Preacher

St Lukes
A few weeks ago the priest at Mom’s church asked me if I ever preach. Without thinking or hesitating, I said yes. In truth, I’ve only ever preached in cyberspace (AKA, my blog), but this was an amazing opportunity, and I wasn’t going to turn it down.
So yesterday was the day, and what a perfect Sunday for me to preach: Presentation Sunday. The Gospel passage for Presentation Sunday is Luke 2:22-40:

When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, the parents of Jesus brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male shall be designated as holy to the Lord”), and they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”
Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Guided by the Spirit, Simeon came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying, “Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.”
And the child’s father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary, “This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul too.”
There was also a prophet, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped there with fasting and prayer night and day. At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.
When they had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.

So here is my sermon for Presentation Sunday:

Living in Breathless Anticipation

I am a missionary, based in Milan, Italy and called for all of Europe. What I do is encourage missionaries because Europe is a very difficult and discouraging mission field. I work with missionaries and pastors of all Christian denominations. When I started ministry in 2010, the problem was how to find missionaries. The answer was simple: go where missionaries hang out—churches. So it became my habit to attend at least two church services each Sunday.
I love going to church. I know that some people come to church, and once a week is about all that they can stand, but I love church. I attend services from the whole range of Christianity: Catholic high masses to chandelier-swinging Pentecostal services, and everything in between. Of course, I have my own preference, which lies somewhere in the middle, but no matter what kind of expression of worship, I love going to church. I love going to church because no matter where I go or what the worship is like, God always shows up. Sometimes it’s my favorite song or my favorite passage from the Bible. Sometimes it’s a nugget in the sermon and every once in a while, it’s a whole sermon that feels like it was a personal message to me from God. So I love going to church because God always shows up for me.
So I can relate to Simeon and Anna. They were at the temple every day. They each had a promise from God that they would see His Messiah, the Christ. So they did what I do: they came to the Temple every day with the breathless anticipation of seeing God’s Messiah. And because of their expectation of meeting God, I believe that God showed up each day for them, like He does for me. So every day for years, for decades, they came to the temple in breathless anticipation, meeting God in the little things until that day finally came when they saw Him in the face to face.
But my story is not over. We are living in the time when Jesus could return. According to Bible prophecy, His return is likely to be in our lifetime. So we should not only come to church, expecting to meet God, but we should wake up each day with breathless anticipation: is today the day? It could be!

So yesterday, on a sunny Super Bowl Sunday, I gave the sermon at both morning services in the sweet little Episcopal Church around the corner from home. It was wonderful, getting the opportunity to preach. My sermon was well-received. God is good!

The Not-So-Funhouse Image

This morning during contemplative prayer, I had an epiphany—and what interesting timing, since this is the time of Epiphany on the Christian calendar. I’ve been harassed by spirits of rejection and fear for many years now. And I realized this morning that the image they have made me believe about myself is a distorted one. Recently that fear/rejection image caused me particular problems in my relationships—all because I didn’t understand that the people involved love me. How could they love me when I was having such trouble loving myself?

In a recent post, He Loves Me, I wrote about basking in God’s Niagara Falls of love, feeling the physical sensation of His love falling, falling, falling on me. Even though the physical sensation passed, His love never stopped falling. But I need to keep reminding myself of His love until it becomes integrated into my thinking. And although I’ve read it many, many times, 1 John 4:18 became a rhema word for me today:

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.

I always remember “perfect love casts out fear,” but I had somehow forgotten all the rest of that verse. Fear and rejection had for so long poisoned my thinking that I had come to have a self-image as distorted as a funhouse mirror.

Today I am taking a hammer to that not-so-funhouse mirror. Today I chose to embrace God’s love and a new (true!) image of myself: loved, accepted, forgiven, and precious. God is good!

