“When you face persecution day in and day out, you get discouraged and you can withdraw. There is nowhere where it is easy to preach the Gospel.”
–‘Rajul,’ a VOM-supported front line worker
Front line workers accept persecution as part of sharing about Jesus and planting churches. Many have been beaten and arrested for showing the Jesus film or distributing Christian literature.
You can encourage them in God’s work through prayer. Your daily prayers will encourage and empower their local ministry.
Rajul oversees a network of more than 5,700 pastors who have shared the Gospel in more than 20,000 villages across India. With your support, VOM provides training, evangelistic materials and transportation to better equip many dedicated to advancing God’s kingdom.
“To know so many people are praying for us, and that Voice of the Martyrs gives us Bibles and support to help us advance the Gospel, we are enormously encouraged.”
Image from: http://www.persecutionblog.com/2016/08/front-line-workers-need-your-prayer.html
Semse Aydin’s husband, Necati, was one of three Christian men martyred for their faith and ministry in Turkey. The next day, on national TV in Turkey, Semse offered forgiveness to her husband’s killers, along with the widow of one of the other martyrs. Listen as Semse describes what Jesus has meant to her through her trouble and just how she prays for her husband’s killers.
Listen to the full interview on VOM Radio here
“Oh Lord, what are you doing to our family?” cried the 20-year-old son of Pastor Stephen when he heard that his father had been killed.
His mother, Leah, collapsed on the ground, weeping in deep shock and grief.
“I find it too hard to believe that this happened to my husband. He was a good man,” she cried.
Her eldest son, at just 20 years of age, is a pastor like his father. The other children, aged 18, 11 and 9, also wept when they heard the sad news of their father’s death.
Before Stephen became a Christian, he was a Communist Party member for five years. His commitment to the party made him popular among the members.
However, a family friend was a pastor. He prayed for Stephen for some time and eventually led him to the Lord. Stephen left the Communist Party and his old friends behind to follow Christ.
As soon as he became a Christian, Stephen wanted to tell everyone about Jesus. He served faithfully in the church, and after a time he set about training to become a full-time pastor. He loved serving God.
Farmer and pastor
Tragically, Stephen had only been a pastor for 12 months when he was killed. His death shook the Christian community where they lived.
To support his family, like many pastors, Stephen worked on the family farm and continued his pastoral duties as well.
On 14 November 2015, Stephen was working on his farm when a large group of about 80 communists arrived, started a debate and finally bound Stephen up and dragged him away from his coffee plantation. Some of them were known to Stephen, regularly harassing him to return to communism.
One of the members of Stephen’s church was among some witnesses who hid nearby. They clearly heard the conversation between the communists and Stephen.
Keeping quiet for fear of being seen, they watched as one of the communists threatened Stephen with an AK-47 rifle pressed against his cheek.
“We will see if your God can help you today,” he menaced.
Stephen replied, “If you kill me right now, I will be with my Lord!”
Immediately, another angry communist, standing beside Stephen, shot him three times with his M-16 rifle. As Stephen slumped to the ground, he cried a single word with his dying breath: “Hallelujah!”
Stephen was 55 years old when he went home to be with his Lord. He paid for his faith with his life, and the communists ran into the jungle. The coffee plantation workers who had witnessed the event remember the final word of the man of God who never denied his Lord.
On the day of Stephen’s funeral, Leah determined, “I’m going to continue to serve the Lord.”
VOM Australia representatives met Leah at a pastor and leaders’ seminar in February of this year. She was encouraged to attend the event with one of her son’s friends, another pastor.
It was clear Leah was still grieving for her husband and struggled to participate in the seminar. When we realised the family’s poverty and lack of clothing, two of the senior pastors’ wives took Leah to the market where she could buy clothes for herself and her children. The next morning her whole countenance had changed. Although the clothing was a small gift, Leah was encouraged by the love of God’s family. VOM also plans to help Leah further with a small business that will provide a regular income besides the family coffee plantation, which requires a great deal of work.
