Voice of the Martyrs

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The Voice of the Martyrs
Abbreviation VOM
Formation 1967
Purpose Human rights of Christians
Region served
Worldwide

The Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) is an international non-profit organization whose mission is to serve persecuted Christians. The US office was founded in 1967 by Pastor Richard Wurmbrand, who himself spent fourteen years in Communist prison in Romania for his faith in Christ. The US organization today is a $50 million ministry providing practical and spiritual assistance to persecuted Christians in 68 countries. In 2016, VOM-USA completed more than 1,500 ministry projects, providing help to more than 5 million people.

Organization[edit]

There are a number of Voice of the Martyrs organizations around the world. Each mission is autonomous (and not all use the “Voice of the Martyrs” name), but they cooperate through the International Christian Association (ICA). While each country's mission has its own focus and management, they also cooperate through the ICA by sharing information and jointly funding international projects. Each office is funded through donations. There is no world headquarters or main office for Voice of the Martyrs, as each organization is an independent, self-supporting entity.[4]

There are affiliated offices in:

Philosophy[edit]

The ministry of The Voice of the Martyrs is based on Hebrews 13:3, “Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.”[1]

The Voice of the Martyrs is guided by [null]five main purposes, which are:[5]

  1. 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.
  2. To give relief to the families of Christian martyrs in these areas of the world.
  3. To undertake projects of encouragement, helping believers rebuild their lives and Christian witness in countries that have formerly suffered communist oppression.
  4. 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.
  5. To emphasize the fellowship of all believers by informing the world about atrocities committed against Christians and by remembering their courage and faith.

Early history[edit]

The Voice of the Martyrs was founded in 1967 under the name, "Jesus to the Communist World," by Richard Wurmbrand, a Romanian Lutheran 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. His wife, Sabina, was imprisoned for three years, including being held in a labor camp and forced to work on building the Donaukanal. The Wurmbrand family was eventually freed to the West after a ransom was paid for Richard's release.

In 1966, Wurmbrand [2] testified before the Internal Security Subcommittee of the U.S. Senate about the treatment that Christians received under communist governments, raising worldwide 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.

Financial Accountability[edit]

The US office of The Voice of the Martyrs is organized as a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation and reports 95% of revenue is derived from public support. In 2016, 81.8% of donated funds were used towards ministry purposes, which break into the following categories: Persecution Response, Bibles to Captive Nations, Front-Line Ministry, and Fellowship & Inspiration. Of VOM-USA's income, 12 percent was spent on administration and 6.2 percent on fundraising. The ministry is now registered as a Religious Order and as such it no longer annually files form 990 with the IRS. VOM-USA is accredited by the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA), and financial information about VOM can be found on ECFA's web site.[3] Audited financial statements for the past three years are also available at VOM-USA's web site.[4]

Publications[edit]

Each individual mission office publishes a regular newsletter for distribution in their own country. Each issue focuses on stories of Christian persecution, and offers testimonies as well as outlets for readers to get involved with persecuted Christians. The subscription to the 12-16 page newsletter is free.

Each mission also has other efforts to communicate the testimonies of persecuted Christians and stories of God's faithfulness to them. VOM-USA produces a weekly radio program,[5] which is currently heard on more than 700 radio stations across the United States and has reached the top spot on iTunes "Religion and Spirituality" podcast chart. Missions also produce video content,[6] including videos to promote The International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church,[7] which is honored on the first Sunday in November.

Controversy[edit]

In 2012, the executive director of VOM-USA, Tom White, committed suicide after allegations of child abuse were made against him.[8] Within two weeks of his death, VOM-USA mailed a letter to every name on the ministry mailing list to inform readers of his suicide and the allegations that had been made. In the five years since, no other allegations have been raised or other alleged victims come forward.

In 2017, allegations were made public by dismissed employees against the leader of Voice of the Christian Martyrs - Nigeria. As of July 2017, Nigerian authorities are examining the allegations, and a defamation case has been filed against the accusers in Nigerian court. Prior to these allegations becoming public, VOM-USA had cut off funding[9] to VOCM-Nigeria after the mission refused to address overcrowding in a children's home operated by VOCM.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Bible Gateway passage: Hebrews 13:3 - New King James Version". Bible Gateway. Retrieved 2017-07-28. 
  2. ^ "About Richard and Sabina Wurmbrand". www.persecution.com. Retrieved 2017-07-28. 
  3. ^ "The Voice of the Martyrs (Accredited Organization Profile) - ECFA.org". ECFA. Retrieved 2017-07-28. 
  4. ^ "VOM Audited Financial Statements". www.persecution.com. Retrieved 2017-07-28. 
  5. ^ "The Voice of the Martyrs Radio". www.vomradio.net. Retrieved 2017-07-28. 
  6. ^ "VOM-USA's YouTube channel". YouTube. Retrieved 2017-07-28. 
  7. ^ VoiceOfTheMartyrsUSA (2010-03-31), Alex, retrieved 2017-07-28 
  8. ^ "Voice of the Martyrs' Tom White's Death an Apparent Suicide Following Molestation Investigation". News & Reporting. Retrieved 2017-07-28. 
  9. ^ "VOM-USA Statement on Nigeria abuse allegations". www.persecution.com. Retrieved 2017-07-28.