Voice of the Martyrs Conference Challenges Attendees to Walk in Faith
February 19th, 2020 / By: Ed Huber | TEXAN Correspondent / comments
COLUMBUS, Texas—Louie Miller of Rocky Creek Baptist Church in Victoria was one of nearly 1,000 Texans who gathered February 8 to hear testimonies of persecuted Christians. Miller along with seven others from his congregation attended the Voice of Martyrs (VOM) “Advance” regional conference hosted by Country Camp where they were challenged to walk in faith by getting involved with various VOM ministry opportunities.
Miller said this was his third VOM conference. “We do not want to forget our mission as Christians,” he said. “These conferences keep me mindful of what is happening to Christians around the world.” He said believers willing to take up the cross are targeted by Satan, but they conquer him “by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.”
Speakers at the conference included Pastor Bob Fu, founder of the ChinaAid Association, Dr. Hormoz Shariat of Iran Alive Ministries, and missionary Gracia Burnham, who, with her husband Martin, was kidnapped in 2001 by the Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines, and survived a one-year captivity in the jungle.
Fu, author of God’s Double Agent (Baker Books), said he once demonstrated for freedom in Tiananmen Square in 1989, but the experience disillusioned him, making him realize that true change and transformation comes by knowing Jesus Christ. He later pastored a house church while teaching English at a Communist Party school in Beijing, until his evangelistic activities led to the imprisonment of him and his wife Heidi.
Fu said his family fled China, and he eventually founded ChinaAid Association, a nonprofit Christian human rights organization that promotes religious freedom and rule of law in China. He said ChinaAid exposes abuses of the law and equips Christian leaders so they can defend their faith and freedom within the law.
Likewise, Shariat, who uses his satellite broadcasts to share God’s Word with audiences in Iran, said the cruelty of government and the corruption of Muslim clerics is opening people’s minds to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Burnham shared how her husband Martin was killed the day she was rescued from the Abu Sayyaf and how she has advocated for the persecuted church. She said there is a cost to establishing God’s kingdom in the world, but there is hope in Jesus Christ. “If we are to serve God and each other, our hearts need to be engaged, and we need to be willing to serve regardless of the cost,” she said. “It is our turn to take up the cross. A disciple’s life is costly, but people won’t hear the gospel without a preacher, and you can’t be a disciple without cross-bearing.”
Bev Ursell of Founders Baptist Church in Spring said she has supported VOM from afar, but now looks forward to becoming involved in the ministry. Ursell said she has been on some mission trips, but none to compare with the testimonies of VOM-sponsored missionaries, who are beaten, imprisoned and killed for their kingdom work. “There is so much suffering in the world from which I am insulated,” she said, “and I want to remove that insulation and engage.”