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When I meet persecuted Christians they often say, “Don’t forget us”! How could I? Each one of the people I meet leaves an imprint in my mind. Their testimonies strengthen, challenge and encourage my faith in the Lord, and years after meeting them I continue to remember them.
However, I think we can do more. We can pray and, where possible, we can write to them. Although praying for them is the best thing we can do, writing letters to persecuted Christians is a huge encouragement to the recipients because then they know that they are not forgotten.
Recently I had the privilege of visiting Toongabbie Anglican youth group. One of the activities they did was write letters to the Bible college students in the Philippines. I find it encouraging seeing youth think about what to write to a persecuted Christian whom they have never met before and who has faced difficulties they have never experienced. It is a challenging task to think what to write to a group of Christians who face tremendous challenges that we cannot easily relate to.
My encouragement is that whatever you write, whether it’s your favourite Bible verse, a small prayer, or a simple word of encouragement, is that these words, however simple we may find them, are an enormous encouragement to our persecuted brother and sisters. Imagine receiving one of these letters from a Christian whom you have never met saying they are praying and thinking about you. This would bring a smile to any Christian, especially when you feel alone, isolated and persecuted.
I thank the youth at Toongabbie Anglican Church for these letters and for the encouragement they will bring to our brave Bible college students who risk their lives every day for Jesus.
In 2015 we were able to oversee 125 projects in 24 different countries. This wide variety of exciting projects has impacted the lives of our beloved brothers and sisters in restricted nations.
On their behalf we thank you for your kindness.
These projects and quotes from individuals gives a quick snapshot into the impact of your giving.
Bibles and Literature
Bibles for Sudan
Goal: Distribute God’s Word in various local languages to our faithful brothers and sisters in Sudan. Bombings and forms of ethnic cleansing are relentless and some believers have been displaced and live in camps.
“When the Gospel was first shared with us, we did not have any Bibles
but we felt such a hunger to know more about the Truth.
We cried out to the Lord with burning desire to know more about Him. He answered our prayers.
We fell down on our faces before the Lord weeping with joy
as we thanked Him for providing us the Bread of Life.”
Print hymn books for Vietnam
Goal: With currently more than 250,000 Hmong believers, there are a few thousand new believers from the Hmong tribe each year. These new believers love to praise and worship in the church and in fellowship at home. This project helped supply hymn books to meet this great need.
Front Line Ministry
Safe house for Muslim background believers
Goal: Fund the running costs, including rent, utilities, accommodation and training for a safe house in a secure location in the Middle East. Safe houses are a refuge for Muslim background believers in danger and provide an opportunity for trauma recovery, counselling, spiritual encouragement, Bible studies and integration into the Christian community.
“The good work you have done in reaching out to souls has placed
a long-lasting smile on the faces of many that received your gifts.
We pray that the Lord will bless you in return
with double-fold the good you have done.”
Support Pastor A’s ministry to Muslims in Indonesia
Goal: Pastor A has a strong evangelical ministry to Muslims and converts from Islam. He has an incredible knowledge of Islam, is well respected in the community and has been instrumental in leading numerous imams to Christ. He is sought after by many radical Muslims for his proselytising. Pastor A is a valuable member of VOM’s team in Indonesia. This project supports his experienced team for training, outreaches, seminars, transport and safe houses.
Families of Martyrs
Support Pakistan bombing victims
Goal: Two churches were attacked by suicide bombers in Youhanabad, a majority Christian area in Lahore, Pakistan, in March 2015. More than a dozen people were killed and scores of people were injured. We assisted with medical help, food relief items and encouragement to families who were affected.
“I am very grateful for all you’ve done for me.
You took care of me, paid my hospital bill and all the medication.
And you didn’t stop there; you also provided me with the best prosthesis.
You have been praying for us and giving us courage.”
Support escaped kidnapped girls in Nigeria
Goal: Extremist Muslims, particularly Boko Haram, have frequently kidnapped and taken Christian girls into captivity. Many are sold into the sex slave trade, forced to marry Muslims or kept as slaves for soldiers. This project helped to provide for the care and future needs of nine young girls who escaped from captivity.