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Who Works at VOM?

Martyrs’ wall at VOM headquarters

The Voice of the Martyrs’ workers visit Christians in other countries to empower, equip, and encourage them, bringing Christ’s hope through Bibles, medicine, shelter, training, and aid.

The following is part of an interview by Todd Nettleton of  with Jonathan Ekman, The Voice of the Martyrs’ Vice-President of International Ministries. (Edited for length and clarity.)

Todd: One of the questions I get asked sometimes is, “How can I come and work for The Voice of the Martyrs?” How would you advise someone who wants to work for VOM?

Jonathan: Our staff is about 65 people — 25 nationalities based in 24 countries. I often say we are never your first job in missions; we are usually your last. Our workers have 10 to 20 years’ experience in the field.

I would say if you’re a young person and you think God is calling you to this, go to YWAM or Operation Mobilization, or your denomination’s mission sending agency. Pour out your life on the field for the sake of the kingdom to see people come to Christ from every nation, tribe, and tongue.

Todd: I think we hired somebody this year who speaks five languages. Am I right about that?

Jonathan: Four. We told him to work on the fifth. A lot of our workers are responsible for multiple countries. They may not speak the language of every country, but they are certainly cross-cultural communicators. They are definitely people who are prepared for that.

It’s a very challenging job, but for the right people, it’s a dream job to be able to go and sit at a table with a “rock star” of the kingdom and to be able to impact their work.

Todd: They make some pretty significant sacrifices to do that work.

Jonathan: Sure, it’s a sacrifice. Our workers will spend 80 to 100 days a year in the field, and these are not easy places to travel. But at the same time, it’s also a tremendous joy. So we don’t talk much about sacrifice, especially because of the people we work with. Compared to the people we meet, we are not sacrificing anything.

To read more thoughts from VOM workers, go to the “Ask a VOM Worker” section of the archives.

Ask a VOM Worker: The Most Valuable Thing

Question: What is your most valuable possession?
A worker from The Voice of the Martyrs’ International Ministries department shares his thoughts below.

Bibles are the most valuable thing on the planet. I don’t know if you know this, but if you look at your possessions around your home, your most valuable possession is your Bible. A lot of times we get confused and think, “It’s my car,” or “It’s my house” — those kinds of things.

No, it is the very Word of God that He has given to us. It is a prized possession. There are millions of people around our world, millions of Christians, who would give anything to have one of them.

The Voice of the Martyrs distributes more than 1 million Bibles a year — all in hostile or restricted-access countries. This includes buying them and shipping them, printing them secretly, or smuggling them from one country to another.

It’s kind of fun. It’s exciting to see people receive the Word of God for the first time.

These are the most exciting days to be alive in the history of the church. What we are seeing around the world is a gospel wildfire. We are seeing the gospel go forward like never before in the history of the church.

There is nothing that says you have to live in Africa, or China, or the Middle East to experience the gospel wildfire. I really believe the Lord would love to send the gospel wildfire to Oklahoma or South Carolina or wherever you happen to be from.

To Talk About
•    Why does the VOM worker say these are the most exciting days to be alive in the history of the church?
•    What do you think he means by a “gospel wildfire?”
•    In what ways might you participate in a gospel wildfire in your community?

Ask a VOM Worker: The Church in America

Question: What do you think about the church in America today?

VOM Worker: I’m excited about what is happening in the church in America right now.

The whole time that I have been alive, the church has been like the world in many ways. If the world has movies, we have Christian movies. If the world has rock music, we have rock music. If the world has yoga, we have Christian yoga, or whatever the latest thing is. The church is just another option, just a cleaner option of the world.

There is a big change coming to America, and Christianity is no longer just, “We are nicer than they are.” There is going to be a big difference between the church and we can proclaim it with boldness.

The church is becoming different from the world. God is spreading the Word, and the gospel is expanding through persecution. The places in the world where the church is growing fastest are the places where there is some of the worst persecution.

So if persecution comes to America, praise the King! Because that means the church is going to grow, right?

How do we get involved? We make prayer a priority. We become people of prayer. And we decide now to take our stand on the gospel, no matter what the world says to us.

(Source: Edited from the original for clarity and length.)

To Talk About
•    What are some Christian beliefs that are not accepted by non-Christians? (Find some ideas in the Beliefs section of this site.)
•    Where does the VOM worker say the church grows the fastest?
•    In what ways does he say Christians should become involved?

Ask a VOM Worker: Advice for Future Missionaries

Bethany H., a VOM volunteer, would like to be a missionary someday. For a school project, she interviewed VOM’s Jason Peters. Dr. Peters often travels to meet with persecuted believers around the world. You can read Bethany’s questions and Dr. Peters’ answers below.

Bethany: Did you go on a mission trip as a youth? If so, what impact did it have on you?

Dr. Peters: No, I was not able to go on a mission trip as a youth.  I would have welcomed the opportunity, but was not aware of all of the options that I am aware of today.

