“At the age of eleven, Mihai began to earn his living as a regular worker. Suffering had produced a wavering in his faith. But after two years of Sabina’s imprisonment he was allowed to see her. He went to the Communist prison and saw her behind iron bars. She was dirty, thin, with calloused hands, wearing the shabby uniform of a prisoner. He scarcely recognized her. Her first words were, “Mihai, believe in Jesus!” The guards, in a savage rage, pulled her away from Mihai and took her out. Mihai wept seeing his mother dragged away. This minute was the minute of his conversion. He knew that if Christ can be loved under such circumstances, He surely is the true Savior.”
This story is just a little piece of what Richard Wurmbrand’s family went through during their persecution in a Communist Romania. Richard Wurmbrand, the founder of The Voice of the Martyr’s organization that helps Christians around the world being persecuted for Christ, was imprisoned for a total of 14 long years while enduring solitary confinement and much physical torture. He wrote about this story of his wife and son in his book “Tortured for Christ”, which he wrote only three days after he was released from prison.
I have recently ordered and received this book in the mail and I gotta say, It’s one of those books you start reading and 20 pages later you realize you haven’t lifted your eyes except to go from the bottom of one page to the top of the next. But it will surely open your eyes and turn your stomach a little as you read about the reality of what many Believers in Jesus are going through right now all around the world. I have lately been realizing that I love Jesus so much more than I have before. And yet as much as I love Him, it seems there are many people in so many countries that must love him so much more!
Take Kim Kyung Il, for example. Originally from North Korea, this man crossed the border to China and soon after became a believer in Jesus. He has helped many refugees and was an overseer of a safe house that discipled over 70 refugees. Much of the group got arrested and while Kim was fleeing, he and his wife were arrested. They both were sent back to North Korea and prison, where his wife lost her baby because of being hit in the stomach. They were released soon after and while she went to South Korea with family, he went back to China to work at another safe house. He was arrested again in 2002 and still remains in prison. He is scheduled to be released this September, but they plan to send him back to North Korea, where he is sure to be executed.
Or take Ibaragi Kun from Japan. He and 25 other Christians were sentenced to die and marched to the place where 26 crosses stood. Kun, being only 12 years old, was taken aside by an official who strongly encouraged him to recant his faith. Kun replied “”Sir, it would be far better if you yourself became a Christian. Then you could go to heaven with me.” The officer stared, startled by the young man’s faith. Finally, Ibaragi asked, “Sir, which cross is mine?” The bewildered official pointed to the smallest of the twenty-six crosses. Young Kun ran to the cross, knelt before it, and embraced it. When the soldiers began to nail his hands and feet to the cross, he did not cry out in pain. He courageously accepted the path God had laid out for him. The crucifixion of the twenty-six Christians on November 23, 1596, was the beginning of a period of intense persecution of Christians in Japan. Over the next seventy years, as many as one million Japanese Christians would be killed for their faith.”
It is people like this that I find so much encouragement in living for Christ. I don’t think I even know what it is to truly live for Christ. I mean, the persecution I fear is of getting a weird look when I bring up God to a stranger, or having someone tell me they don’t want to hear it. I say this with shame…as I should.
Well, part of the reason I am writing about this is to bring an awareness to more people about the silent, innocent sufferers. I have recently found out that I can write letters to those who are imprisoned for their faith in Christ. I can write to the officials who are imprisoning them. I can make a difference and I can let these people know, that even though the prison guards might try to scare them into recanting their faith and will try getting them to say where other Christians in hiding are by telling them they are forgotten, that they are NOT forgotten. And that I , Cheryl Ramsay of the USA, know about them and am so encouraged by them! That I am praying for them. You just go onto http://www.persecution.com, the website for The Voice of the Martyrs, and click on Prisoner Alert. They keep you updated on Christians around the world who are imprisoned and then you can write to that person, or the officials in charge of them. Kim Kyung Il is the most recent prisoner I have received an alert for and I just hope that whoever reads this will have some sort of, even small, urgency in their heart to even just pray for this man that he could be reunited with his wife once again. I think once we really put ourself in someone else’s shoes is when we can truly feel that urgency to pray, and pray with all we’ve got.
Quotes taken from “Tortured for Christ” and “Extreme Devotion”.