72 posts categorized “General Information”

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 2, 2013

New year, new direction for Persecution Blog

Welcome to 2013!

New Year's Day is always an interesting one. It's a new chapter, whether we want it to be or not. For some of you, 2012 was a tough year and you couldn't wait for it to be over. For others, 2012 was wonderful, and you wouldn't mind it hanging around a few more months. But time marches on, and 2013 is here.

This New Year's Day also marks a change for the Persecution Blog. After eight years under the direction of Stacy Harp, the blog is coming "in-house" and will be directly managed by VOM's media development staff.

Before talking about what that change means, I want to personally thank Stacy for the GREAT work she has done on the blog. She planted VOM's flag firmly in the blogosphere, and she has worked tirelessly to promote the blog and spread the stories of the persecuted church. The fact that you are reading this is a tribute to her efforts and work. THANK YOU, Stacy, for all that you've done for the persecuted church and for VOM. (Readers can stay connected with Stacy via her company website at Active Christian Media.)

Now, what does this change mean to you, our readers, and to the blog content? I can give you some of those answers now, but not all of them. The blog will continue to evolve in the weeks and months to come as we try new things and see what works and what doesn't. I welcome your comments and ideas via e-mail to media [at] vom-usa.org.

Here are some of the changes you will see:

  1. Fewer posts. There will be one new post each day, Monday through Friday.
  2. More writers. You will see the work of more writers as several VOM staff and other writers regularly contribute to the blog. We will encourage writers to take a personal approach, writing from their heart about what God has taught them through their encounters with the persecuted church.
  3. More "inside" information. One of our goals is to provide blog readers with more information about what is happening at VOM — the stories of persecution we are receiving, the ways the ministry is responding, and other happenings inside our office each week.
  4. More interaction. We value your comments and feedback on each post, and we are looking at some ways to encourage that.

You'll notice other changes in the weeks and months to come. We will try different ideas, continuing the ones that work and dropping those that don't.

While the new year brings changes to this blog, our goal remains the same: the Persecution Blog will share powerful stories and timely information that invite and inspire Christians into fellowship with the persecuted church around the world.

Thank you for supporting this blog in the past. And thank you for your continued support in 2013 and beyond.

—Todd Nettleton

The Voice of the Martyrs – USA

November 30, 2012

EGYPT: Draft constitution passed

A draft constitution was passed today by Egypt's constituent assembly, after many representatives—including Coptic Christians—had left the room to protest the process. Several articles of the constitution raise concerns for Christians who fear that more persecution may be coming in Egypt under President Mohamed Morsi's government.

I was asked today by a reporter what this means for Christians in Egypt. I wish I could answer that! I do know that Christians are worried about what the future holds for them in their country. Will religious minorities be protected? Will a person have the freedom to change their religion under a constitution that says "the principles of Islamic Shariah" will be the "principle source of legislation?"

I don't know the answers to those questions. But I do know this: God's spirit is not stopped by constitutions or man's laws.

As I watch what is happening in Egypt today, I am reminded of when the ayatollahs came to power in Iran (even though I was only 9 years old!). The mullahs took over, and they immediately adopted Shariah law and told the people of Iran, "We are going to run the whole country according to Islam. Finally we can be all that we're supposed to be as a country, because we are doing everything according to the Koran and Allah's will."

At the time, many wondered what would happen to the church in Iran. Many feared it would be wiped out. How would they survive such oppression? How would the gospel go forth?

Today we are 30+ years down the road, and the church in Iran is one of the fastest growing churches in the whole WORLD. People are coming to Christ in droves. One Iranian worker told me a couple of years ago that if you shared the gospel with 10 Iranians, five of them would choose to follow Christ immediately; the people of Iran are that hungry for Truth!

A significant source of their hunger is Islam. They've been told that their country is being run according to true Islam. So when the government fails, the people see it as the failure of Islam. Questioning the government means questioning Islam. And almost everyone in Iran is questioning the government! And they are HUNGRY to find another way, and Jesus is truly The Way.

So as we see political and constitutional battles going on in Egypt, and as it appears more and more likely Islam will become the driving force of the government and the authorities there, it is tempting to get discouraged. But we must remember that God is still at work and out of this He can grow and strengthen and build His church. I pray that if there is an Islamic government in Egypt, it will produce the same result as the Islamic government in Iran: tens of thousands of Egyptians finding the Way, the Truth and the Life in Jesus Christ.

Todd Nettleton has served the persecuted church and VOM almost 15 years. He has been interviewed more than 1800 times by various media outlets. He's the author of Restricted Nations: North Korea, and served on the writing team for FOXE, Extreme Devotion, Hearts of Fire and other VOM books.

February 9, 2009

Anti-Christian in Bangalore warns against Valentine's Day.

An anti-Christian activist group is warning people in Bangalore, India, to not celebrate Valentine's Day because it is a Christian holiday. Here is the link to the article:

Fresh from the Mangalore pub assault, Shri Ram Sene is bracing up for the Valentine's Day.

The Sene plans to protest any Valentine's Day celebration on February 14 in Karnataka and is meeting on Wednesday to fine tune its agenda.

Sri Ram Sene chief Pramod Muthalik, who is now out on conditional bail in the Mangalore Pub attack case, has made it clear that his outfit will disrupt Valentine's Day celebration as it is against Indian culture.

February 5, 2009

Greetings from Hal.

