Saturday, March 29, 2014

Voice of the Martyrs Seminar in Huntington Beach

Today I attended a one-day seminar hosted by the Christian organization Voice of the Martyrs at the Refuge Calvary Chapel in Huntington Beach, California. Voice of the Martyrs is an organization dedicated to helping persecuted Christians around the world. The speakers were Christian pastors who work in  foreign countries. They were Bob Fu (China), Steven Khoury (Holy Land), Todd Nettleton (Laos, China, S Korea and Nigeria) and a Syrian pastor who could only be identified as Brother John (for obvious reasons). In fact, the audience was asked not to take pictures of his face or of any of his slides from Syria.

They were expecting an audience of 700, but it could easily have been more. There was a wide range of people of different ethnicities and ages, young and old, which I thought was very encouraging.

When I arrived, Pastor Khoury was speaking and telling of his experiences trying to spread the gospel in Gaza and Jenin (West Bank).  He also described the difficulties for those who chose to convert from Islam to Christianity and the risks they faced.

Nettleton told us the story of a North Korean refugee he met in S Korea whose mother had been arrested in possession of Bibles and was subsequently executed by the North Korean. We also saw a film of a young Chinese Christian woman who was arrested by police, taken to a place of torture, and subjected to torture because she wouldn't sign a confession incriminating fellow Christians. She spent 6 years in prion. He also told us the story of Asia Bibi, a Pakistani woman facing death for blasphemy of Islam. Her court case is still pending. Then there was the story of the Muslim mob in Indonesia who dug up the grave of the Dutch missionary couple who brought Christianity to that country in the 19th century.

Brother John's testimony was the most riveting. I have to leave out certain details of what he told us because it could endanger people in Syria. He talked of the war raging and the killing of Christians. He also described the severe risks Christians took for distributing Bibles and proselytizing. He told us of the kidnap, gruesome torture, and murder of Father Fadi Jamil Haddad. As he asked the audience to pray for Syrian Christians, he warned us that one day we will need the prayers of others. "As we speak," he said, "American citizens are going to Syria to fight in the jihad with al Qaeda". Many of them are killing Christians.

Yet, he said that among all this there is a Christian revival in Syria. He also said that in Egypt and Syria, in the so-called "Arab Spring", which they call "Extremist Spring", many Muslims have turned away from Islam.

I was unable to stay for Pastor Fu's presentation.

One thing I would have liked to hear is mention of other religious minorities suffering persecution. I would have like to hear about rising anti-Semitism in the world as well as persecution of the Baha'i in Iran.

Notwithstanding the above reservation, I will be linking Voice for the Martyrs on this site under the section, "Worthy of our Support". They are doing worthwhile work.

1 comment:

Miggie said...

I was glad to learn about these witnesses speaking out in a meaningful way. We have been deluged with the "plight of the poor Palestinians" that obsess the Muslims and academics. These are the truthful description of the persecution of Christians and others in the Middle East that I personally saw there.

I hope their stories spread like water on a blotter.