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.

Pastor Wurmbrand came to the West and began to raise his voice on behalf of Christians languishing in Communist lands. He implored Western Christians to remember the persecuted church and to hear the cries of their suffering brothers and sisters in Christ. Their pleas to fellow believers living with religious freedom included:

  • “Don’t abandon us!”
  • “Don’t forget us!”
  • “Don’t write us off!”
  • “Give us the tools we need! We will pay the price for using them!”1

Hebrews 13:3 Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body (ESV).became the Scripture verse Pastor Wurmbrand recited when sharing this message. He believed this verse best expressed the responsibility Christians living in the free world needed to incorporate into their lives. A healthy human body doesn’t naturally abandon, forget or write itself off. Therefore, the body of Christ must not cause itself harm by neglecting those members who suffer for righteousness.

Yet, that was yesterday’s message during a time when communism dominated global headlines concerning religious restrictions and human rights violations. Are the martyrs’ pleas the same today? The short answer is "yes.” Though the actors have changed, the core message remains unchanged. Today, Christians in many countries globally suffer under the power structures of those whose religious ideologies consider Christianity intolerable to their opposing worldviews. And so, as the cries of faithful Christian witnesses (martyrs) persist, believers like us  – who are living in relative freedom, security and opportunity – must tend to our suffering brothers and sisters in Christ and be ready to act on their behalf as they mourn.

Persecuted believers worshipping

With the astonishing and phenomenal development of communications technologies since the days of Communist aggression, we Western Christians have no viable excuses for not hearing the martyrs’ pleas. Today, several organizations make known the persecution of Christians with greater regularity, authenticity and magnitude. And while this can be a positive step in remembering and serving the persecuted church, there is an inherent danger that the martyrs’ message may get lost in the news cycle of our persecution reports. By this, I mean that sometimes we can become so engrossed with the injustices of persecution that we miss these believers’ testimonies of enduring faith.

Every Christian organization that labours on behalf of the persecuted church bears the responsibility to accurately recount, without manipulation or exaggeration, the testimonies of persecuted Christians. We can never forget that the subject of persecution deals with the actual experiences of real people – our brothers and sisters in Christ who are created in the image of God and strive to live for His glory. If we were to only focus on the horrors of persecution, it would be easy to develop a hatred towards the persecutors and try to solve all the problems they perpetrate. However, persecution is not a crisis for which we seek solutions, as when dealing with critical humanitarian issues such as poverty, hunger, orphan care, etc. While the Bible does give us appropriate instructions on combating the humanitarian predicaments of today, the instructions for dealing with persecution are much different.

I will address how we should respond to the cries of our persecuted family in my next blog. But first, we must be able and willing to hear their pleas. The ability is available, as I have already stated. However, the willingness to listen to the martyrs’ pleas is to ascend to a higher plane from where serving the persecuted becomes the process through which we all grow together both spiritually and relationally. (To access more information on the martyrs’ appeals, and learn how you can come alongside to assist them, check out VOMCanada.com/engage.)

Pastor Terry Bone wrote: “Spending time with my persecuted friends has shone a light on my own inconsistencies. The challenge for me is to turn this self-awareness into a motivation for change. Richard Wurmbrand told us that every circumstance, from the smallest annoyance to the worst torture, can be offered to the Lord as a personal love offering. Doing so breathes meaning and eternal value into the trivial and the traumatic.”2

The martyrs’ pleas continue today. Can you hear their earnest, heartfelt cries?

I pray that as you do, you will be further encouraged to collectively join fellow members of Christ’s body in eagerly tending to the cries of the righteous.

Signature - ''Floyd''

Floyd A. Brobbel
Chief Executive Officer
The Voice of the Martyrs Canada Inc.


1 Wurmbrand, Richard. Tortured for Christ: 50th Anniversary Edition. Cook, 2017. p. 162.
2 The Voice of the Martyrs Canada. From Under the Altar. Genesis Publishing Group, 2022. p. 77.

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