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A 20th Century Saul

Saul to Paul

Read the two previous posts about persecutors becoming Christians. Then read the story below about a 20th century “Saul.”

Gheorghita Stratulat was a policeman in Romania. Like many people in Romania at that time, he had been taught that there is no God.

The communist leaders of the land allowed some Christian activities, but the government was mostly hostile toward Christians and Christianity.

As part of his job, Stratulat spied on Christians who met secretly for worship, arrested them, and put them in prison. At home, he drank a lot of alcohol and spoke harshly to his wife, Elena.

Then something happened that made Stratulat very sad. His fifth child, Ana-Mihaela, was born deaf, mute, and paralyzed. For several years Stratulat told everyone about Ana-Mihaela to try to find someone who could help her. He told doctors, other policemen at work, and his neighbors. But Ana-Mihaela did not improve.

God Can Help
One day a woman came to Stratulat’s police station and said, “I know a doctor who can help your daughter….He is my God.”

Stratulat was angry. He raised his police baton to hit the woman, but then, surprisingly, he passed out. The Christian woman threw water in his face to wake him up. He kicked her out of his office.
Read the next post to find out how Stratulat changed from being a persecutor to a follower of Christ.

(Source: Saul to Paul, available at VOMBooks.com. Please preview the book before sharing with children.)


Pastor Wurmbrand’s Letter

USA

Pastor Richard Wurmbrand was a pastor in Romania in the mid-20th century. He was imprisoned for 14 years for his Christian activities, and his wife, Sabina, was also arrested and imprisoned. After they were released, they came to the United States and started the ministry that later became The Voice of the Martyrs.

The Wurmbrands suffered for their faith but always trusted in God. When Pastor Wurmbrand got out of prison, he wrote down many of the thoughts that had come to him while he was in prison. The following thoughts were part of a letter to Jesus that he composed.

[Pastor Wurmbrand wrote:] When the Wright brothers made their first airplane flight, a well-known engineer said, “The airplane can even carry mail in special cases, but the load will be small. It can become faster, but it will not be used to carry things for businesses.” A few years after he said that, planes started carrying passengers.

Then a noted astronomer said, “People imagine great flying machines flying over oceans and carrying crowds of people. These ideas are just visions. Even if an airplane could cross the ocean carrying one or two passengers, the cost would be so high that only a millionaire could afford to travel that way.”

[Pastor Wurmbrand continued his letter to Jesus:] If people can’t even predict what humans will be able to do with their abilities, no wonder they do not understand Your abilities. You can do anything because You are God. Also, nothing is impossible for You because as man, You believed wholeheartedly in the Father.

To Think About
Pastor Wurmbrand understood that nothing is impossible with God (see Luke 1:37) even though he was in prison. Can you continue to trust God when you are having a hard time and don’t see any good in your situation?

Source: My Correspondence with Jesus by Richard Wurmbrand, not in print. Paraphrased and edited from the original source for clarity and reading level. Photo source: Library of Congress.


Children’s Bibles

Romanian Children

How old were you when you got your first Bible? In some countries where there are few Christians, even some adults have never seen a Bible. The Voice of the Martyrs distributes Bibles to children in many of those countries. Now the children will grow up knowing who Jesus is.

VOM also supports Bible distributions to children in countries where Christians used to be persecuted. Christians in those countries often need help and encouragement. One of those countries is Romania.

The photo in this post shows Romanian children with their new children’s Bibles. A Christian worker in Romania reported to VOM: “The books were very well received because they are simple and easy to read. The children promised to read them daily. We pray their enthusiasm will prevail. We will support them in our prayers that the Holy Spirit will work in their little hearts. We all hope for a long-term impact of these books as a gate for knowledge of our Lord as personal Savior for each to them.”


Silence

Wurmbrand
Pastor Wurmbrand in prison

Pastor Richard Wurmbrand, who started The Voice of the Martyrs, was in prison in Romania for his Christian activities. He spent part of his time in prison in “solitary confinement,” meaning he was by himself in a silent cell.

After he left prison, Pastor Wurmbrand wrote the following.

“Two thousand years ago a Greek man name Phocion waited his turn to get his beard trimmed by a barber. The barber talked on and on about current events to the customer he was shaving. Phocion waited wearily while the barber talked.

“Finally the barber turned to Phocion and asked, ‘How would you like to have your beard trimmed?’

“Phocion replied, ‘In silence.’”

Pastor Wurmbrand continued, “We are victims of a plot against silence. Every day we hear the noise of cars, trains, planes, radios, TVs, vacuum cleaners, dishwashers, fans, chatter, clatter, and speech.

“I have known Christians who have spent years in solitary confinement in complete silence. When they once again heard humans speak, they wondered why so much of their speech was unimportant.

“If you wish to talk to God, create some silence around you. Turn off the noises that intrude on silence. You will learn more from God if you listen, as did Jesus when he spent whole nights in prayer on silent mountains.”

(Source: Reaching Toward the Heights by Richard Wurmbrand. Edited, paraphrased, and adapted.)

To Think About

  • Sit still and note all the noises you hear. Which noises would not have existed in Bible times?
  • Do you have a daily “quiet time” when you can read the Bible and pray without distractions?

Pastor Richard Wurmbrand: More About Freedom

Shoes

Pastor Wurmbrand wanted to please God whether he was in or out of prison. He did not want to wait until he got out of prison to obey and serve God. And when he was released from prison, he didn’t want to use his freedom as an excuse to spend less time with God.

“Don’t think I’ve simply come from misery to happiness,” he said after his release. I’ve come from the joy of being with Christ in prison to the joy of being with him in my family. I’m not coming from strangers to my family, but from my brothers in Christ in prison to my family in Christ at home.”

To Think About
Do you think Pastor Wurmbrand was happier in or out of prison? What was the source of Pastor Wurmbrand’s happiness?

Photo credit