Iran From Sufi To Christia

“I was really thirsty for God, hungry for God, to find who He is,” Pastor Amir Bazmjou says. “That’s why I became very fanatic Muslim.” Amir was born into a Shia Muslim family in Iran, and he grew into a very devout Muslim seeking to earn Allah’s favor. When Shia Islam couldn’t answer the desires of his heart for a relationship with Allah, he beca…read more

Nepal Choose To Be Joyful

“Pastor Chitria” has been arrested multiple times for his ministry work in Nepal. He says such treatment is an honor and a privilege! Pastor Chitria talks about preparing believers to stand strong in the face of Christian persecution. He says new Christians preparing for baptism must answer seven questions, including whether they are willing to lose their family, friends and even their freedom to stand for Christ. Hindus believe there are more than 330 million gods—yet radical Hindus in Nepal see Jesus as a great threat to their life and culture. Pastor Chitria shares one unique challenge Nepali Christians face when one of their fellow believers dies, and how it is used to pressure new believers to renounce their faith in Christ.

LIBYA: "Jesus Is Worth Dying For"

On December 5, 2013, Ronnie Smith was shot and killed in the Libyan city of Benghazi. In this second half of our interview with Anita Smith, Ronnie’s widow, she talks about the legacy her husband left and the faith she continues to exercise in raising their son without his earthly father around. Shortly after Ronnie’s death, Anita spoke in media interviews about her love for the Libyan people and about forgiving her husband’s murderers—including interviews in Arabic with Middle East broadcasters. Anita will share some of the things she wants their son to know about his earthly father, and ways God has encouraged and sustained her in the eight years since Ronnie’s murder. She’ll also talk about how the testimonies of other Christians facing persecution and hardship encouraged her faith.

Libya: She Forgave Her Husband's Killer

On December 5, 2013, Ronnie Smith was shot and killed in the Libyan city of Benghazi. Within days, Ronnie’s wife, Anita, spoke on national TV in the US about her love for the Libyan people and about forgiving her husband’s murderers. She also did interviews—in Arabic—that were broadcast all over the Middle East. Listen to Anita Smith share the story—the story of her grief, but also the story of how God was present in those days, and in the years since. She’ll talk about how God inspired her and Ronnie to pursue overseas gospel work—and how they prayed as they moved to Benghazi just months after the US consulate was overrun by Islamist fighters. She’ll tell how their neighbors welcomed and adopted them—and about the day she received the terrible phone call that Ronnie had been killed.

Christian Persecution Isn't Strange, But Sacred

Aaron Miller leads VOM’s work in the Middle East. Recently he spoke in a college chapel, including telling the story of an experience of persecution he endured in India. Aaron says even though the Bible promises Christians will face persecution, in that moment of suffering as he was punched and kicked he was surprised. But something else happened as well: he experienced God’s presence and grace in a significant and sacred way. “In a way that I never dreamed of, I had a fellowship with Christ that I did not have before,” he says of that day. Aaron also shares stories of persecuted Christians in Colombia, Bangladesh and the Middle East.

IDOP2021: Let's Pray Together for Persecuted Christians

oin us this week for a podcast concert of prayer on behalf of persecuted Christians around the world in commemoration of the International Day of Prayer for Persecuted Christians (IDOP). Leaders from among VOM’s international ministry regions will talk about specific prayer needs in their region of the world, then lead in prayer for persecuted brothers and sisters in those regions. Author John Weaver will lead a special time of prayer for Afghanistan and Christians there in light of the upheaval and transition that took place in that nation this year. Former prisoner for Christ Petr Jasek will lead in prayer specifically for Sudan in light of the recent coup.

