HOSTAGE’S WIFE: “Look for the Promises of God and Pray” » Audio Archive » The Voice of the Martyrs Radio

The Voice of the Martyrs Radio

Christian talk radio with Todd Nettleton

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Broadcast Episode

March 09

HOSTAGE’S WIFE: “Look for the Promises of God and Pray”

It was four in the morning when Els Woodke answered the phone to hear the words she’d been praying for and waiting on for six-and-a-half years: “Jeff has been recovered!” The last two weeks we’ve shared the story of Jeffery Woodke, American gospel worker in West Africa captured by Islamists and held hostage for more than six years. Now, Jeff’s wife, Els, shares her side of the story of waiting and wondering and praying through that long ordeal—and how God helped her never to hate Jeff’s captors. “The moment I heard Jeff was kidnapped, I cried out to God,” Els says. Shortly after Jeff’s abduction, Els felt the Lord saying to her, “I want you to love the enemy.” She answered that call, never letting bitterness or anger toward the terrorists holding Jeff find a place in her heart. “I lived in the Psalms,” she says, often taking the prayers and promises recorded by the Psalmist and making them her own prayers for Jeff. Among those prayers was, “Keep him alive in famine” and “deliver him from death,” based on Psalm 33:19. After Jeff’s release in March, 2023, Els learned that his circumstances in captivity had been even worse than she could’ve imagined. Listen in as Els speaks to the people all around the world who prayed for Jeff’s release and for her. It strengthened her faith to hear that people were fervently and faithfully praying for Jeff—for years—without knowing his condition. “Thank you for your faithfulness,” Els says as she shares how peoples’ prayers encouraged her to keep the faith. Please continue to pray for Jeff and Els Woodke as they continue to reconnect and recover from their experience and forced separation. Never miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe to the podcast. Or you can listen each week—and get daily prayer reminders for persecuted Christians—in the VOM App for your smartphone or tablet.

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About The Voice of the Martyrs Radio

Founded by Pastor Richard Wurmbrand, The Voice of the Martyrs has been dedicated to assisting persecuted Christians worldwide since 1967—through practical and spiritual assistance and leading other members of the body of Christ into fellowship with them. Voice of the Martyrs Radio is the weekly radio outreach of the ministry. Host Todd Nettleton interviews courageous Christians in countries where the gospel is opposed or banned altogether. These brave believers share their stories of how lives are being changed around the world.

More from The Voice of the Martyrs Radio

Broadcast Episode

Saturday, April 20

CENTRAL ASIA: Muslims Ready for Truth

A Christian and pastor from Central Asia, Brother Silas constantly interacts with Muslims. He says many are seeking truth and looking for answers to their deepest spiritual questions. Brother Silas and Tom Houser, executive director for People International, share this week what new Christians in Central Asian nations—including Muslim background believers—experience when they become followers of Jesus. “The moment you make that decision,” says Silas, “you will be oppressed on every side.” Persecution follows those who come to Christ in Central Asian nations like Türkiye, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Azerbaijan. The persecution may come from different sources: the government, their parents, relatives, neighbors, or the broader community. Persecuted Christians face isolation, broken friendships and being targeted by police or other authorities. Silas shares some of his own experience as a persecuted Christian, and the encouragement he found in knowing other Christians were praying for him and that he was not alone. Organizations like People International and The Voice of the Martyrs, which take time to sit with persecuted Christians and know what they really need, bring encouragement as they share that others around the world—like VOM Radio listeners—are praying for our persecuted brothers and sisters. Hear how we can reach our Muslim neighbors, coworkers, and friends for Christ. Tom will also share more about People International’s mission to be present where there is no church presence and what leaders of the group have learned in more than forty years of ministry. Also hear how social media, broadcasting and other evangelism tools are reaching people in Central Asia. And learn how you can pray for the people of Central Asia to know Christ, and for the persecuted church in these nations. Listen here to Silas’ testimony of coming to faith and the persecution he faced as a new Christian. Never miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe to the podcast. Or listen each week—and get daily prayer reminders—in the VOM App for your smartphone or tablet.

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Broadcast Episode

Saturday, April 13

MIDDLE EAST: Christians Intentional About Sharing Jesus

Many Muslims are ready to hear the gospel and experience the love of Jesus Christ. For more than two decades Peter Smith has prayed for the nation of Iran and connected with ministries reaching people and supporting persecuted Christians in the nation he and his wife “adopted.” Seeing the gospel go forth in the Middle East reminds Peter of the good soil that produced 30, 60 and 100-fold harvests in Jesus’ Matthew 13 parable. Persecution is rising in restricted nations across the Middle East; despite that risk, more Muslims are becoming followers of Christ. Listen as Peter shares the stories of how God worked in the heart of an Uber driver and a divorced woman. “When you adopt a country,” Peter says, “sooner or later you get to adopt the people.” Peter’s wife also has an international ministry—from their home in the United States. She asks the Lord each day for divine appointments and looks for gospel opportunities at the grocery store, in her neighborhood and wherever else the day takes her. Hear how she’s had gospel conversations with women from 54 different countries. Learn how you can pray specifically for Christians in Iran and across the Middle East as Peter shares what current events mean for Christians there and how to pray for what God is already doing.

