391 posts categorized “Christian Action”

April 4, 2013

1,000,000+

Perhaps you saw this photo on the back of VOM's newsletter last month:

Million

We are thankful to each of those who financially supported this significant effort to deliver God's Word into hostile and restricted nations.

There are still Christians in those nations that need a Bible. VOM's Bibles to Captive Nations Fund helps to meet this need. If you'd like to help deliver even more Bibles in 2013, please consider giving online.


March 1, 2013

Help deliver 150,000 Bibles

Every month, VOM workers partner with local pastors in hostile and restricted nations to collect the names of Christians who need Bibles. 150,000 believers have asked us for a Bible. We know them by name, and we have distribution networks in place to get Bibles into their hands. Bibles

But we need your help. Join us in providing God’s word to these 150,000 believers.

When you sponsor Bibles for these Christians, VOM will send you the names of those who receive your sponsored Bibles so you can pray for them. In addition to believers whose names we send you, there are others in nations like North Korea and Iran whose names VOM cannot reveal for security reasons. Though you don't know these believers by name, you can still pray for them and for the Bibles distributors who bring them God's Word.

Please join in this effort to distribute 150,000 Bibles.


February 5, 2013

“That prayer hasn’t been answered…”

Nepali Pastor "David" wanted to better equip Sunday school teachers at his church, so late last year he invited three trainers from another country to teach a two-day training seminar. The trainers had no idea the spiritual battle they would encounter would also become a physical one. David hosted the three visiting trainers in his home. On the first night the trainers were there, a congregation member called saying he was sick. Immediately the pastor left to go and pray with the sick person. While he was gone, seven people—three carrying sharp knives—arrived, asking for the pastor who was "converting people" away from their religion. The leader of the group was a well-known local official, a former high-ranking officer in the Nepali army and a strong Hindu.

The pastor was gone, but the angry Hindus turned their fury on the male trainer instead. They attacked him, beating and threatening him. They also damaged the church building and completely destroyed a motorbike.

David returned very late that night and was shocked to find his guest badly injured and his family cowering in fear. David grew more fearful when he learned he was the target of the attack.

Pastor David reported the attack to the police, and after a couple of days they came to "investigate." But they made no arrests, even though the family told them exactly who led the attack.

"Every day Christianity is growing in my village," said David. "That is why non-believers try to harm me. They are thinking that once we finish the pastor, once the pastor will die, the believers will scatter; there won't be Christianity." Nepal

When a VOM team met with Pastor David, his church had 70 baptized members, plus children, in a village of 2,000 people. As a former Hindu, he shares the gospel very clearly in a way Hindus can understand. He also prepares his new converts to face persecution.

"Even Jesus went through tremendous persecution in the Bible," he says. "So when you become a believer, the persecution is obvious. It is confirmed that you will have pressure and persecution. Even the Word of God says that when you believe in Christ that persecution comes to you. I encourage them with Bible verses and taking lots of testimonies from the Bible."

The threats and attacks have come. His fear is real. Pastor David prays daily that God will take the fear away. "But so far," he says, "that prayer hasn't been answered." God hasn't taken away his fear, yet the pastor continues to serve and minister and evangelize. Why?

"Because God has called me to do this," he said. "I have a vision for God's people. If I die also doing this work, God's work will continue. When I die for this one, God will give me a crown. I'll be crowned by Jesus."

David continues his work. But he fears for the safety of his wife and his three children, ages 5, 7 and 10.

"I'm very worried about them. But I teach them from the Word of God. For God, we have to bear all the consequences because we are called to this."

Before the attack, Pastor David would often go on ministry trips for several days. Now he tries to be home with his family each night so they aren't left without protection. When he needs to draw strength and inspiration, the pastor turns to the book of Daniel.

"When Daniel was given all the opportunity, he never bowed down his head to idols. And [Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego] were ready to go through fire. When I read this, I don't feel that the persecution I'm going through is huge—comparing to these guys, comparing to the book of Daniel."

David asked for prayer, but his requests were not for himself. "When I go outside to preach the gospel, to bring the gospel among the non-believers, pray for my family so they'll be safe. And pray for my church believers, that when the persecution comes, they will be very strong, that no fear would come among their hearts."

