By Elise, Kids of Courage Student Reviewer
Richard Wurmbrand, a pastor in Romania during the 1940’s, founded The Voice of the Martyrs. However, before the organization began in 1967, Pastor Wurmbrand was in prison. Placed in solitary confinement by the Communist government for three years, he preached to himself more than 300 sermons in rhyming couplets to keep his mind alert.
Born in 1909 to a Jewish family, Wurmbrand never expected to become a Christian pastor. But when he converted to Christianity, he knew what his new life’s path would be – to bring the gospel to Romania. Over the next two decades, he did just that. Wurmbrand founded a church, married a Christian woman named Sabina, and led many people to Christ. However, all of that would change very soon with the spread of communism into Romania.
When the Soviet Union under Stalin took over Romania, the Communist leaders gathered all of the country’s religious leaders into a conference called the Congress of Cults. Everyone knew that they were supposed to sing the praises of the Communist government, or they would face punishment.
Sabina and Richard Wurmbrand faced a dilemma. Would they lie about the benefits of this government, or would they refuse and be sent to prison? Sabina told her husband to go up to the platform and tell the truth. He warned her that if he did so, he might be taken away to prison and she might never hear from him again. Nevertheless, she insisted that he be bold and say what he thought about the Communist regime.
Wurmbrand was quickly sent to prison after saying what he believed in front of the Congress of Cults. While he was in confinement, his wife Sabina was also sent to a labor camp, where she worked on a canal with many other women who had been imprisoned for their faith.
After escaping Romania along with their young son, the Wurmbrands began an organization that would inform Christians in freer countries of persecution and assist those being persecuted. Today it is known as The Voice of the Martyrs and it is over 50 years old.
Richard Wurmbrand even testified in front of the U.S. Congress about how the Soviet Union violated human rights. The couple published more than thirty books about their experiences, including The Pastor’s Wife, Tortured for Christ, and In God’s Underground. Their legacy has been one of enduring faith in suffering and boldness to practice their belief even when it was difficult.
The Wurmbrands’ experiences opened America’s eyes to what was happening under Soviet control. Their experiences also opened America’s eyes to what many Christians around the world had to deal with each day to honestly practice their faith. In the end, Richard and Sabina’s legacy, continued by The Voice of the Martyrs, has changed the world.
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