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Broadcast Episode

Saturday, April 6

CHINA MISSIONS: “Your Ministry is Over”

Last week, Brother Kevin shared how he came to Christ and how God gave him a passion to reach the 13 million Hui people in China. For members of this people group, to be Hui is to be Muslim. Those who become Christians are considered traitors, bringing shame to their family. Hui Christians face social, psychological, and sometimes financial persecution, typically enforced by members of their own family. They may lose their job, be kicked out of the family home, and even renounced as a member of the family. Kevin came to see the communist authorities as ordinary people doing their jobs and providing for their families. He intentionally chose to see police and other authorities as worthy of his respect and compassion. When Xi Jinping ascended to the leadership of the Communist Party and the Chinese nation, things changed. By 2017, most foreigners were having a hard time renewing visas. By 2018, hardly any foreign gospel workers were able to remain in China. Members of Muslim minorities—including the Hui and the Uyghurs—received “reeducation” enforced by the government. Listen as Kevin shares how his family’s ministry in China ended and how tension grew during their final weeks in country as authorities searched for legal reasons to detain or deport Kevin and his family, including a late-night drive to the airport. Choosing to focus on God’s sovereignty allowed Kevin to shepherd his family and others struggling with their forced departure. Gospel outreach to the Hui did not end with foreign missionaries being kicked out of China. Today they are reached through social media gospel outreach and multifaceted church planting by local Han Chinese believers as well as Christians from non-Western countries. Pray for the Lord to continue moving among the Hui through dreams, visions and divine appointments with followers of Christ. Pray for Chinese brothers and sisters to boldly preach the cross and to prepare new Christians for persecution. Richard and Jeannette had a similar experience in China as Kevin’s family, yet Richard found himself detained by the authorities. Listen to their story. Never miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe to the podcast. Or you can listen each week—and get daily prayer reminders—in the VOM App for your smartphone or tablet. April is Bible month at VOM! Please consider giving online to help deliver Bibles to Christians living in restricted nations and hostile areas.

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Broadcast Episode

Saturday, March 30

CHINA MISSIONS: “That’s When We Felt the Call”

Within two months of Brother Kevin and his wife beginning gospel work in India, more than a thousand people had come to Christ! The fruit of the gospel was immediate. Local missions leaders asked them to stay on and help disciple these new believers. They saw the opportunity, and the incredible growth of the ministry. But Kevin couldn’t dismiss an urge to visit China before agreeing to stay and minister in India. It was on that first visit to China that Kevin was asked a question which would change his life and guide his mission efforts going forward: “Have you heard of the Hui people? ” Kevin and his wife had not heard of the Hui, and they began to ask questions about this mostly-Muslim unreached people group of 13 million people. They were told that, in the area they were passing through, the Hui people had no church, no missionaries, and that there was no church or organization committed to sharing the gospel with them. “That’s when we felt the call. ” Kevin says now. Today Kevin and his wife have spent more than a decade living among and serving the Hui people. Listen as Kevin shares his testimony of coming to Christ as a young adult, and about his calling to be a missionary in a restricted nation where Christian persecution is common and fierce. Kevin opens up about some of the struggles they faced as cross cultural gospel workers, and how their clear calling from God kept them in obedience to Him. Be sure to listen next week as Kevin shares more about their work in China and how they experienced a sudden forced ending to that chapter of their ministry. Never miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe to the podcast. Or you can listen each week—and get daily reminders to pray for the persecuted church—in the VOM App for your smartphone or tablet.

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Broadcast Episode

March 23

SOUTH ASIA: Children are Included in the Great Commission

“For us, it’s not AWANA, it’s ‘Can we disciple one more child?’” Gajendra Tamang is the Regional Director of AWANA in South Asia, coming alongside pastors and local churches to help reach and disciple children from many different religious backgrounds. Gajendra knows first-hand how a life can be changed through a simple invitation to a Christian activity. He came to faith while attending college in India, where a Christian classmate invited Gajendra to come to church with him every Sunday for a year. Finally Gajendra decided to see why his classmate loved going to church. He didn’t understand everything being said, but he loved the music, and a few months later he came to know Jesus as Savior and Lord. As seminary students Gajendra and his wife were recruited to serve as AWANA volunteers. They continued serving in AWANA throughout their seminary training. After graduation the couple became AWANA missionaries, and today they are tasked with training volunteer leaders to help serve in local churches in India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. In most AWANA groups in South Asia, 20 to 25% of the children come from non-Christian homes, including Hindus, Muslims and Buddhists. Some parents restrict their children from coming after they learn that Bible stories are being shared, while others accept the care and blessing their child receives even though it is coming from Christians. Gajendra will help us understand and pray for the training process to equip more leaders and ultimately to tell more children about Jesus. Listen for the story of an entire family coming to Christ through one child's prayer for healing and learn how you can pray for the salvation of the next generation—and their parents—in South Asia. Pray for more AWANA leaders willing to be disciple makers on the front lines and for believers and local churches facing persecution for their faith in Christ. Never miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe to the podcast. Or you can listen each week—and get daily prayer reminders—in the VOM App for your smartphone or tablet.

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