“So then as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” (Galatians 6:10)
In his sermon last Sunday, Pastor Synnott referred to Voice of the Martyrs, an organization that helps, supports, and prays for persecuted Christians worldwide. I thought it would be good to tell you what I know about this organization.
Voice of the Martyrs was founded in 1967 by the Reverend Richard Wurmbrand, a Lutheran pastor from Romania who for 14 years had been imprisoned and tortured for his faith. He tells his story in the book Tortured for Christ. His wife Sabrina tells her side of the story in her book The Pastor’s Wife. When he was arrested, for months – that turned into long, long years – she had no idea whether he was dead or alive. She herself was imprisoned for three of those years. They, along with their son Mihai, were released by the Romanian government in the 1960s after significant pressure from Christians worldwide and after a large ransom had been paid. Upon his release, Rev. Wurmbrand began shining a light on the persecution of Christians in Communist nations and at one point even witnessed before a Congressional committee. In 1967, he and his wife founded an organization called Christ to the Communist Nations, which later took on a worldwide focus and changed its name to Voice of the Martyrs.
This past summer, several of us attended a regional conference of the Voice of the Martyrs held at a church in Springfield. It is very powerful to listen to the stories and witness of Christians who have personally experienced persecution for their faith and who are working with the persecuted church. What touched me deeply is that through the power of the Holy Spirit, they have such a strong identity with their Father that they are able to stand firm no matter what. The persecution of Christians is not only an issue of the past. We are told that more people have died for their faith in the last century than all previous centuries combined. Witness the current atrocities towards Christians in Syria. One of the most shocking presentations was about the level and severity of persecution in North Korea. Yet, overwhelmingly those who are persecuted do not feel sorry for themselves, but rather speak of honor of bearing the name of Christ.
May our prayers and mercy go out to the persecuted church. To learn more about Voice of the Martyrs, visit www.persecution.com.