Cross-Culture

I used to dream of being the next Billy Graham, filling Heaven with new believers. But evangelism is not my gifting. In fact, my testimony (shared in detail in my latest book, Graceful Flight) is one that most unbelievers simply cannot relate to at all. So I share my faith whenever prompted by the Holy Spirit, but otherwise I stick to the ministry that God has given me: to encourage His people.
A couple of weeks ago, Paul, an acquaintance here at the retirement residence, started sharing his passion for mythical creatures with me. It’s a passion that I not only don’t share, but can’t even relate to. I have to admit that most mythical creatures are hideous, disgusting, and evoke a demonic association. Paul is loud because of severe hearing loss, fiercely competitive, and hyperactive. It would be very easy to dismiss him as an insensitive creep, and I was prepared to do so. But then the Lord showed me that in reality Paul is very sweet.
Paul buys shirts on e-bay with pictures his mythical creatures. Paul loves to find bargains on e-bay. He is constantly finding beautiful, unique costume jewelry for our neighbors at incredibly cheap prices. This has made him very popular among the women here. They tell him what they are looking for and he finds it for them. With prices starting at 99 cents, Paul is obviously not making any money. One day I remembered the Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman, and realized that Paul’s love language is receiving gifts. He does it all as an act of love for the people of our community.
Paul’s girlfriend, Beverly, recently had a death in the family that hit her very hard. He has been very supportive, trying to help her through all this. His kind of support has been both good (going to chapel services with her) and bad (buying and consuming large amounts of wine with her).
Paul and I usually cross paths in the computer room before breakfast. I didn’t know him well, but we had played team trivia together. After realizing about his love language, I started to like Paul, despite the obsession with mythical creatures. Then one day he came into the computer room and told me about hearing from his college roommate. He was really excited and happy about reconnecting with an old friend. But then he proceeded to tell me a dirty story about his friend’s girlfriend. He wasn’t looking at me, so he couldn’t see my expression, and I knew that it was pointless to try and interrupt, so I just tried to ignore what he was saying and continue with my computer work instead.
This morning while I was thinking about the encounter, I realized that when dealing with non-Christians, we are crossing cultures. Just as I had to learn Italian culture and customs, and adapt accordingly, so in dealing with Paul, I’ve had to learn his culture and customs. Paul came by our apartment recently asking if we had a portable CD player that he and Beverly could borrow. Much to my surprise, Mom had one that I hadn’t even known about. We loaned it to him until his is repaired. The next day, Beverly came up to me all smiles and said, “You made a little boy (meaning Paul) very happy!” A few minutes later, Paul came to me and gave me a perfume bottle with dragons all over it. He was so happy, and this was his way of thanking me. Although I think the thing is ugly, I graciously accepted it.
The next time I saw Paul and Beverly was when the church choir from My Misfit Church came and sang for the residents. The choirmaster passed out hymnals, and we sang along with the choir, including Paul and Beverly. One song we sang was When the Saints go Marching In. In a moment of insane inspiration I hopped to my feet and started marching in time with the music. I felt like a complete fool, but at the same time, it was fun. Afterwards several people came up to tell me what fun and an inspiration I was, marching around like an idiot. Beverly was one of them. She had tears in her eyes because they had also sang Amazing Grace, which had been sung at the funeral. But she also couldn’t keep a smile from her lips as she talked about my nutty march.
The thing about dealing cross-culturally with people is that you have to be flexible and willing to step out of your comfort zone. These days, the gap between us and the rest of the world is as wide as the ocean. Cross-cultural ministry can happen in your own town, and even in your own neighborhood. God is good!

This is War!

