Pastor Richard Wurmbrand left his apartment and headed to church as usual one Sunday morning in February 1948, but he never arrived at church that day. Instead, he was kidnapped off the streets by Romanian secret police. He would spend 14 years in Communist prisons.
When he came down with tuberculosis and appeared close to death, guards moved Pastor Wurmbrand into the “death cell.” But he didn’t die. Instead, he survived and was eventually ransomed out of Romania. After arriving in the West, he immediately began to tell the story of his imprisonment and the many Christians still suffering in Communist prisons behind the Iron Curtain.
In October 1967 — 50 years ago this month — those stories were typed up and mailed out to Christians who wanted to know more. It was the first issue of what later became the VOM newsletter. A ministry was born.
Today the ministry that Richard and Sabina Wurmbrand founded is actively helping Christians in 68 countries, providing direct aid to the persecuted, sending Bibles to those in hostile areas and restricted nations, and assisting front-line workers.
The ministry also continues to tell the stories of these believers, just as Richard did. Each year we tell one story in a video created specifically for the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP). This year, in honor of VOM’s 50th anniversary, our IDOP video tells a story from Richard’s personal testimony of years in Communist prisons. It is a story that reminds us to pray not only for our persecuted brothers and sisters but also for their persecutors.
Select the link below to watch the video, and request a free DVD to share with your church family on IDOP Sunday, Nov. 5.