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Christian Prisoner Released!

Join us in praising the Lord: VOM Regional Director for Africa, Petr Jasek, has been released after 445 days in prison in Sudan.  Thank you to all who prayed for Mr. Jasek and his family during his long imprisonment.

Mr. Jasek, who has much experience and training in hospital administration, has assisted VOM in delivering aid to displaced and suffering Christians in Sudan and Nigeria. While his work has always been humanitarian in nature, the Sudanese government has sought to characterize him as a “filmmaker” who was conspiring against the Sudanese state.

Mr. Jasek was arrested in December 2015 and held for eight months before charges were filed in August 2016. After a lengthy trial, Mr. Jasek was given a long prison sentence. Two men charged with him, Hassan Abduraheem and Abdulmonem Abdumawla, both Sudanese, were sentenced to 12 years each. The main charge against them was “aiding and abetting” Petr’s alleged “spying.” Please continue to pray for the two Sudanese men, one of whom is a pastor, who are still being held.

John and Betty Stam

“Dory” is a VOM worker who visits China to encourage Christians. Dory is related to John and Betty Stam. The story below and the video tell about the Stams and what Dory found out about them. Please preview the video before showing it to children.

John and Betty Stam knew that China could be a dangerous place for missionaries in the 1930s. Chinese communist soldiers were attacking Christians. But John believed that God was calling the couple to share the gospel in the land where “a million [people] a month pass into Christless graves.”

In 1934, a month after John and Betty arrived at a new mission station in China with their baby, Helen Priscilla, communists came to kidnap them. Betty served tea to her kidnappers before she and her family were taken away.

The kidnappers told John to mail a ransom letter from a post office. The postmaster asked John, “Where are you going?”

“We don’t know where they’re going,” John said of the kidnappers. “But we are going to heaven.” He was right, for soon the kidnappers killed him and Betty. Their baby was rescued and brought up by relatives in the United States. Many young people who heard the Stams’ story gave their lives to God’s service as missionaries.

(Sources include By Their Blood, by James and Marti Hefley)

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!

Maggie: Assyrian Refugee

Syrian refugee girls

Many people in Syria have left their homes to live in safer places. VOM workers visited Syrian refugees in Lebanon and met Maggie, a 12-year-old girl.

Maggie was helping her mother make coffee one day, and she accidentally burned her leg. Her parents had no money to take her to the hospital. They were embarrassed because they could not get her the help she needed.

One of the VOM workers who discovered Maggie’s situation said, “We went to the emergency room and found a doctor who had a merciful heart.” The doctor agreed to let the workers pay less than the usual fee for Maggie’s care. “We shared with him then about Christ, and he was open to a short conversation,” said the worker.

“We went back home, and Maggie was relieved from her pain,” the worker continued. “We followed up with the family for a week to make sure Maggie was recovering. During that week we shared with the family about Christ. The mother was really touched that they saw the love of Christ through our actions.”

To Talk About
•    Maggie came from an Assyrian family. Assyrians have experienced persecution for many years because enemies have associated Assyrians with Christianity. But some Assyrians are no longer serious about their Christian faith.  How did the VOM workers help Maggie’s family think more about Jesus and His love for them?
•    What are some other ways Christians can encourage each other in their faith?

Working in Vietnam

Children at a VBS in Vietnam

Are you too young to be a mission worker in another country? Maybe not! Read the quote below from a VOM worker.

“You can be an international missions worker without ever leaving your knees. I remember speaking with a strong leader from Vietnam. He said, “’When you pray in America, you are working in Vietnam.’”

Join missionaries and VOM workers in their work. Pray for persecuted Christians in other countries.