Lately, I have received prophecies about letting go of the past. I have worked on it, prayed about it, made the decision to do so, and reminded myself many times about that decision. But it wasn’t until this morning that the Lord revealed to me how important it is to truly let go of the past.
What He showed me is this: we have an enemy who hates us more than you can imagine. He wants nothing more than to destroy us—all humans, but especially Christians. And he is sneaky and cunning, highly intelligent, very dangerous, and he’s invisible most of the time, but able to manifest himself to look like an angel of light, among other things.
The Lord showed me that every time that I react to attacks by reverting to victim mentality, I make myself vulnerable to more and more devastating attacks. I also make myself less and less effective. Imagine a soldier that has been wounded. If the soldier sees the enemy coming and, remembering the painful wound, goes ducking for cover. This allows the enemy to advance, and the soldier actually ends up helping the enemy hurt (or kill) him, and his fellow soldiers.
One of the most devastating blows that our enemy has dealt the Church (the Body of Christ) is with the doctrine that God wants to bless and prosper us. God does want to bless and prosper us, but that is not His purpose or ours. If we focus on what we can get in this world, we’re going to lose everything. Again, if we think of it in terms of warfare, imagine a whole army of soldiers who joined up just so that they could wear the uniform and get the pay and healthcare benefits. When the fighting starts they run away because they don’t want their nice uniforms messed up.
We cannot afford to keep feeding new Christians the pabulum that God wants to bless and prosper them. First of all, although it’s true it’s not the whole truth. If we are not willing to serve, God will not bless us, and any prosperity will be short-lived. And second, concentrating on what we can get in this world weakens the Gospel and its effectiveness.
We’ve got to wake up. There’s a lot at stake, including our children and grandchildren. We need to be praying for revival and for God’s perspective on our lives. We’ve got to learn to fight to win, which means learning to pray to win. Revive us, O Lord! God is good!

Christmas in the Army

redKettle270w

Two years ago, when it was just Mom and me for Christmas in Abilene, she suggested serving dinner at the Salvation Army (see Serving up Love on a Plate). So we did, and it was fun and rewarding, and we met a lot of nice people. So this year, when it looked like it would be just the two of us again, we decided to help out at the Salvation Army here in Asheville. In fact, two of our neighbors here in the retirement residence are members at the Salvation Army. Then we found out that Kevin, my younger son, was coming to spend Christmas with us. When we told him about our plan, he wanted to come help, too. We had served dinner back in Abilene, but this time we were assigned to help out in the kitchen. Our assignment was dessert for a few hundred people. We were led to the dishwashing area of the kitchen (out of the way of people who were doing the actual cooking). There was a pile of pie boxes and we were instructed to cut up pies, put them on disposable plates, wrap and stack them on trays. After a few false starts and bumping into each other in the small space, we developed a system that worked beautifully: I cut the pies, Mom put the slices onto plates, and Kevin wrapped and stacked them: pumpkin, apple, pecan, and icebox pie—a variety on each tray. When Petey, the cook, checked and saw our progress, he brought out some cakes to be sliced: carrot cake, sock-it-to-me cake, red velvet, and brownies. A few times we needed to seek Petey for help because we needed more trays, or ran out of plastic wrap, that sort of thing, but mostly we functioned very well together. A few times I got too far ahead of Mom, which gave me the opportunity to go throw out the pie boxes. At other times Mom got too far ahead of Kevin and helped him wrap the desserts. Kevin, being the last guy in our assembly line, never got ahead, but he never complained. Before we knew it, Petey came back and said, “I think we’ve got enough now. Youse can all go home now.” And he thanked us for our help. Mom and I hadn’t thought that anything could beat serving Christmas dinner for fun, but this had really brought us together in loving cooperation for a good cause. For me, it was one of the best things about Christmas. The others being God’s amazing gift to me (see yesterday’s post), and having Kevin here with us. God is good!

My Christmas Gift from God

I woke up early this morning from a dream in which my ex-husband and I were in a living room somewhere.  I don’t remember details, but in the dream I felt only compassion and agape love for him.

He had been verbally abusive to me, and had betrayed and hurt me very badly (emotionally).  When I left him, I was literally running for my life, being in grave danger from suicidal thoughts.  Since then we have had no contact and I’ve had no contact with his family, either.  There is no hope for reconciliation of the marriage, but I had hoped for reconciliation for the sake of our sons (at some point in the future, there is the possibility that our paths could cross at an important life event, like the wedding of one of our sons.  If that happens, I would like for it to be a pleasant meeting).

This past fall, I was traveling in Texas, and specifically through the town where he lives with another woman.  On passing through that town, I had hoped not to run into him.  That night God gave me a dream in which I was reassured that I would not run into him.

