Wednesday, April 25, 2012
My name may be unfamiliar to you, but I have served VOM as Chief Operating Officer for nearly 13 years and have served as both COO and President for the past five years. In addition, I served as a U.S. Marine Corps helicopter pilot in Vietnam and retired with the rank of Colonel. I am humbled and honored to serve at VOM.
My first overseas trip with VOM was as part of a ministry team delivering Christmas Care packages in Egypt. Since that time, I’ve had the privilege of meeting with and delivering your aid to our persecuted brothers and sisters in many nations where Christians face persecution.
Overseeing an organization with the scope and reach of VOM involves many challenges, but the joy and gratitude expressed on the faces of our courageous persecuted family always remind me of how privileged I am to share in this great work.
God has blessed VOM with a dedicated team of workers and leaders, and I am grateful to be part of this leadership. I’ve never been the “public face” of VOM and probably never will be. We have relied on many others to fulfill that role, including our late Executive Director, Dr. Tom White, which unfortunately brings me to the purpose of this letter.
No day in the history of my work at VOM has been more difficult than Wednesday, April 18th. That morning, we learned that Tom had taken his own life. Like everyone on our team, and probably like you, my first question was, “Why?”
We don’t have all the answers to that question, and we never will this side of eternity. But we do know some of the events that led up to his tragic death.
The day before, allegations were made to authorities that Tom had inappropriate contact with a young girl. I personally believe that rather than face those allegations and the resulting fallout for his family and this ministry, Tom chose to end his life.
No one in leadership at VOM was aware of the allegations at the time of Tom’s death.
There is no doubt that Tom deeply loved his wife, his children and his grandchildren. And there’s no doubt that he was passionate about serving the persecuted church. As one of our directors stated, “He truly was a voice for the martyrs.”
All of us at VOM are deeply saddened by these events. Our hearts are broken. Yet God has called us to continue his work of standing with persecuted Christians around the world.
In serving alongside Tom for more than a decade as a ministry leader and friend, I am honored to have seen the work that God performed through Tom and through VOM. Our friendship and close working relationship make his death and the circumstances very hard. Yet my loss is small compared with the loss Tom’s family is now feeling. Our hearts and our prayers go out to them, and I know that you will want to pray with me that “The God of all comfort” (2 Cor. 1:3) will be their Rock during these difficult days.
The work God has called VOM to fulfill — originally through the vision of Pastor Richard Wurmbrand in a Romanian prison cell — is much bigger than any one person. God has done an amazing work over the past 45 years in establishing this ministry to stand with those who are persecuted for their faith.
None of this could have been accomplished without our faithful friends who, led of the Spirit, encourage us, pray for us and contribute generously to support this work.
VOM has always been a ministry that relies on God moving His people to help the persecuted church. From the beginning, Pastor Wurmbrand traveled widely to spread the stories of the persecuted church, and people gave. We will continue to follow the model he established by freely sharing the stories of persecuted Christians and supporting them in their suffering.
We are continually humbled by the faithfulness of our readers who support this work. In effect, this is your ministry and we are merely God’s facilitators. We thank you for all the encouraging notes we have received in the past week; they have been a blessing beyond measure.
There are many exciting opportunities ahead. With God’s help, we will continue expanding our ministry to serve those who are persecuted and to make their voices heard. We do not know why or when tragedy will fall, but we do know that God is in control and desires us to be in fellowship with His persecuted body (Phil. 3:10).
On behalf of those who are suffering for their faith and my co-workers here at The Voice of the Martyrs, I thank you for standing with us during this difficult time and humbly seek your ongoing prayers.
James E. Dau
The Voice of the Martyrs
Posted: April 25, 2012
Updated: July 25, 2012