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Bold Believers Among China’s Uygurs

Bold Believers Among China’s Uygurs includes stories, history, culture facts, and activities that help children understand the daily lives of the Uygur people, who live mainly in northwest China. The 52-page book is available free from the Downloads section of this site.

Activities Story

A Prison Code

Pastor Wurmbrand’s prison

“Jail is no hindrance to a useful Christian life” — Pastor Richard Wurmbrand

Pastor Richard Wurmbrand was arrested in the mid-20th century in Romania for his Christian witness and activities. The story below tells about something that happened when he was in prison. Read the story, then tell how your name would be tapped in the improved code used by the prisoners. (For example, if your name is John, the first letter of your name would be signaled by 2 taps, then 5 taps.)

The Code
Tap. Tap. Tap. One day Pastor Wurmbrand heard a faint tapping on the damp concrete wall of his solitary cell. “What could it mean?” he wondered.

Tap. Tap. Tap. The noise continued. Pastor Wurmbrand tapped back. Suddenly a burst of taps erupted by his bed. He realized that the prisoner in the next cell was trying to teach him a code.

A = 1 tap
B = 2 taps
C = 3 taps
And so on.

“Who are you?” was the first message Pastor Wurmbrand’s neighbor sent him. “A pastor,” Pastor Wurmbrand replied.

It took a long time to send a message. The prisoners improved the code so it wouldn’t take so long. In the new code, one tap stood for the first five letters of the alphabet, two taps for the second group of five, and so on. Another tap told whether the letter was the first, second, third, fourth, or fifth letter in its group. So “B” was a single tap, followed by a pause, then two more taps.

The Improved Code
A = 1 tap, pause, 1 tap
B = 1 tap, pause, 2 taps
C = 1 tap, pause, 3 taps
D = 1 tap, pause, 4 taps
E = 1 tap, pause, 5 taps
F = 2 taps, pause, 1 tap
G = 2 taps, pause, 2 taps
And so on.

Morse Code
Then his neighbor, who had been a radio engineer, used this code to teach Pastor Wurmbrand Morse code. After that, they used Morse code to tell jokes, spread news, and even share chess moves. (Pastor Wurmbrand sometimes played chess with himself using tiny bits of bread as chess pieces.) Pastor Wurmbrand also taught prisoners Bible verses and shared the gospel with unbelievers using the code.

Spotlight Story

Richard Wurmbrand

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.

Enter “Wurmbrand” in the Search box to read stories by and about Pastor Wurmbrand.

Ask a VOM Worker Story

Encouraging Words

Read 2 Timothy 1:6-7

[Photo: Children in Burma praying]

A VOM worker shared the following encouraging words at VOM chapel recently. After you read them, share them with someone who might need encouragement.

At the beginning of 2020 none of us could have predicted or even imagined what the spring would bring to pass not only in our country but around the world. We may be tempted to think that these are indeed dark and difficult days. Much of our certainty has been stripped away by an unseen virus, economic uncertainty and even social instability.

Each one of us, as followers of Jesus, have been given gifts to be used in order to bring glory to God in our daily lives. These gifts are not only for the good times in our lives, but should also especially be used in the difficult times to glorify our Father and to see His Kingdom advanced in the darkest corners of our world.

Fear is not the spirit we have been given by our Father. In one way, we at The Voice of the Martyrs have a unique opportunity to see this lived out in the daily lives of our brothers and sisters on some of the most difficult mission fields in our world. I am reminded that they are not “super-Christians” but simply faithful brothers and sisters who have taken God’s Word to heart. May we be encouraged and may we be challenged by their life and witness.

When I first began working in Burma, about 20 years ago, my life was changed by the life of John, my first friend in Burma. John wanted to show me some of the villages where our team would be working, doing evangelistic work. That morning before we left for the villages, John asked if we could pray together. He prayed a simple prayer, “Dear Lord, we place our lives in Your hands to do with as You will. We pray only that You might be glorified.” When we got up off our knees I knew that something had changed in me. God had filled my heart with trust and with confidence. I still pray that prayer daily.

These days have given us a fresh connection to the brothers and sisters we serve, who must depend on God daily for the provision of their needs and the confidence to carry out the work He has for them.

As we walk through these uncertain days, may God truly give us a spirit of love, power, and self-control, and may His spirit give us the courage and the confidence to walk through any trial or uncertainty with boldness, believing that He has us in the palm of His hand.

Spotlight Story

Freedom in Prison

Prison cell in Asia

Americans celebrate their freedom on July 4th. Some people say freedom is the right to do or say what you want without anyone stopping you. People in prison are not considered free. But read below what some Vietnamese Christians said about the time they spent in prison for their faith in Christ:

  • Being in prison gave me more time to have a deeper relationship with God.
  • It was an honor to serve the Lord in this way.
  • I learned more about the true values of life.
  • Going to prison encouraged me to continue my Christian work when I got out. After being in prison, I was more willing to risk going back to prison again.
  • In prison I had the opportunity to lead my cellmates, and even guards, to Christ.

The apostle Paul said, “Because of my chains [his time in prison], most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly” (Philippians 1:14).

To Think About: In what ways were the Vietnamese prisoners freer in prison? How did Paul’s time in prison create more freedom for the gospel to spread?

What You Can Do Story

Help Christians Driven from Their Homes

The July 2020 The Voice of the Martyrs magazine encourages us to remember that we are in the same “family” as persecuted Christians around the world. (See Hebrews 13:3.)

“Our Christian brothers and sisters are a treasure,” said VOM president Cole Richards. “In Christ, we are meant to enjoy a richness of joy in relationship with other members of God’s family.”

The magazine also describes ways we can help provide for our Christian family members when they are driven from their homes because of their faith in Christ.

You can read about some of the ways below. To find out more, visit

Family Med Packs
Family Med Packs provide health and hygiene items for families on the run from attackers. If you order a Med Pack Kit, you will also receive a list of items to put in the pack before returning it to The Voice of the Martyrs. Items may include bandages, toothbrush, gauze, lip balm, and additional items.

Action Packs
Action Packs include items like sheets, a tarp, a blanket, zip ties, soap, a toy, and other items. You can order an Action Pack Kit from VOM and fill it yourself before returning it to VOM, or you can make a donation to VOM to cover the cost of filling and distributing a pack.

Find more details and ways to help at

To subscribe to the free monthly The Voice of the Martyrs magazine, visit the subscription signup page.