This dream of compassion for my ex revealed to me that I have truly forgiven him, and hold no bitterness or resentment against him.  Not long ago, I had received two prophecies which were fulfilled (at least in part) by this dream of forgiveness.  The first one that came to mind was given to me just about a month ago:

Do you feel My expression of joy over you?  If you do, then you know that I have been with you, that I have spoken to you, and I have encouraged you.  So, let this moment rest upon you as the mantle of anointing for the season that is ahead.  I would have you embrace the season that is ahead.  I would have you embrace this season with joy and faith.  And, I would have you to march forward in triumph because you know that you will win the battles that are necessaryYou will receive your reward in this season.  For, I have chosen this time to demonstrate My love for you by the giving of gifts, says the Lord God Almighty, (emphasis mine).

And before I go on to the second one, I’ll explain that part about the “battles that are necessary.”  We tend to think of battles at Christmastime as being a battle against your negative cousin Daisy or crabby old uncle Clyde.  But I have been fighting a different kind of battle these days.  That battle is against myself—specifically, the old mindset that hears criticism and turns it into self-condemnation, among others.  In the book mentioned in my last blog post (A More Excellent Way to be in Health by Henry Wright), old mindsets like mine actually are far more sinister, sometimes causing disease through the sin (separation from God) that they reveal themselves to be.  So I have been praying and working through these old mindsets, bringing negative thinking and self-condemnation into line with God’s Word.

The other prophecy was the one I wrote about in my post The Table:

God says that He has put a big Table before you, and it is full of everything you could ever want or need.

I had become overwhelmed by the task of speaking to the American churches about missions in Europe.  I began desperately to seek the Lord, weeping and begging for Him to show up.  Then I remembered the table full of everything I could ever want or need.  And I said, “Lord, the gifts are great, but I don’t want any gifts!  I want You!  I need You!”  Then God spoke, and in a very tender voice He said: “My child, I am in every gift!  I am on the table!  Every gift is simply more of Me!  Why do you think I keep inviting you to take everything you need, everything you want from the table?  Because I am everything that is on the table!  Take all you want of Me!”

In reflecting on the dream and that prophecy—especially the part about gifts—I realized that God had indeed given me a gift: more of himself.  Every time I win the battle against my flesh, I take on more of His likeness—thank You, Father!  It’s a bit big, but I hope to grow into it!  God is good!

He Loves Me!

Yesterday I had another struggle with a terrible headache.  It might have been a migraine because of the nausea, but it was very untypical of migraines.  What was typical was that the pain was horrific and lasted all day.

When I finally started feeling better I looked up migraines in the book A More Excellent Way to be in Health by Henry Wright.  What it says about migraines is that migraines are caused by guilt, inner conflict and self-hatred, and fear.

This planet has been infected with sin.  And the longer that we have spent on this infected planet, the more that sin’s infection affects our physical bodies.  Sickness and death were never part of God’s plan.  God made us as immortal beings.  He designed our bodies in divine perfection: all our parts to fit together perfectly, to function perfectly, and to last forever.  But sin gave the devil the right to put disease on us: disease in our bodies, disease in our minds, disease in our relationships.

For a long time I have struggled with the problem of why everyone is not healed.  I had thought that it was a matter of faith, and in part I believe that.  But there is more to it than faith because lots of people pray in great faith for themselves and for others, and some are healed and some aren’t.  There is not one single instance in the Bible of someone asking God for healing and being refused healing.

Some people point to Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” as an instance of healing refused, but a careful reading of that passage (2 Corinthians 12:6-10), particularly verse 7, which spells it out as a messenger of satan.  Messengers in the Bible are angels.  I believe that they get confused and spiritualize the thorn as some kind of illness because verses 9 and 10 use the word infirmities is used in the King James Version.  But the more reliable NIV translation has it properly translated as weaknesses.

So since the Bible doesn’t show God refusing to heal people or giving them diseases to teach them patience in suffering, why do we accept illnesses?  As children of God, we are heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ.  Sickness and death are not part of our inheritance, so why do we accept them?

According to Henry Wright 80% of disease has a spiritual root.  As with migraines, that root is a separation from God (and accepting sickness in the belief that it’s just life—think about how people say something about “my cancer,” for example), separation from self (self-hatred), and separation from others (bitterness, envy, unforgiveness, etc.).

