Face to Face
with Persecuted Christians

Sydney, April 19, 1997

The Voice of the Martyrs held their Annual Mission Celebration Day at the Caringbah Baptist Church, Sydney, on Saturday April 19 with guest speakers who have personally been involved in persecution situations.

The General Manager, Andrew Tuck, presented the background of the organisation, which now covers more than 50 years of serving the Persecuted Church and the prospects of what is ahead.

"Every time a Christian receives an illegal Bible, we know we have gone where Christ would have us go," said Mr Tuck. His wife, Chantini Tuck, the Administration Manager, welcomed those who had attended.

This was the first time such an annual meeting had been held in Sydney, rather than near their Penrith office. It was also the first time the meeting had been held on a Saturday, instead of a Sunday afternoon. Already there is talk of preparations for a whole day's programme next year, so as to cover the work more comprehensively.

The International Secretary and Australia's Executive Director, Merv Knight, carried out a "live interview" with Brother Alexander in Hong Kong who described the situation there as "suicide or survive", in view of the return to China on July 1.

Mr Knight introduced Vietnamese pastors Truong Quang Minh and Huynh van Hieu who then told of "very few are interested in reaching out to help Christians back in Vietnam". Church growth is taking place, in the midst of persecution, according to these men, especially in the mountain areas. Although meetings are allowed in the cities, training of future leaders is not permitted. The radio ministry among the Hmong mountain people by FEBC in Manila was singled out for special praise, as their programmes have encouraged and strengthened the believers.

Mrs Bianca Adler, the VOM representative in New Zealand, told of the work she carried out in Romania. Her stories of distributing Gospel tracts on trains, as they were leaving the platform, meant that they were received and read even before the officials, usually in the front carriages, realised what was happening.

Dawn Goodfellow presented several musical items throughout the afternoon, including one song that seemed to sum up the work - "Teach me to take one day at a time".

Mr Knight introduced the special guest of the programme, Pastor Robak Hoospianmer, the brother of the Iranian Christian martyr, Bishop Haik Hovsepian-Mehr whose murder was broadcast and published around the world, in 1994. Pastor Robak now resides in Los Angeles, but was flown to Australia specifically for this meeting.

His testimony of losing his employment for witnessing among Muslim troops, being in jail for seven years and his challenge to those present to be either "followers or disciples" left no room for complacency.

"Do you have any persecution in Sydney (for being a Christian)?" asked Pastor Robak. "If not, you're not preaching the Gospel!"

He told of persecution in the USA, where Christians are not allowed to take religion into the schools, although a whole month "is given over to Halloween"! Here was a man who could tell of his own, personal experiences in prison because he is a Christian, which brought the fact of the persecution being experienced by others around the world, right into a Sydney rally.

Challenging projects being undertaken by the Voice of the Martyrs in middle eastern and Asian countries were shared for prayer and support by Mr Knight. The closing offering was specifically for the Persecuted Church.

The Voice of the Martyrs is indeed in touch with special needs around the world and certainly brought those needs right home, during their Annual Mission Celebration Day.

For further information and support, contact VOICE OF THE MARTYRS, PO Box 598, Penrith NSW 2751, Australia or telephone (047) 21-8221.

This article is published courtesy of Ramon A Williams, The Religious Media Agency. If you would like to contact him, email Ramon A Williams.


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