Under the heading of “SET FREE,” I received this email from The Voice of the Martyrs, this past Monday, February 27. This is a story we have been keeping up with, and read the announcement with great joy:
“Czech national and long-time VOM staff member Petr Jasek has been released from prison in Sudan, following a pardon issued by Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir.”
Here is a recap of the story, from 2 emails we received:
“After 445 days in prison in Sudan, Czech national Petr Jasek has been set free. He flew out of Sudan Sunday afternoon along with Czech Republic Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek. Jasek, arrested in December 2015, had served as VOM’s Africa Regional Director. He was reunited with his wife and two grown children last night in Prague.
We are so thankful for all those who prayed for Petr and his family. Many also wrote letters to the Sudanese government on behalf of Petr and two Sudanese men sentenced with him. THANK YOU!
From the earliest days of his imprisonment, Petr said many times, “God holds the key to my cell.” We are thankful that God used that key to open the door, and we pray that He will also open the cell doors to allow the two Sudanese men, one of whom is a pastor, also to go free.
Petr was arrested in December 2015, after visiting Sudanese Christians and helping one of them with a small gift to cover medical expenses. Last month a Sudanese court found him guilty of “waging war against the state,” “violating restrictions in military areas,” “spreading rumors to defame the state,” “espionage” and “inciting strife between communities.” He was sentenced to 24 years in prison. Since that sentence was announced, negotiations have been ongoing between the Czech government and the government of Sudan.
Also: Pray also for Petr Jasek and his family as they reunite and as Petr begins to recover from the physical toll that 14 months in prison has wrought.
“I was in five different prisons, each worse than the last,” Petr said. “I was placed in group cells with drug traffickers, violent criminals and radical Muslims – including ISIS members. I was deprived of sleep for days in a cell with no running water, where mice ran over my body every time I lay down.”
As a career field leader with VOM, Petr has devoted his life to serving our persecuted Christian family. For more than 15 years, he has traveled continually and served in the toughest mission fields in the world.
Inspired by years of serving Christians imprisoned for their faith, he felt honored to be able to serve God while himself the prisoner of a brutal Islamic regime. He embraced his imprisonment as an opportunity to share the gospel with Sudanese, Eritreans and radical Muslims who are normally inaccessible to missionaries.
“I found that I was peaceful and joyful in prison, and that is a miracle that only God can do,” Petr said. “I can say that I was experiencing an amazing time with the Lord. My prayer was that I wanted to have the right words to speak at any time so that everything I said would be for the glory of God and touching the hearts of the other prisoners.” During his almost 15 months in prison, Petr shared the gospel with many and saw several come to saving faith in Christ.
Pray also for all of our Christian brothers and sisters in Sudan. They have become bolder – not more cautious – in their witness for Christ since Petr and the others were imprisoned, even singing hymns outside the courthouse during our brothers’ trial.“
Here is a direct link to The Voice of the Martyrs website, which will include information on how you can help those persecuted for their faith, and how you can help their families:
“Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; [and] them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.”