Tortured For Christ

Pastor Richard Wurmbrand, author of 18 books, was a Romanian Christian Minister of Jewish descent who had the misfortune of growing up during a time of severe anti-Semitism in Communist Romania. Pastor Wurmbrand had publicly declared that Christianity and Communism were incompatible, and thus Pastor Wurmbrand was tortured mercilessly and imprisoned for 14 years for his beliefs; his wife Sabina was imprisoned for three years. One of the many trials he had to endure during this time period was spending three of those years in solitary confinement in a cell 12 feet underground, with no light. He slept during the day and stayed awake at night,  exercising his mind and soul by composing sermons which he would deliver in his cell (about 350 of those sermons are in his book, With God in Solitary Confinement).

During the 14 year time frame, Pastor Wurmbrand was able to tap out Morse code on the walls to other prisoners. Through their conversations, it was revealed that he and some of the other prisoners had a vision of Jesus visiting them in their cell. The pastor remembered, “We didn’t see that we were in prison. We were surrounded by angels; we were with God. We no longer believed about God and Christ and angels because Bible verses said it; we didn’t remember Bible verses anymore. We remembered about God because we experienced it. With great humility we can say with the apostles, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have heard with our ears, what we have touched with our own fingers, this we tell to you.”

In 1964, Pastor Wurmbrand was granted amnesty when the Norwegian Mission to the Jews and the Hebrew Christian Alliance made an agreement with Communist authorities to release him from prison for $10,000.00.  His friends urged him and his wife Sabina to leave Romania, which had proven to be too dangerous for them to live in. They emigrated to Norway, then England and finally America where they continued the call on their life and dedicated themselves to serve God and help support the persecuted Church world-wide. In 1966, in Washington D.C., Pastor Wurmbrand testified before the U.S. Senate’s Internal Security Subcommittee, where he removed his shirt before T.V. cameras and all those present to bear witness to the scars of his torture. This daring act resulted in his public popularity growing and he became known as “The Voice of the Underground Church”, as he continued to denounce the persecution of Christians in Communist countries (He had also compiled circumstantial evidence revealing that Marx was a Satanist.) In 1967, the Wurmbrand’s created their organization and named it Jesus to the Communist World, which was later renamed The Voice of the Martyrs.

Cruel and Inhuman Treatment
The Voice of the Martyrs has the enormously difficult task of aiding the persecuted church of Jesus Christ around the world. Their mission field is in many nations, one of which is Khazakhstan, who has recently enacted two new laws that put additional restraint upon religious freedom. The first law requires every church to re-register with the government, and only those that meet the strict critical criteria are approved to do so. The law also bans unregistered religious activity, enforces greater religious censorship and requires the approval of both the central and local governments to build or open new facilities. The second law amends nine existing laws and legal provisions, one of which forbids children to attend religious services without parental consent. This is just one example of governments worldwide that are enacting legislation to confine or completely outlaw freedom of religion. And as most of us are aware, this is not the only form of oppression; there are other more insidious practices of mental torment, violence, torture and death. For example, in Buddhist Burma (Myanmar), military soldiers recently attacked Christian civilians and burned church property. Five Christian leaders were tortured before they were finally released, only to find their homes in flames. These attacks have become a common occurrence against the minority Christians of Burma.  Somalia’s extremist group, Al-Shabab, is determined to rid the country of Christianity and all Western influence. Al-Shabab, an Al-Qaida linked terrorist group, imposes strict Muslim Sharia law within certain areas of Somalia where it has gained control from government intervention. They commit crimes against humanity with their expertise in suicide bombings and the slaughtering of civilians, especially Christians.

Guled Jama Muktar was a victim of Al-Shabab because his family held secret Bible studies in their home. One day while his parents were out, Guled, aged 17, was attacked and beheaded by this terrorist group. When his parents returned home and found the horror that awaited them, they quickly buried their son and fled in fear of their lives. They contacted The Voice of the Martyrs to tell them what had happened and they haven’t been seen or heard from since. A more popularized story that has circulated among the Western Christian community is that of Asia Bibi, an illiterate farm worker and mother of five, who has been accused of blasphemy against Islam. The crime of blasphemy is punishable by death in Pakistan, and so Bibi is awaiting her hanging. She is being held in a tiny, dark and filthy cell that is infested with vermin and mosquitoes and she is being forced to eat whatever her captors provide. A price of $6,000.00 (U.S.) has been placed on her head by an Islamic cleric, Maulana Yousef Qureshi, in the event that for some reason Bibi is pardoned of her crime and released from prison. Two Pakistani politicians have been killed for supporting Bibi and speaking out against the Blasphemy Law. Others have also been killed because of a backlash of rage that was incited by the case of Asia Bibi. The Western world has been praying and speaking out for her release, but so far it has fallen on deaf ears. Bibi truly needs a miracle of divine intervention. If nothing is done soon, she is expected to die from the repulsively unhealthy conditions of the cell that entombs her.

A Clarion Call to the Church
The Voice of the Martyrs works vigorously to aid the persecuted church in these critical times. They are in need of prayers, volunteers and money to assist in fulfilling the call God has placed upon them. They serve as a voice for our brothers and sisters in the Lord whose voices are being stifled. There are many ways we can help in these situations, but first and foremost is that we pray for Divine intervention and seek the leading of the Lord in all matters concerning His persecuted church. We may also write letters to prisoners which will be translated into their language and pray them and their families. We must also speak out against the persecution of Christians worldwide, and for our sisters who are being abducted, raped, sold into sexual slavery, or forced into conversion and marriage. Prayers should include lifting up the children and elderly who are often the most vulnerable when being forced to live under extreme conditions. We should ask our heavenly Father to provide sustenance and shelter for His chosen ones. The Voice of the Martyrs provides medical assistance, food, clothing and other types of aid to the persecuted church. They also supply Bibles, other Christian literature, radios and evangelistic tools. Another interesting thing that the Life does is that it fills parachutes with Bibles and other Christian literature, and a radio turned on and pre-set to a Christian station and releases them over drop-spots where our brothers and sisters can retrieve them. The Life also provides a voice for the persecuted church by sharing their testimonies with the Western world.

The Life of The Voice of the Martyrs is based on Hebrews 13:3 which says: “Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.” If one person in the body of Christ is being negatively affected, then we are all being negatively affected. Let’s stand with The Voice of the Martyrs and similar organizations, lift our voices in prayer and petition to help our brothers and sisters around the world.
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Marisa can be reached at [email protected]

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