provide an update on current events in Myanmar. Listen to Uncle Monnie’s first visit with VOM Radio here. Never miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe to the podcast.
Tune in this week for the second half of our conversation with Pastor Tat Stewart, who lived and ministered in Tehran as the Islamic Revolution swept through Iran. Listen to how he was encouraged by his final conversation on Iranian soil before he and his family were expelled from the country. You’ll also hear how God showed him he could have a more far-reaching ministry to Iranians outside the country than he could ever have living inside the Islamic Republic. “I could not stay away from what God was doing with Iranians,” he says. Tat also shares how hungry the Iranian people were for the gospel—even teenagers craved deep teaching and were willing to invest long stretches of time in Bible study and prayer. Tat continues to minister to Iranian Christians through Talim Ministries, including publishing and mentoring Iranian pastors. If you missed the first half of our conversation with Tat, which included how God called him to Iran as well as his experiences on the day the US Embassy was taken over in 1979, listen here. Never miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe to the podcast.
“Let’s drive by the American Embassy and see what’s going on…” It was November 4, 1979 when Tat Stewart said those words to his wife as they drove home from church in Tehran, Iran. Iranian students had overrun the US Embassy that day. They would go on to hold 52 embassy staff members and others hostage for 444 days. Stewart, his wife and their children moved to Tehran earlier that year, just months after Ayatollah Khomeini arrived back in Iran and the Islamic Revolution took control of the country. Tat went to serve as the pastor of a church for expatriate Christians. But his experiences in Iran began many years earlier, when his parents moved there to serve as medical missionaries. Listen as Tat shares how he continued to minister as the Islamic revolution went on all around him, how he became a contact person for American citizens needing help amidst the chaos and how God protected and provided through that dangerous season—and ultimately led them to leave Iran. Tat Stewart continues to serve and train Iranian church leaders today through Talim Ministries. Find more conversations with Iranian Christians in the VOM Radio archives, or search for VOM Radio on your favorite podcast app.
“Brother Bennie” is back to talk about persecution of Christians in India, including the story of three close friends recently arrested for their evangelistic work. Hear how God worked during their time in prison—especially once they received a copy of the Bible. Bennie will talk about recent passage of anti-conversion laws in several Indian states, and how Christians and churches are affected by such laws. He says the India of today is dramatically different from the India he knew as a child, and even from how the nation was five or ten years ago. In addition to praying for India during the current coronavirus surge, Bennie will give listeners specific ways to pray for imprisoned Christians there, and for the nation as a whole. Learn more about Alpha Ministries, and read Bennie’s book, My Father’s Business. Never miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe to the podcast.
When Susi Childers met a woman who’d had three children killed in an attack in Northern Nigeria, God used the pain of three miscarriages in Susi’s life to open the door for a powerful time of connection and ministry. Listen as Susi shares the story, and offers encouragement to Christians wrestling with suffering, loss or even persecution right now. Paul and Susi Childers have spent more than two decades working to spread the gospel through Youth With a Mission (YWAM). They will give advice about blending the responsibilities of marriage and family with the missionary calling God has placed on their lives to serve Him—including very practical things that they do in their home and with their children. Listen to the first half of our conversation with Paul and Susi from last week, and previous VOM Radio conversations with Paul Childers. Never miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe to the podcast.
Paul and Susi Childers have spent more than two decades working to spread the gospel to the nations at Youth With a Mission (YWAM). Listen as Susi shares how God called her from a career in photography to go as a missionary—and how He turned her camera into a bridge-building tool for sharing the gospel. “Don’t think because you don’t have a typical ‘Christian’ job that you can’t be used [in missions],” she says. Susi started out by committing to serve for one year, a commitment that has now been renewed for 24 years! She will offer advice if you sense God may be asking you to get involved in spreading the gospel to the world. Paul and Susi will also tell us how they think about risk—for themselves and for each other—and how they involve their children in sending and praying as they answer God’s call to go into all the world. Hear previous VOM Radio conversations with Paul Childers. Never miss an episode! Subscribe to the VOM Radio podcast.
“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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 www.WhenFaithIsForbidden.com. 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.
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 www.WhenFaithIsForbidden.com.
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 www.WhenFaithIsForbidden.com. 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.
“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. NEW BOOK: When Faith is Forbidden: 40 Days on the Frontlines With Persecuted Christians, the new book from VOM Radio host, Todd Nettleton, will release March 2 from Moody Publishers. VOM Radio listeners are encouraged to join the Launch Team and help tell others about the book release and these 40 inspiring stories from persecuted Christians.
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.