YOUR TURN: What fears do you have about sharing the gospel with friends and family? Are you willing to share Christ in spite of your fears?


January 14, 2013

Prisoner Alert: why some and not others?

Last week VOM received the wonderful news that the High Court in Tanzania had thrown out the charges against Eva Abdallah, a young Christian woman who had been falsely accused of urinating on a Quran and sentenced to two years in prison. EVA

Eva is one of the prisoners that VOM has featured on www.PrisonerAlert.com, a Web site established to help Christians in the free world write letters of encouragement to Christians imprisoned for their faith in restricted and hostile nations.

If you've been to PrisonerAlert, you may have wondered why some Christian prisoners are featured on the site, and others are not. Here are some of the criteria we consider before adding someone to PrisonerAlert:

The first thing VOM needs in order to feature a prisoner on PrisonerAlert is the blessing of their family and/or in-country church leaders. There are some families and local leaders that feel that international publicity and receiving lots of letters from overseas would make a situation worse for the prisoner. They also sometimes fear that there would be repercussions against the family if information about the prisoner is made public internationally.

As we gather more release stories to give as examples, like Eva's, we are able to alleviate some of these fears. We know of no one who has suffered worse treatment in prison after receiving letters. But we do NOT post a prisoner to PrisonerAlert without the blessing of our in-country contacts who can seek out the opinion of the prisoner's family or church group. Our in-country contacts work with us to verify information and provide details. In some cases they even go to the prison and meet the prisoner face-to-face, praying with and encouraging them.

In order to post a prisoner, VOM needs four pieces of information:

        1. NAME
        2. PHOTO (we have used an artist's sketch on some occasions, but ideally would like to             have a photo)
        3. BRIEF STORY about their case (when were they arrested? What are the charges             against them? Where are they at in the court process?)
        4. The MAILING ADDRESS of the prison where they are being held. While there is an             advocacy portion of PrisonerAlert, allowing people to write letters to the government             officials, the first aim of the site is for people to write letters TO THE PRISONER and mail             them TO THE PRISON. Our readers can't do that without an address.

Sometimes we may have all of this information, but we don't have approval from the prisoner's family or church group. In other cases we may know the person is in prison, but the government doesn't acknowledge that fact or release their prison location.

The letters are making a difference, as we see from the release of Eva and other Christians who have been featured on the site. As one of our Tanzanian contacts said upon Eva's release, "God bless you so much for your constant intercessory prayers. I really believe in prison letters, they are very effective beyond reasonable imagination!"

Have you prayed specifically for a Christian in prison for their faith? Have you used the letter-writing tool on PrisonerAlert to write a letter to a prisoner? Share your stories in the comments below.


January 4, 2013

“Your cause is Christ’s gospel”

This month, VOM's newsletter focusses on writing letters to Christians imprisoned for their faith. From the earliest days of its ministry, VOM has encouraged readers to write letters to Christians imprisoned for their faith. Today you can write a letter to an imprisoned Christian using electronic tools at www.PrisonerAlert.com or VOM's new letter-writing kit.

But such letters are not new. In 1533, as John Frith awaited his execution in the infamous Tower of London, he received two letters from a close friend. The letters encouraged Frith to fight the good fight while cautioning that his writings should not cause dissention within the young Protestant movement. JohnFrith_from-Acts-Monuments

Frith was part of the Reformation then sweeping Europe that challenged the Church's traditions and some of its doctrine. Among many points of contention, the Reformers opposed teachings that emphasized works-based salvation rather than the gospel's truth that man is saved by grace through faith in Christ.

Many Reformers had already paid the ultimate price for the bold stand that Frith was taking against the Church. He disagreed with the Church's views on Communion and hell, and for this he was sentenced to die as a "heretic."

Frith's close friend, William Tyndale, was also a hunted man because of his translation of the New Testament into English. At that time, the Church didn't think common people should read the Bible in their own language.

