Last week Luke and Kate, medical gospel workers who’ve served in Myanmar, shared how God called them to Myanmar to share the hope of Christ. This week, in Part 2 of our conversation, they reveal the loss and devastation their family experienced as they were forced to leave the place God had so clearly called them to. “It was devastating,” Kate says, “and we still sometimes have to process through that again.” While returning to their village home is not an option right now, Luke and Kate are clear that the Lord has not released them from their calling to the people of Myanmar. Listen as they talk about wrestling with what God’s will is, and how they have walked through this disappointment and displacement alongside their children. They’ll also offer advice for others feeling a call to serve as missionaries or other overseas ministry service. Though there has been deep grief in leaving their home, there has also been joy. Since Luke and Kate left Myanmar, three people in their village have been baptized as new believers. They are thrilled to see local believers taking the reigns of ministry and leading others to Christ. Please pray for Luke, Kate and their family as they consider two opportunities—outside the country—where they could continue to serve the people of Myanmar. The Bible commands us to remember those in prison as if we were with them (Hebrews 13:3). Please pray for freedom for Dr. Kiflu Gebremeskel and Pastor Haile Nayzgi, two pastors in prison in Eritrea. May 23rd, 2024, marks the 20th anniversary of their arrest in Asmara. Pray also for the release of 350+ other Christians imprisoned in Eritrea right now—including more than 80 arrested so far in 2024. Speak out and share their story with others who will stand with these persecuted Christians in prayer. Never miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe to the podcast. Or you can listen each week—and get reminders to pray for persecuted Christians—in the VOM App for your smartphone or tablet.

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Luke and Kate had both felt God’s call to missions. But they were still waiting to know where that call would take them. They went through training. They travelled to serve in different countries. And all the while, they asked God where he wanted to send them long-term. His answer finally arrived after a 12-hour bus ride to a rural village in Myanmar where there were no other foreigners. Kate and Luke both felt it clearly: “This is it. This is home. This is where I want you.” God put a deep love for the local people in their hearts. Their calling was confirmed when a village elder asked them to stay and serve with their medical skills. That clear sense of God’s calling would prove vital in helping them stand firm in serving through challenges, Christian persecution and even the 2021 coup. In Myanmar (formerly Burma), each person’s religion is printed on their ID card, and it is illegal to change one’s religion. It’s illegal for a Buddhist woman to marry a man from another religion. Ethnic divisions are baked into everyday life as each person is expected to look out primarily for their own people. In the midst of that challenging environment, listen to how Luke and Kate shared the gospel and how Jesus brought people from different ethnic and tribal groups together as fellow members of the Body of Christ as their house church includes four different ethnic groups unified in Christ. Luke and Kate also share the story of a Buddhist background believer who was severely persecuted by her own mother, but endured faithfully and eventually led her mother to Christ. They’ll also share how they talk about persecution while sharing the gospel so that those who respond and become new believers are ready to count the cost of following Christ. Pray for followers of Jesus in Myanmar and for Luke, Kate and their family. Never miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe to the podcast. Or you can listen each week—and get reminders to pray for persecuted Christians—in the VOM App for your smartphone or tablet.

