Published on February 21st, 2020
(The following is a recent interview by VOM Radio host Todd Nettleton. It has been edited and condensed.)
Todd: Are there times when you feel overwhelmed with bad news around the world? Jonathan Ekman leads VOM’s International Ministry work around the globe. He has a much more encouraging outlook.
Jonathan: I think I would start by saying the Lord has allowed us to expand our response to persecution. Also, the distribution of about 1.2 million Bibles last year. So it was a great year!
Todd: What is the number of international ministry staff?
Jonathan: I have the privilege of leading a team of about 60 individuals — 25 nationalities based in 24 countries around the world, and we are active in more than 70 countries.
Todd: How do you think about the security of your team in a place like China that has locked up not only Chinese Christians, but also foreigners? You were here when our staff member Petr Jasek was in prison in Sudan.
Jonathan: We have worked very hard to prepare our staff. They counted the cost before they came. We were able to take care of Petr’s family while he was in prison. Seven times in 15 months, I made a trip to Prague to meet with Petr’s family.
Todd: What kinds of people are you recruiting and asking to join our team?
Jonathan: We are looking for experienced field missionaries who have lived on the field, working cross-culturally. Go and get some experience.
A great first step even before that is to take the “Perspectives on the World Christian Movement” course. They give that all over the country.
But really, everyone could join our staff as far as praying — getting our prayer guides and beginning to make it a ministry that you pray for our brothers and sisters.
Todd: What is your favorite part of your job?
Jonathan: I love the fact that God has given me a front row seat to what He is doing in the earth. These are, without question, the most exciting days to be alive in the history of the church. There has never been a time like right now. I am confident that was true in 2019, and I know it will be true in 2020. What a blessing. It also makes me encourage people that if you find yourself afraid these days, you should turn off your television and pick up your Bible and a VOM newsletter, and see what God is doing.