So this morning after a good night’s rest, I spent time in prayer and meditation on all this.  I was reminded of what God did for me a few years ago.  I was going through a hard time, and I happened to see a sermon on God.tv about how very, very much God loves us.  The preacher said, “Think of God’s love continuously falling, falling, falling on you like Niagara Falls.”  I’ve been to Niagara Falls, and pictures don’t do it justice.  There is a place on the Canadian side where you can go through a tunnel and see the falls from underneath.  From that vantage point, you can see how much water is continuously going over the falls.  From above it looks like a lot, but from underneath, you can see that it is really a spectacular amount of water—like a whole lake—going over every single minute of every day.  So when he said that, I closed my eyes and thought about God’s love falling on me like Niagara Falls.  Immediately I felt the sweet weight of that love falling on my body.  In fact it was too much to take sitting up, so I laid myself down on the couch and basked in His love, feeling it in my physical body.  And I laid there for a full two hours, feeling the weight and force of His love.  It was amazing.

As I meditated on all this, I realized that God loves me as tenderly as a doe with her fawn and as fiercely as a she-bear with her cub.  When people mistreat us, it’s easy to forget that even if they are people who love us, they do not accurately reflect God’s love.  Other people’s love is conditional.  So is God’s love, but I’ve already met the condition: accepting His Son, Jesus Christ.  And nothing can ever separate me from that love.  Nothing!  God is good!

Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem

Yesterday I went to Pastor Ivan’s church in the kindergarten.  Some of the newer team members were surprised and a bit dismayed to hear that I was going to a different church than the team.  But the head of OCE (Operation Capitals of Europe – oceprayer.com) was not dismayed.  I have joined the team often enough that he knows I don’t go off on my own without a very good reason.  I had already told him about the visit Wednesday to Pastor Ivan’s church and praying for the pastor, so I think he wasn’t surprised to hear that I wanted to return to encourage the pastor some more.

It encouraged Pastor Ivan very much to see me there, and he asked me to speak briefly to the church about my ministry.  One surprise was the musical talent in that little church.  I don’t often hear music that good in much bigger churches.  I suggested to Zuzana that they should cut a CD.  Books and CD’s make good fundraisers, and I believe that this little church is going to grow.  They will need to be ready for growth.

Zuzana told me that my visit encouraged the whole church.  Afterwards we caught up with the rest of the team for lunch and then we went to the castle.  At the castle we broke up into prayer teams for various concerns: business, families & children, art & culture, Israel, and an intercessory team that remained in the castle and prayed for all the prayer teams.

I chose Israel, so we took a walk to the site of the biggest synagogue in Bratislava.  It had been right beside the largest cathedral—St. Marten’s also known as the Dome of St. Marten.  There was only one other synagogue right beside a cathedral in all of Europe, the one by Notre Dame.  The Communists tore down the synagogue to build a bridge, but also to send a message about religion.

It was a very good time of prayer, and the anointing was so strong that at one point a blind man’s guide dog led him right into the middle of our prayer circle.  At another point a man with a German Shepherd walked past us.  The dog barked and barked, but interestingly, he was muzzled in a wire muzzle.  Since one of the Slovaks was praying at the time, I didn’t want to interrupt to point this out, but I think it is significant—prophetically showing that the Nazi spirit would never again threaten the Slovakian Jews.

One woman prophesied over me, saying that I have been called to be a blessing to the Slovakian believers, and to the unbelievers as well.  I confirmed that my calling is to support the Body of Christ here in Slovakia and throughout Europe, and through them to reach the lost.  So it was very cool to be confirmed by this prophetic word.  And I have a Slovakian word for how it made me feel:  FEE-ha!  I don’t know how it’s spelled, but that’s it phonetically.  It means WOW!  It’s my new favorite foreign word.

Afterward we joined the team of intercessors that had prayed for all the teams.  They went to Slavin, the World War II monument and cemetery, atop the other hill in Bratislava.  There we found 5 young skaters (for those over 30, that’s skateboarders).  One woman (not one of our group) had just finished hollering at the skaters, telling them that it was disrespectful to be skating in a cemetery.  Instead of leaving, they simply sat and waited for her to leave, and that is how we found them.

