China - The Battle is Real

"Within the shadow of Thy throne, still may we dwell secure.
Sufficient is Thine arm alone, and our defence is sure."

~ Isaac Watts

I was stunned when I received the news that someone I knew had been killed. Even in this work, where I am inundated with reports of persecution and martyrdoms from around the world on a daily basis, the news hit hard. This was a man I had met, shook hands with, talked with, and prayed with. At the end of our meeting we said “goodbye” and went our separate ways -- I to the relative safety of Canada and he to a country known for its anti-Christian persecution.

"Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds
of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let
the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?"
~ Isaiah 58:6 ESV

It has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words, so this time my words will be few -- allowing the images to speak directly to your heart.

Happy New Year!

The Babe of Bethlehem

"Because of the Lord's great love we are not
consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are
new every morning; great is Your faithfulness."

Lamentations 3:22-23 NIVUK

Man with his head down

The prophet Jeremiah, in and around 600 BC, so lamented the Babylonian decimation of the once beautiful city of Jerusalem that he devoted an entire book of the Bible called Lamentations. In his writings, Jeremiah describes his anguish, except for one sequence of verses in chapter 3 (vs. 19-24), where he interjects God's "hope" into the midst of despair. The Lord's mercies bring newness into Jeremiah's world, while also proclaiming His act of salvation. This provision echoes the reconstructive realities and promises of God which, I would add, as Isaiah foretells below, are not just for "every morning," but every moment of each day, as we reach out for the salvation of the Lord who was born at Christmas to save us all forever.

Holding Fast to Christ

Dear Friends,

I was recently challenged by the Apostle Paul's instructions to Timothy, his protégé in the faith.

"Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses." 1 Timothy 6:12 ESV

I immediately thought of those that we, here at VOMC, have been called to serve; our persecuted brothers and sisters. They are engaged in the good fight of faith by pursuing the Lord and His righteousness despite great opposition. These believers don't strive for or hold onto this life -- with all its distractions and pleasures. Rather, they hold fast to Christ and His eternal promises that are of more worth than earthly pleasures. In doing so, they leave a legacy of God's faithfulness for all who bear witness to their pursuit of godliness.

Equipping New Believers

It's easy to get discouraged and frustrated over the suffering and persecution that many in the family of God are having to go through, especially in countries hostile to the Gospel. Over the years, I've visited fellow Christians in many of these nations who have endured beatings and separation from their earthly families -- in some cases, also the loss of loved ones -- merely for making a decision to follow Jesus. For me, having personally met and interviewed a great number of these persecuted believers, such discouragement is often turned to amazement and encouragement.

Not Just a Key Tag

Greetings dear friend in Christ,

Normally I address you personally and in gratitude for your generous heart in enabling God's work through VOMC. I am grateful to be so blessed with an inspired team to which, in part, I shall now proudly introduce you.

You'll recall that a certain amount of editorial work is accomplished at VOMC under the "website" direction of our webmasters, Jim and Twyla Penner. I now share Twyla's thoughts with you. Open your heart and consider God's great handiwork in and through Hanan's story. Bless those who are in peril for Christ's namesake.

~ VOMC's CEO, Doug McKenzie

Not Just a Key Tag

I have a key tag. It's a green key tag. It's a beautiful key tag. But I'm getting ahead of myself... One of the most heart-wrenching scenarios that VOMC covers is the frequent abduction of Christian girls. They're sold or otherwise forced into marriages that often become their worst nightmare. For quite some time, I prayed that they would be released... and I stopped there. What else could I pray for? I thought the only hope for these girls would be their complete and unconditional release.