The Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) is the name of several related Christian organizations founded through the influence of Pastor Richard Wurmbrand in such countries as Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States. These VOM missions aim to raise awareness about the many thousands of Christians annually who are killed, tortured, imprisoned or harassed for their beliefs. These organizations also provide practical assistance to persecuted Christians throughout the world. They are funded through donations of supporting churches and individuals. There is no world headquarters for The Voice of the Martyrs, as each organization is an independent, self-supporting entity.
James E. Dau is the President, board member, and relative of the founder and his compensation is just over $150,000. One other family member sits on the board, Mr. Banner. The ministry is organized as a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation and reports 95% of revenue is derived from public support. The ministry reports just over $40 million cash contributions in annual public support. In 2013 non-cash donations of stock securities, clothing, and grain were almost half a million in value.
All VOM missions are members of an international group of autonomous missions which voluntarily cooperate through the International Christian Association (ICA). While each country's mission has its own goals and performs actions on its own, they also cooperate through the ICA in sharing information and jointly funding international projects.
ICA members are guided by five main purposes, stated to be:
To encourage and empower Christians to fulfill the Great Commission in areas of the world where they are persecuted for their involvement in propagating the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We accomplish this by providing Bibles, literature, radio broadcasts and other forms of aid.
To give relief to the families of Christian martyrs in these areas of the world.
To undertake projects of encouragement, helping believers rebuild their lives and Christian witness in countries that have formerly suffered communist oppression.
To equip local Christians to win to Christ those who are opposed to the Gospel in those countries where believers are actively persecuted for their Christian witness.
To emphasize the fellowship of all believers by informing the world about atrocities committed against Christians and by remembering their courage and faith.
The Voice of the Martyrs was founded in 1967 by Richard Wurmbrand, a RomanianLutheran/Anglican pastor, who had worked with the underground church in Romania after it was taken over by the USSR in 1944. As a consequence, he was imprisoned for 14 years for preaching Christianity but was eventually freed to the west after a ransom was paid for his release.
In 1966, Wurmbrand testified before the Internal Security Subcommittee of the US Senate about the treatment that Christians received under Communist governments, raising world-wide interest in Christian persecution, and through his influence several missions were founded around the world to help support Christians who suffered under Communist persecution. After the fall of communism in the Soviet Union and eastern Europe, these missions expanded their focus to include those suffering religious persecution in Islamic, Hindu, and Buddhist societies.
In April 2012 the ministry's executive director, Walter Thomas "Tom" White, committed suicide after a Bartlesville police investigation opened with him as a suspect for child sexual abuse of a ten-year-old female. On March 14, 2014, the son of the founder and longstanding employee of the ministry, Michael Wurmbrand of Torrance, Ca., called for an independent commission to fully investigate the matter within the nonprofit over a period of years as Thomas R. Holland, the police chief was a board member as well as other financial related matters involving the construction of a $28M headquarters building and concerns over a vice president who was an embezzlement felon.
Each mission associated with The Voice of the Martyrs publishes a regular newsletter for distribution in their own country. Each issue focuses on Christian persecution in a specific global region, and offers testimonies as well as outlets for readers to aid those featured.
Kids of Courage, formerly LINK International, is a quarterly 8-page publication of The Voice of the Martyrs-USA for children ages 5–12. Kids of Courage publications also include activity books, a VBS curriculum, and websites.