I just wanted to introduce myself to all the wonderful people who actively follow the news of the persecuted Church here on the Voice of the Martyrs's persecution blog. I am Hal Paxton. I share your passion for our brothers and sisters who suffer the hatred of others because they name the name above all names, Jesus Christ.

You host, Stacy, has asked me to fill in while she is at a conference for the next week.

Normally, you can locate me at my blog, The Great Separation, which I've been running since 2003. Also, you can find me on my book blog, Sins of Our Fathers.

May our Lord bless you today so that you can be a blessing to others.

December 6, 2007

Ministry Watch to Name VOM Shining Light for 2007

Ministrywatch.com has recently announced that The Voice of the Martyrs will be featured on their 2007 “Shining Light ‘Top 30’ Exemplary Ministries” list. This makes the third consecutive year that VOM has been featured on this list, which is an honor Ministry Watch awards to few organizations.

Ministry Watch is a program of Wall Watchers, an organization dedicated to keeping Christian ministries accountable for their spending while at the same time helping donors to be wise stewards of their God-given resources.

The “Shining Light” list is published in response to requests that Ministry Watch identify the “best” ministries to donate to. While Ministry Watch still encourages individuals to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit when they donate, they have identified 30 organizations that are both transparent and responsible with their spending as well as bold in their stand as an evangelical Christian organization. The Voice of the Martyrs is proud to be included on this list for 2005, 2006 and now 2007.

Here is an excerpt from www.ministrywatch.com which details why the feature “Shining Lights”:

These ministries are called ‘Shining Lights’ because they are indeed models of letting their Christian light shine before men so that the Gospel may be proclaimed and God be glorified. Consequently, we are shining a figurative light on them so that donors may be aware of their good works and other ministries may learn from their examples.

Last March, MinistryWatch.com was featured on ABC’s 20/20 with John Stossel. The interview talked about financial transparency in ministries and brought public attention to the work of Ministry Watch. To learn more about the organization and watch the video, you can visit their website at www.ministrywatch.com.

November 30, 2007

Crescent Project Building BRIDGES

I was in Indianapolis, IN this week on the way to a television interview, and had the great privilege of visiting the offices of Crescent Project.  This organization works to train Christians in how to reach out to Muslims and share the message of salvation through Jesus Christ with them. And their focus isn’t necessarily on people who are going to barge into Mecca and hand out tracts, but on people RIGHT HERE IN AMERICA!  You can reach your neighbor…your doctor…the exchange student at the university in your town.  Crescent Project  reminds us that you don’t have to GO to be a missionary…God is bringing the mission field onto our own soil!

While I was there I got a sneak peak at CP’s latest project, a small-group curriculum called BRIDGES.  It is a six-week small-group study that trains American Christians how to start the discussion with a Muslim, how to find common ground and how to dispel some of the misinformation about Christianity that is commonly taught in Muslim households. The curriculum includes DVD teaching material and study guides, as well as a leader’s guide. There will also be an online component to get additional information and to share stories of what worked (and what didn’t).

The sneak peak got me VERY excited about this incredible tool!  CP’s goal is to train one million American Christians to reach out to Muslims with the gospel.  The curriculum is available for pre-order now (at a discount!), and you can get a sneak peak at the web site, www.bridgesstudy.com  (they have even posted some of the video segments). If you know people who care about reaching Muslims for Christ, CP and BRIDGES provide excellent, unique training resources (CP also has one-day and one-week training seminars held around the country).

My hope is that a million on-fire American Christians trained, equipped and passionate about sharing the gospel with Muslims is only the beginning!

Todd Nettleton is the Director of Media Development for The Voice of the Martyrs—USA.

October 31, 2007

VOM is on www.myspace.com

The Voice of the Martyrs invites you to become our “friend” on the social networking site www.myspace.com.

Our page is located at www.myspace.com/voiceofthemartyrs. To add us, simply follow the link and click “add to friends.” If you don’t already have a myspace page and you would like to create one, click here.

On the VOM myspace, you’ll find pictures, video clips, banner and more. Check back often for new content.

Myspace.com was founded in August of 2003 by the internet company eUniverse. Currently, it is the third most popular website in the United States and the sixth most popular website in the world.

The Voice of the Martyrs looks forward to sharing the stories of persecuted Christians in this unique and expansive way.

Add VOM on myspace

July 19, 2007

Militants Behead "US Spy"

A few days ago I was flipping through channels and stopped at this program where a Rabbi was teaching about how militant Islam delights in beheading people. As I watched this show, it was amazing how many news clippings he used to teach his audience about this type of brutality. Everyday someone in the world will die by the sword. Today and yesterday and the day before is no different.

I read this story today about how some militants beheaded an alleged spy for the United States. The following is a short clip from the full story.

SUSPECTED Islamic militants in a restive Pakistani tribal town overnight beheaded a man accused of spying for US forces across the border, officials said.

The militants dumped the body of the unidentified victim aged in his 20s in an isolated area near the northwestern town of Khar in the Bajaur tribal district, local administration official Fazle Rabbi said.

"Local villagers found the beheaded body and informed us," he said.

The militants left a note near the body which read: "Those who spy for US forces will meet this fate", the official said.

Please remember to pray for our troops and all of those who are in harms way.

Click here to see the full story.

May 23, 2007

More Pictures from Israel

Here are a few more interesting pictures from Israel. I hope you enjoy.



Inside the tomb where Jesus may have laid.

Holy bagel? Yup, there is such a thing.