Tyndale, perhaps worried that his friend had become discouraged while awaiting his execution, wrote the following in his second letter to him:

Your cause is Christ's gospel, a light that must be fed with the blood of faith. The lamp must be dressed and snuffed daily, and that oil poured in every evening and morning, that the light go not out. Though we be sinners, yet is the cause right. If when we be buffeted for well doing, we suffer patiently and endure, that is acceptable to God; for to that end we are called. For Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that we should follow his steps… For we suffer with him, that we may also be glorified with him; who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body; according to the working whereby he is able even to subject all things unto him.

Whether Frith's faith had been wavering is not known, and some question whether he even received Tyndale's second letter. What is known is that he was betrayed by a sympathizer, offered a pardon if he would renounce his views—he refused—and burned at the stake on July 4, 1533. He was 30 years old.

His friend William Tyndale, also betrayed by a friend, was arrested a few years later and burned at the stake.


October 25, 2012

VOM Australia's Merv Knight Interviewed About Richard Wurmbrand

Today we have a special interview, just posted earlier today, by our VOM staff with Todd Nettleton and Merv Knight who is involved in The Voice of the Martyrs ministry in Australia.

Here's a short description of the video: After being asked by Richard Wurmbrand to start a ministry to persecuted Christians around the world, Merv Knight helped start Voice of the Martyrs Australia and has continued working there ever since. Merv has not only worked with VOM Australia but has also partnered with VOM USA as a board member for more than 2 decades. In this interview VOM USA's Todd Nettleton interviews Merv Knight about the history of our mission, the history of God's work through The Voice of the Martyrs, and his memories of Richard and Sabina Wurmbrand.


Tanzania: Attacks Continue

Screen shot 2012-10-25 at 3.48.21 PMChristians in Tanzania have lost churches, homes, cars and livestock in a series of recent attacks, and some have received physical injuries. In the most recent attack, Muslims returning from worship at a mosque on Friday, Oct. 12, burned a car belonging to Bishop Muhiche of the Tanzania Assemblies of God church. After burning his car, the extremists moved on to destroy the pastor’s church.

“Police had to intervene, but it was too late,” said a VOM contact. “They had to use a helicopter to help some Christians escape the attacks. When I went there, we were confronted by the police using tear-gas bombs to scatter the attackers.” Muslims tried to keep the incident quiet by confiscating journalists’ video cameras, but the news was still broadcast on all the local television stations.

That same day, in Ushirombo District of Shinyanga Region, Muslim extremists attacked the Reverend Victor Simbaulanga. Enraged by an open-air evangelistic meeting the pastor was leading, the attackers beat Simbaulanga so severely that he had to be hospitalized. A VOM contact is working to have the pastor transferred to a hospital in a safer area so he won’t be attacked again.

On Sept. 28, Muslim extremists in Tunduru District of Ruvuma Region attacked a Christian medical doctor, Vitalis Lusasi, while he was in his car. They smashed the car’s windows and attempted to burn the vehicle before onlookers intervened.

Less than two weeks earlier, on Sept. 17, Muslim extremists reportedly attacked Christians in the same region, burning 60 pigs and attempting to burn six houses. Bystanders helped save five of the houses, but one was destroyed. A few nights later, two Christians’ cars, one belonging to a pastor, were set on fire in the same area.

“No one has been arrested so far in connection with all these wild attacks, probably because 85 percent of the residents of Tunduru are staunch Muslims,” said a VOM contact. He said some of those who have been attacked are traumatized and won’t talk about their current situation, fearing future attacks. “We really do not know what is going on,” said the VOM contact. “We need your constant, intensive prayers.”


October 24, 2012

Nigerian American Christians Seek Tougher US Action Against Boko Haram

Screen shot 2012-10-24 at 4.08.23 PMOne of the nations where Christians are being persecuted mercilessly is Nigeria.  I have had a burden for Nigeria ever since I started to hear about all the Christians being killed by Boko Haram.  We've covered much of that persecution here on the blog.  

Today I wanted to tell you about a press conference that took place recently where Nigerian American Christians got together in order to raise awareness about Boko Haram and also ask the United States State Department to implement tougher sanctions against Boko Haram.