Bethany: What do you enjoy about mission trips?

Dr. Peters: I have now ministered in 40 countries, and I really enjoy meeting our brothers and sisters face-to-face.  It has changed my faith to see the faith of others, especially those who are in very difficult life circumstances.

Bethany: What are some helpful things to know before going on a mission trip?

Dr. Peters: Go as a humble learner.  We sometimes fall into the trap of thinking that we are the experts who are coming to help these poor Christians, but in reality, they are often more mature than we are spiritually.  They may not have much materially, but many of them have deep faith.

Bethany: What advice would you give a new missionary?

Dr. Peters: Take the time to learn the culture.  There is a gradual, long process of maturing as a cross-cultural worker.  Trust God to place you where He needs you and to equip you for what He has called you do to!

Bethany: What are some things you have learned from your mission trips?

Dr. Peters: That God is touching lives in every corner of the world.  Our God is SO big that it is impossible for us to even begin to see all the wonderful ways that He is at work!

Bethany: What are the differences (to the missionary) between short-term and long-term mission

Dr. Peters: They are totally different.  To be honest, I believe that the greatest benefit to short-term missions is what happens in the life of the participant.  It really takes long-term missions, and ideally indigenous leaders, to really begin to make a lasting impact on a community.

Bethany: What do you know now that you wish you would have known before your first mission trip?

Dr. Peters: So much that I can’t even begin to capture it!  By God’s grace He teaches us each step of the way.

Bethany: How has your relationship with God changed since going on mission trips?

Dr. Peters: I have grown in dependence upon Him.  I am confident serving anywhere in the world as I walk with Him.

Bethany: What countries have you gone on a mission trip to?

Dr. Peters: Mexico, United States, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Peru, Bangladesh, China, Diego Garcia, India, Indonesia, Myanmar/Burma, Nepal, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Iraq,  Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Austria, The Republic of Cyprus, Denmark, England, Germany, Greece, Italy, Norway, Spain, Wales, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Egypt,  Nigeria, South Sudan, Sudan.

Bethany: Is there anything else you think would be helpful for me to know for my research?

Dr. Peters: It will be exciting to see how God uses you in the years ahead.  He has a great plan for your life.  I encourage you to develop character and competencies that are based on solid scriptural principles. God bless you, Bethany!

VOM Worker’s Kid of Courage


Wesley P’s dad travels around the world for The Voice of the Martyrs. Wesley, age 15, recently shared thoughts about his dad and about life. Read what he said below.

Question: How long has your dad worked for VOM?
Wesley: Three and a half years.

Q: About how often does he take trips overseas?
A: He travels as much as 100 days per year, so possibly a quarter of the year.

Q: What are some of the places he has visited?
A: He has visited Iraq, India, China, Mexico, and Cuba among others. I was able to travel with him to Cuba to do some work. That was awesome! I saw an underground printing press in action, met persecuted Christians, and ate some interesting food.

Q: Has he ever brought you back some interesting artifacts, souvenirs, or
photos from another country?
A: Yes, Dad has brought back money, Bibles in foreign languages, knives, and many other awesome things.

Q: Recently your mom and dad traveled together to minister to persecuted
Christians in another country. What adjustments did your family have to make
for them to be gone? Did you take on additional responsibilities to help
make the trip work?
A: While my parents were gone, we were watched by an awesome temporary Mom. I got to help her learn about our house routines among other things.

Q: What is one of the most memorable stories your dad or mom have brought
back from overseas?
A: In Nepal, bodies are cremated or set on fire instead of being buried after they die. They are usually taken to special places for this. Once, when Dad was collecting his luggage, he saw a foot sticking out of a blanket, right next to his suitcase—that was crazy.

Q: Does your dad ever go anywhere “dangerous?” Are you ever fearful for him?
If so, how do you deal with your fear?
A: Everyone has fear and I am definitely not excluded. I handle fear by singing praise songs. I try to read my Bible and journal every day. We also “Skype” Dad when he is gone.

Q: What have you learned about persecution or persecuted Christians since
your dad began working at VOM?
A: These Christians aren’t superheroes, they rely on God to get them through.

Q: What do you hope to do when you’re an adult? In what ways are you
preparing to fulfill that hope?
A: I want to join the US Air Force, specifically through the Air Force Academy and hopefully ending up working with Air Force Special Operators as a Special Tactics Officer. To prepare for this I focus on school, run two to five miles every day, play Airsoft, and stay in general fitness.

Q: Do you have any advice for kids whose parents are missionaries,
policemen, firemen, soldiers, or who do other work that can be dangerous at
A: Remember your parents are the true heroes, not cool football players or the Spurs who won the NBA finals. (I am still disappointed about that as a Heat fan!) When you are scared, go run or walk, listen to worship music, or play an instrument.

Wesley: Thanks for the opportunity to share my thoughts.