SABINA MOVIE: The Heart of the Gospel is Forgiveness

John Grooters is the director of a new movie portraying the marriage, choice to become Christians and early persecution of VOM's founders, Richard and Sabina Wurmbrand—told through the eyes of Sabina. SABINA: Tortured For Christ, The Nazi Years will screen in more than 800 theaters in the US for three days only – November 8, 9 and 10. Buy tickets here. Grooters also directed Tortured For Christ – The Movie, which portrayed how the Wurmbrands were persecuted under communists in Romania. SABINA is a prequel to the first film, telling an earlier part of the Wurmbrands’ story, including their persecution—and how they blessed—Nazi forces that occupied their nation. Listen as John talks about the challenge of making a film in the Wurmbrands’ native Romania in the midst of a worldwide Covid-19 pandemic. John will also share how God’s hand was on the production, including filming the scene of Richard’s baptism in the very room where it happened! You’ll hear how Richard and Sabina’s faith has impacted Grooters as he spent five years deeply connected to their story as he created two films, and how he hopes it will impact the faith of viewers around the US and all over the world.

CENTRAL ASIA: Pastor's Murderer Becomes His "Spiritual Grandson"

Jonathan Ekman and Matthew Hanson recently visited persecuted Christians in Central Asia—Christians caught between a growing wave of radical Islam and governments with a communist-style distrust of all religion. Matthew and Jonathan will share stories from believers they met. Listen to hear “the rest of the story” of one of the chapters in When Faith Is Forbidden (VOM Radio host Todd Nettleton’s book), including how God has built on the legacy of a martyred pastor in Tajikistan. They’ll also share the story of a woman who faced intense persecution from her own family, yet has seen God take her suffering and create something “beautiful.” Christians in Central Asia don’t have protection from their governments or from families. Yet the church is growing across the region as more and more people experience the spiritual family of followers of Jesus. You can receive a free copy of When Faith is Forbidden when you make a donation to The Voice of the Martyrs.

REACHING MUSLIMS: "The Prize To Be Won"

How long was it from the time you heard Jesus died, until you knew that He rose again? What did you feel in that interim? Grief? Loss? Defeat? And what did it mean when you knew that He did rise again? “Brother Stephen” has worked with Operation Mobilization for many years sharing the gospel among Muslims, including nomadic peoples in the Middle East. He has told the story of Jesus to people who had never heard it before! Listen for the story of how one woman responded to Jesus’ death. Brother Stephen will share how God called him to missions, and advise those feeling a call to missionary service today. He challenges us to see Muslims not as an enemy to be defeated, but as a prize to be won for Christ. He’ll also share about Muslims making the decision to follow Christ and the price they often pay for that decision. How can Christians living in free nations reach out to Muslims they know or work with? How can we pray for gospel work among Muslims?

IRAN:Remembering Martyrs, Ministering Today

Rashin Soodmand was 13 years old when Iran’s government executed her father, Pastor Hossein Soodmand, and buried him in an unmarked grave in a part of the cemetery reserved for “the cursed.” But killing this faithful pastor didn’t erase his legacy or stop the growth of the church in Iran. Her father wasn’t the only martyr of the persecuted Iranian church that Rashin knew well. In this second part of our conversation, Rashin shares things she remembers about other martyrs she knew personally: Haik Hovsepian, who preached at her father’s funeral; Mehdi Dibaj, who encouraged her to attend Bible school; and Pastor Mohammad “Ravanbakhsh” Yusefi.

IRAN: MARTYR'S DAUGHTER SAYS"THEY COULDN'T STOP MY FATHER"

Rashin Soodmand was 13 years old when her father, Pastor Hossein Soodmand, was executed in Iran for the crime of apostasy. Rashin remembers that day as a strange mix of sadness and joy as she, her family and members of their church dealt with the loss of Pastor Soodmand while at the same time celebrating his life and the fact that he had stood boldly in the face of Christian persecution and threats. Rashin will tell how church leaders encouraged Pastor Hossein to leave Iran and go somewhere safer. He refused; he knew that for him to flee would discourage the hearts of his congregation. She’ll describe the man she knew—a man who genuinely loved people, both Christians and Muslims—and tell of the last time she saw her dad.

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