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Freedom: Richard Wurmbrand

(From the Kids of Courage archives)

On July 4th, the United States celebrates freedom and independence. Many people think freedom means not being under the control of other people or another country.

Pastor Richard Wurmbrand was in prison in communist Romania for 14 years because of his Christian activities. Most people would not think of prison as a place of freedom. But Pastor Wurmbrand realized that true freedom comes from obeying God and following Christ. He did not feel more or less free in or out of prison.

In prison, Pastor Wurmbrand thought, “It is not necessary to be at liberty to be pleasing to God. Which [of God’s] commandments could I keep better in freedom than in a prison cell? Why should I move around? The lily stays in the same place and exhales its perfume….I will not ask [God] to be freed.”

To Think About
• What was Pastor Wurmbrand saying about the life of a Christian in his example about the lily?
• Which was more important to Pastor Wurmbrand, getting out of prison or pleasing God?
• What did Pastor Wurmbrand mean when he asked, “Which [of God’s] commandments could I keep better in freedom than in a prison cell?”

Note: After Pastor Wurmbrand got out of prison, he started the ministry that became The Voice of the Martyrs.


Richard Wurmbrand: Math and Truth

Pastor Wurmbrand
Richard Wurmbrand was a pastor in Romania. He preached the truth from God’s Word, even when it was risky to do so. “Christians proclaim the truth,” he said.

Two Schools
“Imagine two schools,” Pastor Wurmbrand said. “One of the schools is run by a wise man, the other by an unwise man. In the first school, children are taught that 2 plus 2 is 4. In the second school, they are taught that 2 plus 2 is 3.

“Then another teacher comes along. This teacher says, ‘Love is the most important thing. Why should math teachers disagree? Let each teacher agree to give a little, so that we can all get along. The children can be taught that 2 plus 2 is 3 1/2. Whoever refuses to compromise is not a loving person, and should not be allowed to be a math teacher.’”

What do you think of the teacher’s solution?
What would you do if you were a teacher in the first school, and you were told you could no longer teach that 2 plus 2 is 4?

Two Plus Two
In the mid-1900s when Pastor Wurmbrand preached in Romania, communists ruled the country. They did not believe in God, and they tried to control what pastors taught in churches. Pastor Wurmbrand and other pastors were put in prison for continuing to preach truths from the Bible.

He told one of the communist officials, “Even if you put all the mathematicians in prison, 2 plus 2 will still equal 4.” What do you think Pastor Wurmbrand meant by that statement?

Pastor Wurmbrand said, “The Christian possesses truth much surer than mathematics, because it has been revealed by God Himself.”

(Sources include: Reaching Toward the Heights, available at VOMBooks.com. Edited and paraphrased for length, clarity, and age-appropriateness.)


Prison Ministry — From the Inside

Pastor Wurmbrand

When Richard Wurmbrand was a pastor in Romania in the mid-1900s, he and other church members shared the love of Jesus with anyone who would listen, and even with many who did not want to listen!

A Christian woman in the church began to visit a women’s prison to share the gospel and to give gifts to the women. Pastor Wurmbrand took great interest in the woman’s work. He encouraged everyone to pray that God would provide them with more ways to talk to prisoners. He hoped that God would let him visit prisoners in the men’s prisons.

Later, Pastor Wurmbrand spent a total of 14 years in prison after Romania was taken over by Communists who did not allow pastors to freely preach the gospel. He was a blessing to many prisoners during his time in prison. His prayers were answered, but maybe not in a way he expected when he prayed!

To Talk About
*What did Pastor Wurmbrand and his congregation pray for?
*How were his prayers answered?
*Can you think of another time when someone’s prayers were answered in an unexpected way?

 


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.


The Torchlighters: The Richard Wurmbrand Story

Pastor Richard Wurmbrand saw an opportunity when the Communists came to his homeland of Romania. He wanted to show them the love of Christ. But preaching the word of God and refusing to bow down to Communist leaders gave him a one-way ticket to prison. Watch the video clip to see what happened when his son visited him in prison.

The complete DVD of The Torchlighters: The Richard Wurmbrand Story is available at www.vombooks.com.

To find free downloadable materials for children about Richard Wurmbrand, click here.

Student and leader guides for The Torchlighters The Richard Wurmbrand Story DVD are also available in the Downloads section of this site.