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Brother Job thought it would be just another day. He was walking to work at a church in North Africa when he was accosted by four men with knives. The terrorists forced him into a vehicle and drove him away. “It’s my last day on this earth,” Job thought to himself. Growing up in a Muslim family in North Africa, Job knew there would be persecution when he left Islam to follow Jesus. He came to faith—along with other members of his family—after seeing a satellite TV program where a former Muslim from Morocco named Brother Rachid answers the questions of Muslims and points them to Jesus. (Hear more about Brother Rachid’s testimony and ministry in this episode of VOM Radio.) After coming to Christ, Job felt a passion and calling to tell others about Jesus. He became involved in church ministry, including media ministry. He knew there were risks, yet he boldly put his own face and testimony online. Angry Muslims saw him as a traitor and an apostate. Kidnapped by terrorists, held at knife point with a hood over his head, Job believed he would soon be killed. He was at peace with losing his own life, but was concerned about his wife and young children who would be left behind. Who would care for them? Thankfully, the terrorists did not kill Brother Job, but released him. But his trials were not over. Reporting his kidnapping to local police, Job was treated as a criminal instead of a true crime victim. He was interrogated repeatedly about why he’d left Islam and become a Christian. He took advantage of the opportunity to boldly share his testimony and explain the gospel message—right in the police station, with 20 officers listening. Whether kidnapped by terrorists or interrogated by angry police officers, Job says, “I never felt alone.” Listen to Brother Job recount his kidnapping and the lessons God taught him through his first-hand Christian persecution experience. Today Job prepares new believers with the understanding that persecution is to be expected in the life of a Christian. He will also help us pray for persecuted Christians in North Africa. Never miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe to the podcast. Or you can listen each week—and get daily prayer reminders—in the VOM App for your smartphone or tablet.

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There are 500,000 evangelical churches in Latin America, but only 6% of Latino congregations are involved in missions. As executive director of COMHINA, and in his previous work with Operation Mobilization Latin America, Brother Julio wants to increase that percentage! He desires to bring about collaboration between churches and missionary organizations to equip and send out Latino missionaries. Listen for the story of Julio’s own call to missions while living and working in Japan, and how he returned to Brazil and ended up working with and training workers for OM. Hear also how God eventually called Julio and his family to the United States to inspire and commission Spanish-speakers for international cross cultural gospel work through COMHINA, a network of churches and mission organizations. He says that as Latinos are trained and informed about unreached people groups who’ve never heard about Christ, they encounter God and ready to go on mission for Him. Julio has sent many to be witnesses in restricted nations and hostile areas. Listen for the story of how one man used soccer to open doors for ministry in Afghanistan, and how a church leader in Iran told Julio not to feel sorry for persecuted Christians. As Julio sends workers to the harvest, persecution is a reality. “If people pass through those situations,” he says, “they will experience God’s grace in ways that we cannot even train someone on.” Living for Christ in restricted and hostile nations comes with risks, yet the grace of God is ever present with the persecuted church. You can learn more about Julio’s work sending out Spanish-speaking mission workers at the web sites for COMHINA and COMIBAM. Never miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe to the podcast. Or you can listen each week—and get daily prayer reminders—in the VOM App for your smartphone or tablet.

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A Christian and pastor from Central Asia, Brother Silas constantly interacts with Muslims. He says many are seeking truth and looking for answers to their deepest spiritual questions. Brother Silas and Tom Houser, executive director for People International, share this week what new Christians in Central Asian nations—including Muslim background believers—experience when they become followers of Jesus. “The moment you make that decision,” says Silas, “you will be oppressed on every side.” Persecution follows those who come to Christ in Central Asian nations like Türkiye, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Azerbaijan. The persecution may come from different sources: the government, their parents, relatives, neighbors, or the broader community. Persecuted Christians face isolation, broken friendships and being targeted by police or other authorities. Silas shares some of his own experience as a persecuted Christian, and the encouragement he found in knowing other Christians were praying for him and that he was not alone. Organizations like People International and The Voice of the Martyrs, which take time to sit with persecuted Christians and know what they really need, bring encouragement as they share that others around the world—like VOM Radio listeners—are praying for our persecuted brothers and sisters. Hear how we can reach our Muslim neighbors, coworkers, and friends for Christ. Tom will also share more about People International’s mission to be present where there is no church presence and what leaders of the group have learned in more than forty years of ministry. Also hear how social media, broadcasting and other evangelism tools are reaching people in Central Asia. And learn how you can pray for the people of Central Asia to know Christ, and for the persecuted church in these nations. Listen here to Silas’ testimony of coming to faith and the persecution he faced as a new Christian. Never miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe to the podcast. Or listen each week—and get daily prayer reminders—in the VOM App for your smartphone or tablet.