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 www.pray30days.org (Muslims) and www.pray15days.org (Hindus and Buddhists).
“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.
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 www.VM1.global. Never miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe to the podcast.
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.
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.
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.
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. Pam, along with her husband Dave (Part 1 and Part 2) Amin from Algeria Brother Bayram from Turkey (Part 1 and Part 2) Omid from Iran (Part 1 and Part 2) Brother John, working in Syria “Ali” on God’s work inside Iran Brother Jeremy on meeting a martyr’s widow in the CAR 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.
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. Paul from Nigeria Sean Paton on Burkina Faso Brother Aaron on Colombia, and on new martyrs this year and on meeting with church leaders in India Ebrahim Firouzi Joy Subasiguller Will Hart 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.
Sitting in a solitary confinement cell in Iran, Robert Aserian felt God comforting him with these words: “If you are here, it is My plan.” God had prepared him for prison in a unique way: as a pastor he’d counseled many Iranian Christians after they’d suffered imprisonment, so he knew some of the challenge he would face. Listen as Robert shares the challenges of interrogation, prison and solitary confinement. One way Robert passed the time in solitary confinement was composing and preaching sermons—even though his congregation wasn’t there to hear them. He also tells how every prisoner goes through difficult times in prison, and how he responded during those difficult days. Robert will also discusses how former prisoners face intense pressure and isolation after they’re released, and tell us that praying for prisoners after their release may be more important even than during their time in prison. Finally he’ll equip us to pray for the nation of Iran and for the church there. Rev. Robert Aserian serves today as Director for Training at Pars Theological Centre, training and equipping leaders for the Iranian Church. You can hear conversations with other leaders of Pars here and here. Never miss an episode of VOM Radio. Subscribe to the podcast!
When Robert Aserian first prayed to Jesus, it was an atheist’s prayer: I don’t know if you are real, Jesus, but if You are please show Yourself to me. Jesus answered that prayer, and Robert has been following Him passionately—and encouraging others, including Iranian Muslims, also to follow—ever since. He even taught a class on Christian theology to Islamic clergy members. Listen to Robert’s story of coming to faith, then experiencing God’s call to ministry. Robert will share about different martyrs of the church in Iran he knew and learned from, and describe how their legacy emboldened him to serve Christ inside the Islamic Republic, no matter what persecution he might face—including the day authorities came to his house early in the morning to take him to prison. Today, Rev. Robert Aserian is the Director for Training at Pars Theological Centre, training and equipping leaders for the Iranian Church. You can hear conversations with other leaders of Pars here and here. You can also hear directly from children of some of the martyrs Rev. Aserian was inspired by, including the son of Pastor Haik Hovsepian and the daughter of Pastor Hossein Soodmand. Never miss an episode of VOM Radio. Subscribe to the podcast!
In the midst of his persecution, Pastor Dmitry “David” Shestakov remembered Christ on the cross, and determined in his heart that if Christ suffered willingly, David also would persevere through his time of suffering. As a young man, David was a criminal and a drug user. His mother’s desperate prayer to God—even though she was an atheist—led to Shestakov surrendering his life to Christ. Once surrendered, he immediately began to tell others about Jesus. He knew, early on, that such witness would be costly. Listen to how God used letters written by VOM readers via www.PrisonerAlert.com to bless and protect David while he was in prison in Uzbekistan—even saving him from being beaten by guards. You’ll also hear how the Uzbek government tried to add years to his sentence, but God miraculously moved and David was released, as he says, “like a Scripture came to life.” David will also help us know how to pray for Christians currently in prison, and for their family members. Never miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe to the podcast.
2020 has been eventful everywhere! But it has been especially eventful for the people of The Islamic Republic of Iran. But in the midst of great challenges—health, economic, political—God is moving! “Ali” is sharing the gospel inside Iran. Listen as he shares how God is even using the COVID-19 pandemic as a catalyst to spread the gospel and grow the church. Ali will share how God answered prayers for new strategies for gospel workers to use in the midst of the pandemic and national lockdowns. He’ll also share how Jesus miraculously healed two church leaders hospitalized with COVID-19. Ali will tell more stories of God’s power at work in Iran. Listen for the story of one man’s dramatic encounter with Christ that opened the way for 250 people to commit their lives to Jesus. This spiritual revival isn’t coming without a price; persecution is very real. Ali and his church leaders understand that “suffering is not a bad thing” when it is God’s plan. “We have to learn,” he says, “to suffer well.” Ali will equip us to pray for Iran in the midst of current challenges, and talk about how the move of God in Iran is crossing international borders to reach surrounding nations. Never miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe to the podcast.