Richard Wurmbrand Tortured for Christ

The Voice of the Martyrs began with a dream and a prayer in a solitary cell in Communist Romania. For three years, Richard Wurmbrand sat alone in a prison cell 30 feet below the ground. But in that dark, lonely, cold cell, he cried out to God and dreamed about starting a ministry that would serve Christians in Communist countries. God heard his prayers.

“In the year 1948, on a Sunday while I went to church, I was kidnapped by the Communists. I knew that even in the van of the secret police I am in the hands of the Almighty God, and this gave quiet to my heart.” –Richard Wurmbrand

Several years later, Christians ransomed Richard and his family from their Romanian homeland for $10,000. This was more than what others usually pay for political prisoners.

Within days of his release from a Romanian prison and arrival in the West, he wrote his bestselling book, Tortured for Christ. Soon after that, he established a mission called Jesus to the Communist World, which later became The Voice of the Martyrs (VOM).

Richard’s message was not always welcome. When war protests and pro-Communist rallies were occurring around the United States, Richard boldly took the stage. He spoke out against the crimes being committed by Communist regimes. Although often booed and jeered, he remained undeterred. When asked about his qualifications to speak out in this way, he would strip to the waist to show his 18 torture scars and say, “These marks are my credentials.”

Many Christians found his message hard to believe, and others didn’t care. But he was not seeking approval and applause. He was seeking Christians who were willing to stand with their persecuted brothers and sisters. And over time, he found them.

Every month, Richard published a newsletter. The newsletter shared stories of courageous Christians beaten, imprisoned, and killed because of their faith in Christ. Some refused to read the newsletter, saying it was too depressing or graphic. But Richard had a different perspective. “What will you profit by reading this newsletter? It will enlarge your vision. You need to enlarge your horizons, sharing the joys and sorrows of your fellow men.”

He believed their stories would spur American Christians to a more profound commitment to Christ and His Great Commission.

50 years later, Richard’s dream of helping persecuted Christians and sharing the gospel with their persecutors lives on. The ministry Richard and Sabina set up aids families of martyrs. VOM also equips front-line workers, provides Bibles to Christians in restricted nations, and inspires Christians in America with testimonies of our courageous, persecuted Christians.

Each week a story of one of our Christian brothers and sisters will appear here. I pray that you will be inspired and challenged in your faith.