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Many Muslims are ready to hear the gospel and experience the love of Jesus Christ. For more than two decades Peter Smith has prayed for the nation of Iran and connected with ministries reaching people and supporting persecuted Christians in the nation he and his wife “adopted.” Seeing the gospel go forth in the Middle East reminds Peter of the good soil that produced 30, 60 and 100-fold harvests in Jesus’ Matthew 13 parable. Persecution is rising in restricted nations across the Middle East; despite that risk, more Muslims are becoming followers of Christ. Listen as Peter shares the stories of how God worked in the heart of an Uber driver and a divorced woman. “When you adopt a country,” Peter says, “sooner or later you get to adopt the people.” Peter’s wife also has an international ministry—from their home in the United States. She asks the Lord each day for divine appointments and looks for gospel opportunities at the grocery store, in her neighborhood and wherever else the day takes her. Hear how she’s had gospel conversations with women from 54 different countries. Learn how you can pray specifically for Christians in Iran and across the Middle East as Peter shares what current events mean for Christians there and how to pray for what God is already doing. Go to TheRealStoryOfJesus.com to see one resource people are using to share the gospel in the Middle East—a resource also available in English. Hear the story of Peter “adopting” the nation of Iran during his first visit with VOM Radio. Never miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe to the podcast. Or you can listen each week—and get daily prayer reminders—in the VOM App for your smartphone or tablet.

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Last week, Brother Kevin shared how he came to Christ and how God gave him a passion to reach the 13 million Hui people in China. For members of this people group, to be Hui is to be Muslim. Those who become Christians are considered traitors, bringing shame to their family. Hui Christians face social, psychological, and sometimes financial persecution, typically enforced by members of their own family. They may lose their job, be kicked out of the family home, and even renounced as a member of the family. Kevin came to see the communist authorities as ordinary people doing their jobs and providing for their families. He intentionally chose to see police and other authorities as worthy of his respect and compassion. When Xi Jinping ascended to the leadership of the Communist Party and the Chinese nation, things changed. By 2017, most foreigners were having a hard time renewing visas. By 2018, hardly any foreign gospel workers were able to remain in China. Members of Muslim minorities—including the Hui and the Uyghurs—received “reeducation” enforced by the government. Listen as Kevin shares how his family’s ministry in China ended and how tension grew during their final weeks in country as authorities searched for legal reasons to detain or deport Kevin and his family, including a late-night drive to the airport. Choosing to focus on God’s sovereignty allowed Kevin to shepherd his family and others struggling with their forced departure. Gospel outreach to the Hui did not end with foreign missionaries being kicked out of China. Today they are reached through social media gospel outreach and multifaceted church planting by local Han Chinese believers as well as Christians from non-Western countries. Pray for the Lord to continue moving among the Hui through dreams, visions and divine appointments with followers of Christ. Pray for Chinese brothers and sisters to boldly preach the cross and to prepare new Christians for persecution. Richard and Jeannette had a similar experience in China as Kevin’s family, yet Richard found himself detained by the authorities. Listen to their story. Never miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe to the podcast. Or you can listen each week—and get daily prayer reminders—in the VOM App for your smartphone or tablet. April is Bible month at VOM! Please consider giving online to help deliver Bibles to Christians living in restricted nations and hostile areas.

