March 5, 2013
The email came at 4:47 p.m., just before I shut down my computer for the evening.
“Dear sister,” it read. “I will be with our sister at around 11 a.m. local time. Can you please give me a phone call then?”
Great! I thought. I’d been waiting for weeks to interview this persecuted believer. She’d been in hiding, and I wanted to hear her story in her own words and encourage her by telling her how many believers in the U.S. were praying for her. It took weeks of emails to our contact and then waiting for the right time for him to be able to travel to see her.
I started calculating the time difference. 11 a.m. their time would be… 2 a.m. my time. Hmm. Well, there would be no chance to record the interview with our office equipment, since I’d be calling from my living room in the middle of the night.
I set my alarm for 1:50 a.m. When it beeped, I sat on my couch for a moment, preparing my heart and mind to reach across the ocean to touch this believer who had felt so alone for many months.
I dialed the number carefully, hoping I’d dialed correctly as I listened to the international dial tone sound. When our contact picked up, I said, “Hello, brother. This is Dory, from the U.S.” He replied, “Hello!” and I felt like I could detect a smile in his voice. “I can see that you are very prompt!”
We had to wait a little while for the sister to get ready. In the meantime, I caught up with our worker, who I’d only spoken with through email. He also asked me to greet the pastor who had sheltered the sister I was waiting to speak to, when she needed a safe place to stay.
Finally, the sister was ready for me. We spoke for about 45 minutes through an interpreter. It was a little challenging because I couldn’t see her face or read her body language. She had trouble understanding my American accent. But she was so grateful for our help to her, and when she thanked me, I knew I was receiving her thanks on behalf of hundreds of Christians here who had written letters to her, prayed for her and sent funds to help her. When we finished talking, I prayed for her and her country.
After I hung up, I paused for a moment before crawling back in bed. In the old days, VOM founder Richard Wurmbrand could wait weeks or months to receive a scrap of a letter smuggled from behind the Iron Curtain. It was amazing that today I was able to pick up the phone and call the mobile phone of our contact to speak to a persecuted sister and hear her story in her own words.
I’m sure you are curious about who I was talking to and what we talked about! You’ll have to wait a little longer for that information while we put together something special.