Sunday, May 4, 2008


so i have been receiving monthly newsletters from Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) for quite some time now - i think ever since high school. it is so easy here in america, surrounded by comfortable things, and spoiled with all of our american freedoms, to completely forget or overlook the suffering that Christian brothers and sisters around the world are experiencing. for that reason i am extremely grateful for the little reminder that arrives in the mail every month in the form of a newsletter, as well as weekly e-mail updates from VOM that land in my inbox. tonight i began to read through some of the articles and stories, and i was overcome with the experiences of these courageous believers who love Jesus SOOOOO much.

but what really astounded me were several of the letters in the "VOM Mail" secion that were written in to VOM and published in the latest issue. one person wrote, "Stop the ruse. You are just another predatory business taking advantage of the gullibility of people. There is no such thing as Christian persecution..."
another person wrote, "You guys are kidding, right? 'Christians' attempt to impose their beliefs ('proselytize') in someone else's country, something tragic happens, and these are martyrs? Aren't you taking this Jesus complex a little far? ... Perhaps these people should consider that where they are going is populated by human beings just like themselves, with their own beliefs and ways of doing things, and respect them as they themselves wish to be respected. ... You should be ashamed - this kind of reasonless propaganda does not help anyone or anything, save your own pompous self-righteousness."

my roommate teasingly asked if these are the same people who don't believe the holocaust ever happened. while i could spend paragraphs steaming over comments like these, i believe they stand on their own as a statement of how far away people are from God. the bubble that encompases americans (and others who are removed from the persecution) is large, and it is shielding people from reality. (or perhaps people are just refusing to look at all. you don't need a bubble if you eyes are squeezed shut). the persecution is real, and it is happening all over the world. how do i know? for one i've read too many stories not to believe them. but even putting that aside, Jesus PROMISED there would always be persecution. His gospel is offensive to men who refuse to submit to a real, live, objective, holy, just God. so why are we surprised when people hate those who bring the message? the persecution will eventually be in our backyard too. if you can't see the changing climate even in our "free" country, then look closer. we won't always be able to keep our eyes squeezed shut, attempting to block out reality.

but anyway, that's not the point of this blog. the reason i'm writing is to challenge myself, and to challenge anyone who might read this, to do something about the persecution our brothers and sisters are experiencing. i will be the first to confess that i often don't do even the little things that i could to make a difference. but i want to try harder, and there are several things we can do even from our own sofas in america. of course we can always pray. and we can pray intentionally and specifically. check out,,, and for up-to-date info on Christians who are facing persecution and imprisonment as we speak. but we can do more than just pray - we can write letters. at you can write letters to imprisoned believers, watch it translate the letter right in front of you, print it out, and mail it! can you write one letter a day? one letter a week? one letter a month? VOM reports that sometimes numerous letters from the US prompt prisoners to be realeased earlier than expected.

my question to myself is this - how can i claim to be a follower of Christ, and yet fail to do something as simple as writing a letter to a believer who is suffering for the same Jesus i claim to love so much? i think the only response i can give is to just shut up and write. so that's the challenge i'm giving myself. will you join with me???

This blog is a testimony to the work that God is perpetually acting in my life. I am learning that when I think I've given enough of myself, I've barely begun. My prayer is that as God continues to grab hold of my life, not only will He become greater and I become less, but He will become ultimately supreme and I will vanish. This Holy Disappearance will be a lifelong journey in which, by the grace of God, I will become so wrapped up in Him that all of me will disappear and all of Him will SHINE