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Within two months of Brother Kevin and his wife beginning gospel work in India, more than a thousand people had come to Christ! The fruit of the gospel was immediate. Local missions leaders asked them to stay on and help disciple these new believers. They saw the opportunity, and the incredible growth of the ministry. But Kevin couldn’t dismiss an urge to visit China before agreeing to stay and minister in India. It was on that first visit to China that Kevin was asked a question which would change his life and guide his mission efforts going forward: “Have you heard of the Hui people?” Kevin and his wife had not heard of the Hui, and they began to ask questions about this mostly-Muslim unreached people group of 13 million people. They were told that, in the area they were passing through, the Hui people had no church, no missionaries, and that there was no church or organization committed to sharing the gospel with them. “That’s when we felt the call.” Kevin says now. Today Kevin and his wife have spent more than a decade living among and serving the Hui people. Listen as Kevin shares his testimony of coming to Christ as a young adult, and about his calling to be a missionary in a restricted nation where Christian persecution is common and fierce. Kevin opens up about some of the struggles they faced as cross cultural gospel workers, and how their clear calling from God kept them in obedience to Him. Be sure to listen next week as Kevin shares more about their work in China and how they experienced a sudden forced ending to that chapter of their ministry. Never miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe to the podcast. Or you can listen each week—and get daily reminders to pray for the persecuted church—in the VOM App for your smartphone or tablet.

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“For us, it’s not AWANA, it’s ‘Can we disciple one more child?’” Gajendra Tamang is the Regional Director of AWANA in South Asia, coming alongside pastors and local churches to help reach and disciple children from many different religious backgrounds. Gajendra knows first-hand how a life can be changed through a simple invitation to a Christian activity. He came to faith while attending college in India, where a Christian classmate invited Gajendra to come to church with him every Sunday for a year. Finally Gajendra decided to see why his classmate loved going to church. He didn’t understand everything being said, but he loved the music, and a few months later he came to know Jesus as Savior and Lord. As seminary students Gajendra and his wife were recruited to serve as AWANA volunteers. They continued serving in AWANA throughout their seminary training. After graduation the couple became AWANA missionaries, and today they are tasked with training volunteer leaders to help serve in local churches in India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. In most AWANA groups in South Asia, 20 to 25% of the children come from non-Christian homes, including Hindus, Muslims and Buddhists. Some parents restrict their children from coming after they learn that Bible stories are being shared, while others accept the care and blessing their child receives even though it is coming from Christians. Gajendra will help us understand and pray for the training process to equip more leaders and ultimately to tell more children about Jesus. Listen for the story of an entire family coming to Christ through one child’s prayer for healing and learn how you can pray for the salvation of the next generation—and their parents—in South Asia. Pray for more AWANA leaders willing to be disciple makers on the front lines and for believers and local churches facing persecution for their faith in Christ. Never miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe to the podcast. Or you can listen each week—and get daily prayer reminders—in the VOM App for your smartphone or tablet.

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Fidel Castro, leader of Cuba’s communist revolution, died in 2016. But has Castro’s death changed the level of Christian persecution in Cuba? “No difference at all,” Pastor Mateo, a church leader in Cuba, says emphatically. The Cuban government attempts to restrain the gospel in many ways. Yet despite persecution, the church in Cuba is growing—stretching beyond buildings and homes and gathering on the streets and in open fields to pray and worship and share the gospel. Listen as Pastor Mateo shares the many restrictions Cuba’s communist leaders enforce on pastors, church buildings, ministry efforts and families. Even pastors’ children become targets for persecution because of their parents’ ministry. But government efforts to curtail church growth are failing as the church continues to multiply. Large events in Cuba are bringing together thousands of believers for prayer and fellowship. Mateo reminds us, “In Matthew 16, Jesus says, ‘the gates of hell will not prevail against the church.’” Cuban Christians are experiencing the reality of Jesus’ promise. “You will never be able to stop the movements of the church.” Mateo says. Today, he encourages young pastors to remain faithful and never renounce Jesus, even as they encounter government threats. Listen also for ways you can pray specifically for Mateo and persecuted Christians in Cuba to remain strong in the Lord as they face hostility and persecution. VOM Radio host Todd Nettleton will also give a recap of the recent I Am N Virtual Event. If you missed the event, it is now available for viewing on demand. Never miss an episode of VOM Radio! Subscribe to the podcast. Or you can listen each week—and get daily prayer reminders—in the VOM App for your smartphone or tablet.

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