One of the ways that VOM sometimes encourages American Christians to support our brothers and sisters facing persecution is by asking our government leaders to speak out and act on their behalf. These efforts go back even to VOM’s founder, Richard Wurmbrand, who testified before a Senate committee and even took off his shirt in the hearing to show the deep torture scars on his body.
But what is the best way to advocate for persecuted Christians to US officials? And does it make a difference? Do they listen?
We’ve got answers to those questions and others this week on VOMRadio. And they are answers from someone who knows: former U.S. Congressman Pete Hoekstra.
Also in this episode the leader of VOM’s international work, Cole Richards, gives insights about how VOM connects with and provides help to Christians facing persecution around the world. Listen to the episode below, and to all episodes at www.VOMRadio.net.
On December 17, 1912 Bill Borden boarded ship for China via Egypt. His missionary career would be among history’s briefest—and most effective.
Borden was born into an upper-class family on Chicago’s Gold Coast, heir to a fortune in real estate and milk production. His mother became a Christian, and young Bill began attending Chicago’s Moody Church with her, soon becoming a Christian himself. Shortly afterward, when Pastor R.A. Torrey challenged worshipers to dedicate their lives to God’s service, William quietly rose—a little fellow in a blue sailor suit. He stood a long, long time while the service went on, but there was no wavering, and it was a consecration from which he never retreated.
Later at Yale University, Bill became well known as a star athlete, good-looking, worth $50 million, and committed to Christ. At a student missions conference in Nashville, he was deeply moved by Samuel Zwemer to reach the Muslims; and following graduation he announced he was giving his immense inheritance to the cause of world missions. He joined the China Inland Mission, planning to evangelize the Muslims in China. But first came language study in Egypt. On the eve of his departure, his widowed mother wondered if Bill had done the right thing, giving up fortune and homeland. “In the quiet of my room that night, worn and weary and sad, I fell asleep asking myself again and again, ‘Is it, after all, worthwhile?’ In the morning as I awoke, a still small voice was speaking in my heart, answering: ‘God so loved the world that he gave his only beloved son…’”
A month after arriving in Egypt, Borden contracted spinal meningitis. He was dead in two weeks, but he left a final message on paper stuffed under his pillow: “No Reserve! No Retreat! No Regrets!”
The story of his sacrifice was retold in newspapers across America and the publication of his biography resulted in a dramatic leap in numbers of young people offering themselves as living sacrifices for the Lord of the harvest.
Story excerpted from “On This Day in Christian History: 365 Amazing and Inspiring Stories about Saints, Martyrs and Heroes” by Robert J. Morgan.
Disclosure: VOM is part of the Amazon Associates program. If you click on the links in this post and purchase the book from Amazon, VOM will receive a very small percentage of your purchase as a referral fee.
Photo credit: Wikipedia
The recent stories of the radical Islamic group ISIS indiscriminately and sometimes intentionally killing children has been on my mind these days, especially as we focus on children during the Christmas season. It is hard to comprehend what it takes for an adult to kill children for whatever reason but it is most incomprehensible when it is done to make an ideological/political statement to the world.
Yesterday we saw the unthinkable again with the attack on a school in Peshawar, Pakistan which saw more than 130 children killed. In Nigeria, Boko Haram continues to kidnap girls and sell them as wives or slaves, treating them in an inhuman manner for their own pleasure and profit, and to spread their religion. Christian girls are forced into Islam, disappearing forever from their Christian families. It is a cruel and unthinkable method of proselyting.
The mistreatment of children is not a new phenomenon—it is even a part of the Christmas story. When Jesus was born he was already under threat of being killed by King Herod. He was a threat to the existing order, and Herod would seek to keep his position no matter what it took to do so. When the wise men failed to return to Herod with the news as to where Jesus was located, Herod ordered the killing of boys two years and younger in and around Bethlehem. In the middle of the glorious picture of the baby born in a manger and worshipped by shepherds and wise men is the gut-wrenching story of the killing of innocent children. Jeremiah’s words about the bitter weeping of Rachel for the loss of her children are especially gripping, because in many ways these words are being reenacted over and over again in our time.
Jesus treated children like important, valuable human beings, worth the time to be with them and nurture them. This attitude pervades many Christian organizations which seek to help and support destitute orphans who are left in a helpless state by uncaring and hostile adults. Christian children are also subjected to severe difficulties when their parents are killed for their faith and they are left orphans. They not only suffer the trauma of losing parents but they become especially vulnerable since they have no way to provide for their basic needs. This is where The Voice of the Martyrs steps in to help support these orphaned children and to provide a means of existence in often hostile environments. It is our way of countering the evil that they have experienced and to provide some positive, loving care.
I often pray that those who commit such atrocities against the innocent suffer in their hearts and consciences for their actions. I pray that God’s Spirit will convict them of their sins and that they not be able to sleep at night until they turn to Christ. Only God can penetrate their hard hearts and their very dark minds but it has been done and God can reach them. In the meantime, we need to step in and take care of God’s children. It can be a dangerous world for them.
Roy Stults, PhD, is the Online Workshop Coordinator and Educational Services Coordinator for The Voice of the Martyrs. He graduated from Olivet Nazarene University (BA and MA), Nazarene Theological Seminary (M.Div.), Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (Doctor of Missiology), and The University of Manchester (England) with a PhD (theology). A Vietnam veteran, Dr. Stults served as a missionary for 19 years and pastored U.S. churches for eight years. Prior to joining VOM, he was a Professor of Religion at Oklahoma Wesleyan University.
A Ho Chi Minh City Bible school that has often been the target of police activity in recent years was attacked and destroyed for the seventh time on Wednesday, Nov. 12 by hired thugs accompanied by the police. The thugs used hammers and metal cutters to destroy doors, walls, and furniture. Police then raided the college and arrested nine Christians who did not have proper paperwork — documents that had been confiscated by police in earlier raids. The Bible school leader, Pastor Nguyen Hong Quang, said this was the seventh attack on the college since June 2014.
On the Nov. 12 attack, hired men along with scantily-clad prostitutes gathered outside the school and begin shouting and screaming in the streets. Witnesses saw police filming the events just as the mob began damaging the school property. The thugs broke doors and gates that were broken three days earlier and had just been repaired that day. Police then arrested nine people inside, including Pastor Quang’s son and two Mennonite pastors.
The nine Christians were taken to the local police station. After being interrogated for two hours, all nine were released but were charged for not having ID cards or temporary residence papers. These documents were confiscated in earlier raids and never returned, according to church leaders. Without these documents, all nine will face further police harassment and complications with employment and school registration.
The Ho Chi Minh Bible college trains young Christians, mostly from minority tribal groups and has been the subject of frequent attacks. After large scale attacks in June, the water and electricity for the school were cut off, and in October, all roads to the school were barricaded.