Upon arriving there, I felt an almost overwhelming desire to dance.  Someone pointed out the woman and said that dancing in a cemetery would probably offend her, too.  But, since others also felt moved to dance, we decided that the thing to do was to dance in a quiet and subdued way.  As we worshiped and prayed, we danced mostly with our hands and swaying, but the desire to dance became stronger and stronger for all of us, until it broke out in a joyous dance.  I think it is perfectly acceptable to dance in a Nazi cemetery.  Dance is a sign of victory, and the Kingdom of God is indeed victorious over the Nazi spirit.  Hallelujah!

When we finished, we turned our attention to the skaters, who had remained just a few feet from our group.  They had seen and heard all of our worship and prayers.  One man, who I call Dancing Joe, approached them and began to tell them about Jesus.  One woman told me that he has such a funny, friendly style that it completely disarms people, and they love to listen to Dancing Joe.  The skaters laughed together with him, and although they just shrugged when he asked if he could pray for them, DJ took their shrugs to mean OK, so he prayed for them.  And we left with them all smiling and waving goodbye to us.  The crabby woman had left, so they began to skate again.

One member of the team had brought a shofar with him, and he was stopped by an American Jew, who asked what our group was doing.  So he told the man about finding his Messiah, Yeshua (he’s a Messianic Jew).

It was a lovely day!  I feel such hope for Slovakia.  God is good!

The Scars of Communism

Greetings from southern Hungary!

I came here at the suggestion of a friend who is a pastor in Romania.  I am here to help with a children’s summer camp program, so I was prepared to rough it, maybe sleep in a barracks with lots of giggling girls.  Instead I’ve found myself welcomed into their home, and tucked into a very cozy room with my own private bathroom, and a door to the beautiful courtyard garden.  And in the garden I saw three kittens.  As many of you know, my kitty, Boo-Boo died in January, so the sight of kittens in the garden was especially welcoming.

The summer camp is sort of a vacation Bible school day camp at the church.  There are probably about 75 children involved and about 30 adults and teens.  I was asked to speak to the entire group about who I am and what I do (with translation).  So I put together a slide show presentation of simple words and pictures to introduce myself and my ministry.  I also brought Prayer Bear, my traveling companion/pillow, and let the children play with him while I spoke.

This is Me

Just before leaving Milan, I had just finished the book I was reading, and wanted to bring something to read on the plane to Budapest.  So I grabbed the book that was at the top of the box marked “books” that I had finally gotten out of storage after a year.  It was a book I’ve been meaning to read for a couple of years, but simply never had the time.  But, as I’ve noted before, God has a way of putting just the right book in your hand at just the right time.  This book is “Tortured for Christ” by Richard Wurmbrand.  He wrote it in 1967 about being imprisoned and tortured for 14 years because of his Christian belief—in Communist Romania.

I think I had avoided it before because I didn’t really want to read details about torture.  But the book actually has very few details about torture because Pastor Wurmbrand wrote:

The tortures were sometimes horrible.  I prefer not to speak too much about those through which I have passed; it is too painful.  When I do, I cannot sleep at night.

So what is the book about, if not torture?  It’s about the Underground Church behind the Iron Curtain, when atheism was forced upon the population.  The Underground Church actually thrived on some of the very tactics used to quench the Christian faith, which makes this a very good read, indeed.

And as I spend these days with the precious Hungarian children, I find myself thanking God over and over again that they are allowed to learn about Jesus.  Their grandparents were not allowed to “infect” their children with Christianity, though their own faith was sometimes tolerated.  At age nine, Pastor Wurmbrand’s son was essentially “orphaned” by his parents’ imprisonment.  He was homeless and alone.  The people who dared to help him or take him in were eventually found out and thrown into prison, too.

I think the knowledge that his son was on his own in the world at such a young age probably was as bad as any physical torture he suffered at the time.  His son eventually became the first director of Voice of the Martyrs.  You can find out more about the organization, and how you can help persecuted Christians around the world at: www.persecution.com.

Talk about non-conformists!