In prisons around the world Christians are suffering today because of their Christian faith Farshid Fathi in Iran. Eva Abdallah in Tanzania. Asia Bibi in Pakistan. They are praying and dreaming of the day they’ll be released; the sweet moment they’ll be reunited with their families.
Richard Wurmbrand, VOM’s founder, was also a Christian in prison for his faith. He spent 14 years in the prisons of communist Romania. In his book, In God’s Underground, he writes movingly about coming home to his wife, Sabina, and his son, Mihai:
At last I reached my own front door and hesitated a moment. They were not expecting me, and I was a fearful sight in my filth and rags. Then I opened the door. In the hall were several young people, among them a gawky young man who stared at me and burst out: “Father!”
Then my wife came forward. Her fine-boned face was thinner, but her hair was still black; I thought she was more beautiful than ever. My eyes blurred. When she put her arms around me, I made a great effort and said, “Before we kiss, I must say something. Don’t think I’ve simply come from misery to happiness! I’ve come from the joy of being with Christ in prison to the joy of being with Him in my family. I’m not coming from strangers to my own, but from my own in prison to my own at home.” She sobbed, and I said, “Now if you wish, you may kiss me.” Later, I sang softly a little song I had made for her years before in prison to sing if we ever met again.
Mihai came to say that the place was fall of visitors who would not leave without seeing me. Members of our church had been telephoning all over Bucharest; the doorbell rang continuously. Old friends brought new ones. People had to leave so that others could find standing room. Every time I was introduced to a woman, I had to bow politely in my absurd trousers, held up by string. By the time all were gone it was nearly midnight and Sabina pressed me to eat something, but I felt no hunger. I said, “Today we have had happiness enough. Let's make tomorrow a day of fasting in thankfulness, with Holy Communion before supper.”
I turned to Mihai. Three of our visitors—one a philosophy professor from the university whom I had not met before—had told me that evening that my son had brought them to faith in Christ. And I had feared that, left without father or mother, he would be lost! I could find no words for my happiness.
Mihai said, “Father, you've gone through so much. I want to know what you've learned from all your sufferings.”
I put my arm around him and said, “Mihai, I’ve nearly forgotten my Bible in all this time. But four things were always in my mind. First, that there is a God. Secondly, Christ is our Savior. Thirdly, there is eternal life. And, fourthly, love is the best of ways.”
My son said, “That was all I wanted.” Later he told me that he had decided to become a pastor.
In my clean, soft bed that night, I could not sleep. I sat up and opened the Bible. I wanted the Book of Daniel, which had been a favorite, but I could no longer find my way to it. My eye was held instead by a line in the Epistles of St John. “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” I had this joy, too. I went into my son's room, because, I had to be sure that he was really there. In prison I had dreamed so often of this, only to wake in my cell.
Will you take a moment, right now, to pray for Christians in prison and for their families waiting at home, praying and hoping for the release of their loved one? You can encourage Christian prisoners by writing them a letter at www.PrisonerAlert.com. VOM is able to provide assistance to the families of imprisoned Christians through our Families of Prisoners fund.