A dial with the words, "Mitigation," "Preparedness," "Response," and "Recovery"
A dial with the words, "Mitigation," "Preparedness," "Response," and "Recovery"

The Martyrs' Pleas – Part Two
How Should We Respond?

Pastor Geng Zejun was sentenced to 15 months in prison for “organizing illegal gatherings.” Despite opposition from Chinese Communist Party officials, the congregation led by Pastor Geng refused to join the government-controlled Three-Self Patriotic Movement and thus the church was deemed illegal.

A message in a bottle on the beach
A message in a bottle on the beach

The Martyrs' Pleas

“Now I have delivered the message from the faithful, martyred church – from
your brothers and sisters suffering in the bonds of atheistic communism and
under attack across the world from Indonesia to Africa. Don’t abandon them.”

~ Pastor Richard Wurmbrand (1909 - 2001)

Richard Wurmbrand

When Pastor Wurmbrand and his family were ransomed out of Communist Romania, underground church leaders instructed him to deliver a message to Christians living in the free world. It aptly conveyed their clear and straightforward pleas, those that Pastor Wurmbrand personified, for he himself had survived years of cruel persecution because of his allegiance to Christ.

A map of the world with a cross overlay
Hiker in the mountains

Set Like Flint

“There is only one thing needful. And there is only today in
which to do it. Do it. Then do it again. And again. Persistently.
Not mindlessly, but with all the exuberance of an encore.”
Eugene Peterson

On May 14th, 2022, Payton S. Gendron approached the Tops Friendly Supermarket in a predominantly African American neighbourhood of Buffalo, New York. At around 2:30 p.m., the 18-year-old opened fire on four shoppers in the parking lot, killing three of them. Upon entering the store, the teen shot another eight people, six of whom were fatally injured. He then shot a security guard who had attempted to stop him. The guard later died of his wounds. Police officers were eventually able to convince Gendron to surrender his weapons before arresting him. In his rampage, the young gunman senselessly killed a total of ten people and injured three others. Among the 13 victims, 11 were African American, leaving no doubt that this was a racially motivated attack.

A map of the world with a cross overlay
A map of the world with a cross overlay

Praying for Christians in the Western World

Pray that those with religious freedom will understand what it
means to suffer with other members of the worldwide church.

“If one member suffers, all suffer together;
if one member is honoured, all rejoice together.”
1 Corinthians 12:26 ESV

One of the more profound interactions I have experienced with persecuted Christians is when they ask how they can pray for the church in Canada. On the one hand, their offer to pray for Canadians is humbling since VOMC’s supporters have entrusted us to help them. This turning of the tables serves as a reminder that all the help VOMC can offer pales in comparison to the sufficiency of Christ in any circumstance. But, on the other hand, it is encouraging to witness and experience how members within the body of Christ are meant to interactively function together. The Bible calls these interactions “fellowship,” an important aspect of Christianity that many persecuted believers evidently comprehend.

Man praying with shadows of prison bars cast over him
Man praying with shadows of prison bars cast over him

Praying for our Persecutors

 "Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them."
Romans 12:14 ESV

I once played in a full-body contact church hockey league, and when it came to dominance on the ice, there was no turning the other cheek. I still remember a game where I was blindsided by a body check that occurred well after the play. It was a dirty hit and, adding to my aggravation, the referee didn't see the infraction. As I picked myself off the ice, set on retaliation, a teammate grabbed me and said: "Be smart, don't get a retaliatory penalty; but it was No. 14 who hit you." From that moment on, every time No. 14 received the puck, I was there and would deliver a hard but clean hit. I didn't care if we won the game, as long as No. 14 spent most of it on his backside.

Open Bible on a rock; water with the reflection of the sun in the background
Boy praying in rice fields of Thailand

Strengthened Through the Prayers of the Saints

"But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. Be merciful to those who doubt; save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear – hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh. To Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy – to the only God our Saviour be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen."
Jude 20-25 ESV

Regular persistent prayer is essential whenever engaging in spiritual warfare. Christians dare not fight the forces of evil in their own strength, but rather should depend upon the Holy Spirit’s empowerment and leading in the activity of effective prayer. On behalf of the saints, the Spirit enhances these prayers to the Father in a language far beyond the expression of human words. Intercession on behalf of persecuted Christians ascends to God’s throne of grace, carried by the Holy Spirit, for the strengthening of all who suffer for righteousness.