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The Kind Pastor

Refugee children today

Richard Wurmbrand was a pastor who spent 14 years in prison for sharing the gospel in communist Romania.

Pastor Wurmbrand did not become a Christian until he was an adult. “In my childhood, I never heard either a bad or a good word about Jesus,” he said. “He was simply unknown to me.”

One day, Richard was walking home from a school with a friend. The friend stopped in front of a church and said to Richard, “Wait for me a minute. My father asked me to give the pastor a message.”

“No, I’ll go in with you,” Richard said. He had never been inside a church before. The pastor and Richard’s friend talked for a few minutes while Richard waited nearby. Then the pastor came over to Richard and patted him on the head. “Little fellow, what can I do for you?” he asked Richard.

Richard was embarrassed. He wondered if he was allowed to be inside the church since he was not a Christian. “Nothing,” he answered the pastor.

“That can’t be true,” the pastor said. “I belong to Jesus. He taught us to do good to others. It is summertime, and it is hot outside. I will bring you a cup of cold water.”

“Jesus is a strange being,” Richard thought. He had never heard about any of Jesus’ teachings. Later Richard learned more about Jesus and decided to follow Him. “God surely has a reward for the one who offered love and a cup of cold water in Jesus’ name,” Richard said.

To Think About
•    The Bible says Jesus “went about doing good” (Acts 10:38). How can Christians today “go about doing good?”
•    Do you think the pastor’s kindness helped Richard understand Jesus better?


Richard Wurmbrand Born 108 Years Ago

Pastor Richard Wurmbrand was born on March 24, 1909. He served 14 years in prison for sharing the gospel in communist Romania. After he was freed, he and his wife, Sabina, started The Voice of the Martyrs to help persecuted Christians.  Pastor Wurmbrand died in 2001.

Pastor Wurmbrand told many stories to illustrate Bible truths. One of the stories he told is below.

“A child was urged to eat carrots and peas because they contained vitamins. He said, ‘Why didn’t God put the vitamins in candy and ice cream?’ My answer would have been, ‘Because it’s important for children not only to have vitamins, but also to learn to swallow what may be unpleasant to the taste.’ We all need to learn from the good and the unpleasant. A Christian must welcome unpleasant things sometimes, because they are part of the ‘all things’ that God is working together for our good.”

To Think About: Read Romans 8:28. What kinds of “unpleasant things” do persecuted Christians face?


Richard Wurmbrand Born 107 Years Ago

Wurmbrand
Pastor Wurmbrand in prison

Pastor Richard Wurmbrand was born on March 24, 1909. He served 14 years in prison for sharing the gospel in communist Romania. After he was freed, he and his wife, Sabina, started The Voice of the Martyrs to help Christians who are persecuted. Pastor Wurmbrand died in 2001.

Pastor Wurmbrand told many stories to illustrate Bible truths. One of the stories he told is below.

“A child was urged to eat carrots and peas because they contained vitamins. He said, ‘Why didn’t God put the vitamins in candy and ice cream?’ My answer would have been, ‘Because it’s important for children not only to have vitamins, but also to learn to swallow what may be unpleasant to the taste.’ We all need to learn from the good and the unpleasant. A Christian must welcome unpleasant things sometimes, because they are part of the ‘all things’ that God is working together for our good.”

To Think About: Read Romans 8:28. What kinds of “unpleasant things” do persecuted Christians face?


Thanksgiving: The Riches of Faith

Sabina

Pastor Richard Wurmbrand and his wife, Sabina, were in prison in Romania because of their Christian activities. Their prisons were miserable, dirty places. Guards fed them poorly and treated them harshly.

Sabina wrote about her prison experiences in a book called The Pastor’s Wife. She noted in her book that most of the other prisoners around her were unhappy and hopeless.

But Sabina was thankful. “Those of us who had faith realized for the first time how rich we were,” she said. “The youngest Christians and the weakest had more strength to call upon than the wealthiest ladies and the smartest ones.

“[People without faith] often seemed to dry up like indoor plants in the wind. Heart and mind were empty.”

Sabina was also very thankful for Bible verses she had memorized before she went to prison. She later wrote, “We had no Bible. We hungered for it more than bread. How I wished I’d learned more of it by heart! But we repeated daily the verses we knew. Other Christians, like me, had memorized long passages, knowing that soon their time would come for arrest.

“They brought riches to prison. While others quarreled and fought, we lay on our mattresses and repeated verses to ourselves through the long nights. We learned what newcomers brought and taught them what we knew. So an unwritten Bible circulated through all Romania’s prisons.

“After work, women came to Christian prisoners and asked, even begged, to be told something of what we remembered from the Bible. The words gave hope, comfort, and life.”

One day, a professor’s wife came to Sabina in the prison and said, “How happy you must be to be able to think and keep your mind busy and pray! I try to remember a poem… and my mind goes back to this horrible prison. I can’t concentrate.”

(Source: The Pastor’s Wife, by Sabina Wurmbrand. Edited for length, clarity, and reading level.)

To Talk About

  • What were two things for which Sabina was thankful?
  • Why had some prisoners memorized Bible verses before they went to prison?
  • What were the “riches” the Christian prisoners brought to prison?

Islam in the News: Hating and Fearing No One

Iraq

News reports tell about attacks by radical Muslims around the world. What should Christians do? Should we pretend there is not a problem? Should we be afraid?

Cole Richards, the leader of The Voice of the Martyrs International Ministries department talked about these issues recently on an interview at VOMRadio.net. Read below the second of three posts from the interview. Mr. Richards refers to Richard Wurmbrand, the man who started The Voice of the Martyrs in 1967.

My favorite Richard Wurmbrand quote is “Jesus never hated or feared anyone.” It’s very easy, in our human nature, to hate and fear those who are our enemies. And we have a real enemy with radical Islam. That’s absolutely correct.

Yet we read in Scripture about forgiving our enemies. Christ instructs us to pray for those who persecute us, to bless and not curse them.

I think in the U.S. we have read these passages and applied them in less compelling ways in our lives or wondered what they mean at all. What we find when we go to places where our brothers and sisters are going through the ultimate suffering, we see them applying the Scriptures in new and very powerful ways. They are triumphing over their suffering through the power of Christ in commitment to Him.

We want to capture that. At The Voice of the Martyrs , we want to be their voice. We want to bring the faith and witness of our brothers and sisters back to the U.S. so Christians here can be part of that and learn from it. We want them to be touched by being part of this great family that is the body of Christ.

So our media is aimed at that. It’s not our opinion as American missions leaders; it’s really us capturing their thoughts, the faith, and the voice of our brothers and sisters in these areas.

(Source: VOMRadio.net. Edited for length, clarity, and reading level.)