In Pastor Richard Wurmbrand’s country of Romania in the mid-1900s, Christians had many enemies. Iron Guard terrorists scared Christians, and both the police and the Iron Guard worked with the German Nazis, who occupied the country. The policed arrested many Christians. Pastor Wurmbrand was arrested and questioned, just because he was a pastor. Each arrest became a lesson that prepared him for harder times to come.
Pastor Wurmbrand’s Story
I was standing at the pulpit one Sunday when the terrorists appeared. They filed silently into the back of the church and sat down. No one else saw them enter. The congregation waited eagerly for me to begin my sermon. Then I saw the guns in the strangers’ hands. I thought to myself, “If this is going to be my last sermon, it should be a good one.”
My sermon told about the hands of Jesus, who wiped away tears and fed the hungry. His hands blessed children and healed the sick. “But you!” I raised my voice. “What have you done with your hands?”
The congregation stared in amazement. Their hands held Bibles! They didn’t know I was preaching to the terrorists. “You hurt innocent people with your hands!” I thundered. “Clean your hands, you sinners!” The terrorists whispered to one another and scowled. They clutched their guns while I said a closing prayer.
The puzzled church members began to leave. I came down from the pulpit, quickly stepped behind a curtain, slipped through a secret door, and locked it. Footsteps pounded behind me as I raced through hidden hallways, found my way to a side street, and escaped.
Later, after the Nazis lost power, a million Russian communist soldiers marched into Romania. They made the problems during Nazi times seem easy. But I loved the Russians! I had asked God to send me to Russia to be a missionary. But instead, he brought the Russians to me! Their leaders didn’t want them to learn about God, but to me, it was worth the risk to preach to them.
Pastor Wurmbrand was later arrested, and he spent a total of 14 years in Romanian prisons before he and his family left the country. He started The Voice of the Martyrs 50 years ago in 1967. He wanted VOM to help the families of persecuted Christians, because he and his family had been persecuted for standing up for Christ.