10Tv.com is reporting the following:

WASHINGTON (AP) — Nigerian American Christians are demanding that the U.S. declare Boko Haram (BOH'-koh hah-RAHM') a foreign terrorist organization.

...

In June, the U.S. State Department designated three Boko Haram leaders as terrorists, but stopped short of labeling the entire group.

 

The Osun Defender adds to the story the following details:

Speaking earlier on Tuesday at a press conference attended by officials from the US Congress Homeland Security Committee, NGOs and religious groups and leaders in the US, the CANAN leader observed that “Boko Haram is sustained by the procurement of unbelievable amounts of heavy arms and weapons, clearly transported from country to country and certainly funded by some fat pockets.”

...

Restating the need for the US to designate Boko Haram as a Foreign Terrorist Organization, FTO, CANAN leaders said with such a designation “all their top political backers will understand that the stakes are now higher, and they will face a wider net of justice. This in turn will likely curtail them from funding the terrorists.

...

On the expressed concern that the US designating Boko Haram an FTO might amount to internationalizing the problem, the Nigerian-American Christians stated, “such a view is already overtaken by events as the group has already threatened international peace, and the problems are no longer entirely domestic or academic.”

...

According to CANAN, “While we Nigerian-American Christians are the first to affirm the sovereignty of Nigeria, we recognize that Boko Haram is part of the worldwide phenomenon of terrorism and its many aftermaths set in motion after 9/11.

They explained that it was the sincere belief of their group “that the Nigerian government is no longer capable by itself alone to effectively check this group without some drastic international help including the designation of the group as an FTO by the US.

Please pray for the safety of believers in Nigeria and for those in positions of political power, who can make a difference, to do the right thing and care about the persecution of Christians in Nigeria.

October 23, 2012

Taliban Targets Another Girl in Pakistan

Our friends at CBN News are reporting on another situation that has taken place in Pakistan concerning another teenager who the Taliban is targeting because of her speaking out on issues pertaining to women's rights.

Keep in mind that Pakistan is a restricted nation with the majority religion being  Muslim at about 96 percent and Christian at about 2.5 percent.  Please keep Christians and others who speak up for freedom and human rights in your prayers.

Please watch this short video report from CBN News:

 


October 15, 2012

He Was Burned at the Stake

Screen shot 2012-10-15 at 3.05.35 PM

One of the martyrs during the 1500's was Dr. Rowland Taylor who has a monument in his honor in Suffolk.  You can read more about Dr. Rowland here.

The following is from the book Extreme Devotion about Dr. Rowland Taylor.  If you like this devotional thought, please consider buying the book here.

Before burning at the stake for teaching the Bible, Dr. Rowland Taylor wrote these beautiful words:

    “I say to my wife and to my children, the Lord gave you to me, and the Lord has taken me from you and you from me: Blessed be the name of the Lord! I have ever found him more faithful and favorable than is any husband or father. Trust in him by means of our dear Savior’s merits: Believe, love, fear, and obey him. Pray to him, for he has promised to help. Count me not dead, for I shall eternally live and never die. I go before, and you shall follow after, to our eternal home.
    

“I say to you my dear friends of Hadley, and to all those who have heard me preach, that I depart from here with a quiet conscience concerning my teaching, for which I pray you thank God with me. For I have, in keeping with my little talent, declared to others those lessons that I gathered out of God’s book, the blessed Bible. Therefore, if I, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you another gospel than that which you have received, God’s great curse be upon that preacher!

    “Departing from here with sure hope, without any doubting of eternal salvation, I thank God my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ my certain Savior.”
    Rowland Taylor


Can you recall your most memorable childhood teacher? Perhaps it was a certain perfume she wore. Maybe it was the peculiar way he smoothed his bald spot. Something about the person remains in your mind. However, when we grow older, we value teachers for different reasons. We recall what they taught us—lessons we’ll never forget. We’ll always remember the one who first taught us God’s Word. We cannot afford to forget the basic truths our teachers shared with us about God’s love and his salvation. When someone else comes along in the name of enlightenment or academia, God’s truths will protect you and help you recognize falsehood. They are more than mere memories. They are your most valuable possession.