One year ago this month, John Chau gave his life for Jesus Christ and the gospel on North Sentinel Island, an island in the Bay of Bengal governed by India. Dr. Mary Ho is the executive leader of All Nations, the mission organization that sent out John Chau and sends gospel workers all over the world, including countries where Christians are persecuted. Listen as she describes the John Chau she knew: unassuming, humble, soft-spoken, and with a clear calling from God to go to the people of North Sentinel Island. Dr. Ho will also talk about the criticism that came after John’s death—in secular media and even from within the church, and describe her own perspective on fulfilling the Great Commission and how missionaries bring blessings, not problems, to the nations where they go. John was a young man when he went to the island, but he was not unprepared for challenges he might face there. Mary will tell us how much effort John put forth—years of effort—preparing to arrive on the beach that sunny morning last November. This is Part 1 of our conversation with Dr. Mary Ho; tune in next week to hear Part 2 as we continue to honor the life and sacrifice of John Chau. Connect online with All Nations-USA or All Nations-International.
The world knew Pastor Han Chung-Ryeol as a persecuted Christian pastor and a man who served North Korean refugees crossing into China—in spite of threats and danger. Dr. Eric Foley, the leader of VOM-Korea, knew Han as coworker and friend. This week Dr. Foley shares personal stories of the courageous pastor murdered by North Korean agents inside China. Pastor Han’s story is the subject of this year’s International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church video from VOM. Just months before Pastor Han’s murder, he visited Dr. Foley and they talked openly about the threats against Pastor Han’s work. One of Han’s coworkers had already been kidnapped and taken to prison in North Korea. There were threats the same thing could happen to Pastor Han. But Pastor Han reminded the Foleys that the shepherd’s job is to care for the sheep—and his sheep were along the North Korean border, where they needed their shepherd. He was willing not only to go, but to lay down his life for the sheep God had entrusted to his care. Listen and be inspired by the example of faithfulness, commitment and courage lived out by Pastor Han Chung-Ryeol, and prepare your heart and your church to pray for persecuted Christians in North Korea and around the world on the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church, November 3. Also listen to Dr. Foley’s previous visit to VOM Radio, where he discussed why the North Korean regime of the Kim family is so threatened by Christianity.
Pastor Andrew Brunson, author of a new book called God’s Hostage, was imprisoned in Turkey for two years, and he says every single day was a battle to overcome his fear and grief and anxiety. One of those who inspired him in these battles was Richard Wurmbrand, VOM’s founder. In Part 2 of our interview with Brunson, he explains how Wurmbrand inspired him to dance inside his prison cell. He says he didn’t feel joy or happiness, but he set his will to act joyfully in spite of his feelings. Brunson was also inspired by another former prisoner for Christ (and VOM Radio guest), Dan Baumann, to lock away doubts and questions and choose to leave those in God’s hand. Brunson says he told God from his prison cell, “I don’t need answers to have a relationship with You.” Listen as Andrew shares how he came to “embrace my assignment” of being in prison for Christ. Andrew will share about the song God birthed in his soul while he was locked in prison, and how his heart changed over long months in prison to a posture of faithfulness and trust in spite of not seeing his outward circumstances change. That heart change, he says, was his victory over the terrible circumstances and injustice he faced in prison. Finally, Brunson will tell the story of a letter he wrote to Norine that clearly demonstrated his changed heart as he expressed commitment to drink every drop that the Lord had ordained for him to drink from the “cup of suffering.” Order your copy of God’s Hostage (affiliate link). You can also listen to Part 1 of our conversation.
Pastor Andrew Brunson spent two years in Turkish prisons accused, among other “crimes,” of helping plot a coup against President Erdogan’s government there. There were very dark days for Brunson, isolated in prison and wondering why God seemed silent in his time of suffering. Listen as he shares how he poured out his frustrations to God, but ultimately chose to lean into God—even if God seemed to remain distant. Through those dark days, Andrew's wife, Norine served as his pastor and encourager, the only Christian he was allowed contact with. Listen as he tells how she was “heroic” in standing with him in spite of risks to her own freedom. Pastor Brunson also took strength from the stories of other Christians who suffered persecution. One of those was Richard Wurmbrand, founder of The Voice of the Martyrs and the author of Tortured for Christ and other books. Andrew says he “spent a lot of time with Richard Wurmbrand in prison,” through Richard’s writings. Andrew tells the entire story in a new book, God’s Hostage. Prior to the start of Andrew’s trial in Turkey, his daughter Jacqueline was our guest on VOM Radio. You can hear our conversation with her at vom.org.
Gary Lane has been telling the stories of persecuted Christians for decades. As International News Director and Senior Correspondent for CBN News, he’s gone to meet them—he’s traveled to more than 100 countries—and been drawn not only to tell their stories, but also actively serve and stand with bold believers enduring persecution. A month after 21 Christians were martyred by ISIS on the beach in Libya, Gary went to Egypt to meet the families of many of those beheaded on the sand. When he met these families—just weeks after their loved ones were killed—he was moved and challenged by their strong faith. They told him what an honor it was that their loved ones had died for Christ, and expressed forgiveness to the ISIS murderers. Gary also served three years on staff at VOM. He’ll share how he encountered VOM workers on the front lines in Sudan and how that led to a cooperative effort between VOM and Operation Blessing—and eventually to Gary serving on VOM’s staff. Gary will tell about his first encounters with persecuted Christians, and how he transitioned from simply being a neutral observer, reporting on their suffering to actively providing help as a brother and fellow member of the Body of Christ. Watch Gary’s program, The Global Lane, including this episode, which includes an interview with VOM Radio host, Todd Nettleton.
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The Voice of the Martyrs
1815 SE Bison Rd
Bartlesville, OK 74006