Christians around the globe are praying specifically for persecuted Christians as we commemorate the International Day of Prayer for Persecuted Christians (IDOP). We will honor this special day as we talk about specific ways to pray for persecuted believers and pray together this week on VOM Radio. Host Todd Nettleton will share a story from Petr Jasek’s time imprisoned in Sudan that shows the real, practical difference our prayers make for those facing persecution for Christ. And we’ll pray together, led by Christian leaders from around the nation: Pastor Craig Groeschel from Life.Church Ed Stetzer, author, radio host, professor and executive director of the Wheaton College Billy Graham Center Michael Tait, lead singer of The Newsboys Dr. Albert Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary Greg Mundis, executive director of Assemblies of God World Missions Priscilla Shirer, author and speaker with Going Beyond Ministries VOM has created resources to help you, your family and your church pray for persecuted Christians—on IDOP Sunday and throughout the year. You can download resources here. If you haven’t already, sign up to receive new prayer requests by email each week at www.iCommitToPray.com.
In 1999 a new book presented the stories of persecuted Christians in a powerful, memorable way. The book—Jesus Freaks by dc Talk and The Voice of the Martyrs—inspired an entire generation to passionately follow Christ, no matter the cost. This week a new, updated version of the book releases, including some classic stories from the original edition and powerful new stories written to inspire a new generation to live like a Jesus Freak. Michael Tait, one of the members of dc Talk (now the lead singer of the Newsboys), and Dan Pitts, co-manager of the band, will tell us how the original book came about and how they saw it impact readers. They’ll also talk about how the ministry baton was passed in their own families, and the impact they hope to see from this new edition of a Christian classic.
God is at work in Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh! Even amidst the Covid pandemic, the gospel message is advancing among Rohingya people. But it’s not without cost; Rohingya Christians risk intense persecution. Dave and Pam lead Operation Mobilization’s work in western and central Asia, overseeing gospel workers reaching Muslims in multiple countries. They will share first-hand accounts of the gospel’s advance and the persecution Christ followers endure in their region of the world. They will also offer advice to Western Christians who want to build a bridge to Muslims living in their countries. It starts, they say, with simple things like hospitality and friendship. Dave and Pam also give listeners encouragement for seasons of struggle and discouragement. Finally, they will equip us to pray for God’s work in Muslim nations—including praying for our Christian brothers and sisters and praying for government leaders in those nations. November is a strategic time to pray for persecuted Christians as churches around the world commemorate the International Day of Prayer for Persecuted Christians. Download resources to help you and your church pray.
Dave and Pam lead Operation Mobilization’s work in western and central Asia, overseeing gospel workers reaching Muslims in multiple countries. Listen as they discuss their call to missions and how God led them to work among Muslims. They will also share how finishing the task of reaching the Muslim world for Christ will require a better understanding of risk—a theology of suffering that allows Christians to victoriously endure persecution. Dave will challenge us to think Biblically about reaching Muslims, to intentionally see them as people God loves and that Jesus died for, rather than allowing our vision to be influenced by media portrayals or geopolitical animosities. Fear is real, and Dave and Pam will talk about how it affects them, and practical ways to fight through fear and reach those around us for Christ.
Sean Paton leads VOM’s work on the continent of Africa, and he’ll share this week about significant changes in two African Countries: Sudan and Ethiopia. In Sudan, there are reasons for optimism after the Sovereign Council leading the country revoked the apostasy law, which required the death penalty for anyone who left Islam to follow another faith. Sean will share how Christians in Sudan say, “no one is looking” at the church right now. While that window is open, bold believers are working diligently to advance Christ’s Kingdom. The treatment of Christians is also changing in Ethiopia, but the trend is more persecution rather than less. Sean will help us understand some of the history of the church in Ethiopia, including how persecution is really a part of its DNA. He’ll also discuss different streams within the Christian community and how persecution is affecting each. Sean will share the story of specific brothers and sisters who’ve faced attacks, and how they’ve responded with love and forgiveness to persecution. He’ll also talk about how VOM is helping—including letting Christian leaders know that VOM will stand with their families if God calls them to lay down their lives for His service. Finally, he’ll talk about specific ways to pray for both Ethiopia and Sudan.
What does your church do to help new believers grow in their faith? Imagine how much more difficult it would be to disciple new Christians if you couldn’t meet together in person, or if they couldn’t admit openly that they were now following Christ for fear of persecution? “Brother Mark” works with Christians in 22 countries in North Africa and the Middle East, and he will tell us about the persecution faced by Christians in Muslim nations of that region. We’ll talk about the new reality in Sudan after the overthrow of Omar al Bashir and his Islamist regime. There is more freedom for Christians—but still threats against the church. What is the journey new Christians must make in order to be ready to face persecution and respond with forgiveness, love and hope? How is their identity, and their place in the culture, affected by their decision to follow Christ? Brother Mark has been with us before on VOM Radio; you can listen that episode here.
Al Shabaab is advancing in Northern Mozambique, attacking and killing Christians and others. Will Hart leads Iris Global, which works to share the gospel in 34 nations around the world. We’ll focus this week on Africa, and especially Mozambique, where radical Islamist terrorists are taking territory and targeting churches and Christians. Will also shares how God radically saved him and sent him to the nations. He’ll talk about overcoming fear as he and his wife went to minister in the Congo—at the time one of the most dangerous countries in the world. Listen to how God protected them, even providing elite military guards to watch over them in the country. He’ll also advise those sensing a call to missions and equip us to pray for the nation of Mozambique. Connect with Will and Iris Global through their web page, YouTube channel and Instagram.
Dr. Hormoz Shariat, the founder and president of Iran Alive Ministries, and his wife Donnell are back with us this week to finish our conversation about how God called them to share the gospel with 1,000,000 Iranians—a calling that grew out of a family tragedy and great loss. Hormoz will tell us he’s not a “natural” evangelist—he calls himself a shy nerd—but says God has given him strength and boldness to share the gospel. Listen as he describes getting laid off from his job and voted out by his church as blessings that unlocked the doorway to greater seasons of ministry. Hormoz will also share current needs of the church in Iran, equipping listeners to pray specifically for that country and for our brothers and sisters there. Hormoz’s new book, Iran’s Great Awakening: How God is Using a Muslim Convert to Spark Revival, released last week. As a VOM Radio listener, you can receive a complimentary copy when you make a donation of any size to Iran Alive Ministries. You can donate online, or donate on your smart phone by texting the word IGABook to 74784.
Dr. Hormoz Shariat was among thousands of Iranian Muslims marching in the streets of Tehran during the Islamic Revolution in 1979. Today, he’s “The Billy Graham of Iran” with a vision to reach one million Iranians for Jesus Christ. He tried Islam, but says it didn’t work to meet the needs of his heart and life. Hormoz’s wife, Donnell, was born in America, yet she too was marching in those streets after moving to Iran—and converting to Islam—to marry Hormoz. Today Hormoz leads Iran Alive Ministries, one of VOM’s partners in spreading the gospel to the people of Iran. Listen as Hormoz and Donnell tell the story of how God changed their hearts—and saved their marriage—through the love of Jesus and the faithful witness of His followers. Hormoz’s new book, Iran’s Great Awakening: How God is Using a Muslim Convert to Spark Revival, releases this week. As a VOM Radio listener, you can receive a complimentary copy when you make a donation of any size to Iran Alive Ministries. Donate online and request your copy here.
Joy Subasiguller has lived in Turkey for 10 years. She’s a pastor’s wife and the mother of three small children. In the eyes of Turkey’s government, she’s also a threat to national security! Her application for continued residency in Turkey has been denied, and Joy faces expulsion from the country. Joy’s husband, today the pastor of a Turkish church, was born into a Muslim family. Joy will share how he decided to leave Islam and follow Jesus Christ—and the persecution he endured for that decision. Listen to hear how God called Joy to missions, and to Turkey, and how He’s given her and her husband complete peace, even as they face complete upheaval in their life and ministry. Joy will update listeners on her court case as she seeks the overturn of the expulsion order and that she be allowed to remain in Turkey. She’ll suggest specific ways to pray for her and her family, and for the broader church in Turkey.
Dan Baumann and Pastor Andrew Brunson were arrested in Muslim nations because of their Christian faith. They both experienced depression and even thoughts of suicide in prison, yet testify that God was faithful even in those desperate moments. Listen as they share the challenges of prison and their thoughts on loving our enemies and how much they don’t miss being in prison. One of the things that helped Brunson during his time in prison was something Baumann had written in one of his books. He’ll share that story—and then hear how Dan responds to the idea that God used something he’d written to sustain and bless a fellow Christian during a season of suffering.
As a teenager in Cuba, “Maria” encountered the book Tortured For Christ, written by VOM’s founder, Pastor Richard Wurmbrand—when she was told to burn the books before Cuban authorities could find them and arrest her father! Today, Maria and her husband, “Pedro,” help VOM serve persecuted Christians in Cuba and other Latin American nations. Listen as they share a recent experience when Cuban authorities issued an arrest warrant for Pedro, and how Pedro and Maria experienced the prayers of Christians around the world in that time of pressure and trial. Listen also to learn how Cuban pastors are pressured by communist authorities, and whether or not anything changed for Cuban Christians after the death of Fidel Castro.
We’re trading chairs this week on VOM Radio! Todd Nettleton has a new book releasing March 2 from Moody Publishers: When Faith is Forbidden: 40 Days on the Frontlines With Persecuted Christians. So he’s in the guest chair this week, and Janet Parshall—nationally syndicated host of In The Market With Janet Parshall—has graciously agreed to fill in as our VOM Radio host for the week. Todd’s new book contains 40 of the most powerful and inspiring stories he’s heard in interviews with persecuted Christians over the past 20+ years. He’ll also share a little of how God brought him to work at VOM, including time as a missionary kid in Papua New Guinea. You can learn more about When Faith is Forbidden, including links to order your copy, at www.WhenFaithIsForbidden.com. In celebration of the book’s launch, we’ll offer the first two readings from the audio book version in the podcast stream next week. So be sure to subscribe to the VOM Radio podcast!
“Uncle Monnie” has worked alongside Chinese Christians for decades. He says the pressure and persecution Christians face there today is even worse than during the Cultural Revolution. Listen as Monnie shares about the changes he’s seen in China and the response of believers he’s trained to face persecution and continue to advance the gospel. Some of those Monnie helped train now serve Jesus in restricted Muslim nations in the Middle East and around the world. Learn how you can pray for Chinese Christians, and how persecution is teaching Christians from different backgrounds to work and minister side-by-side. Finally, Monnie will provide an update on current events in Myanmar.
“Brother Bennie” is back to talk about persecution of Christians in India, including the story of three close friends recently arrested for their evangelistic work. Hear how God worked during their time in prison—especially once they received a copy of the Bible. Bennie will talk about recent passage of anti-conversion laws in several Indian states, and how Christians and churches are affected by such laws. He says the India of today is dramatically different from the India he knew as a child, and even from how the nation was five or ten years ago. In addition to praying for India during the current coronavirus surge, Bennie will give listeners specific ways to pray for imprisoned Christians there, and for the nation as a whole.