Category Archives: HEROES OF THE FAITH

Just that: Heroes of the faith. Includes biographies, videos, etc.

June 29: “Day of the Christian Martyr” and the Groenewald Family

Saturday, June 29, 2019 has been designated as “Day of the Christian Martyr,” to honor the legacy of those who have sacrificed their lives for the advancement of the Gospel. June 29th is believed by church historians to be the day that the Apostle Paul was executed, on the Appian Way, in Rome. This year, Christians around the world will take time on Saturday and throughout the weekend to honor believers, like Paul, who sacrificed their lives for the gospel message and the advancement of Christ’s Kingdom.

This year, Werner, Rodé and Jean-Pierre Groenewald’s names will be inscribed onto the Martyrs Memorial in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, at the worldwide headquarters of “Voice of the Martyrs.”
In 2014, Werner, Jean-Pierre and Rodé Groenewald were killed when Taliban fighters attacked their home.

In 2003, Werner and his wife, Hannelie Groenewald, left their comfortable life in South Africa, when God called them to Afghanistan. Along with their two children, Rodé and Jean-Pierre, they served the Afghan people; Hannelie as a doctor, and Werner in discipleship and leadership development.

It wasn’t a popular decision. Some in their own families argued that God would never call them to take their children to such a war-torn and dangerous place. But, they accepted God’s calling. In addition to being a wife and mother, Hannelie became known as a teacher, doctor, and cook in a country not known for welcoming foreigners-especially women.

It was November 29, 2014: At about 3:30 in the afternoon, three Islamists broke into their apartment and shot to death Werner, Jean-Pierre and Rodé. After a two-hour standoff with police, one of the attackers detonated a bomb inside the building, killing himself and others, while the other two attackers were killed in an ensuing skirmish.

Hannelie’s life was spared because she wasn’t there: She had been called to the site of a U.N. meeting to provide medical care in case of an attack … which was anticipated … but, no one knew where the attack would take place …

We’d like to share these links with you, in addition to Hannelie’s own testimony via this video from Voice of the Martyrs:

First, here’s a link where you can read the full story of the Groenewalds.
In addition, you can view this video, and, also, there will be a link to enable you to hear the MARTYRS MEMORIAL INDUCTION CEREMONY, beginning at 9 a.m. CDT on Saturday, via Facebook Live, or you will be able to hear the recording of the ceremony beginning at 10 a.m.
Here’s the link:
MARTYRS MEMORIAL INDUCTION CEREMONY

Another link I’d like to share:
This is a direct link to VOM Radio (Voice of the Martyrs weekly radio program), where you can hear Hannelie Groenewald sharing the heartbreak of losing her family, and her testimony of the goodness of God to sustain her through her grief:
VOM Radio

Now, we share the video. We are honored to support the efforts of Voice of the Martyrs:

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Honoring Joni and Friends Radio: “Shining a light in Dark Places”

Hi Friends:

This was the original story I was going to share, until I discovered the “My Story” video, which we shared first.

In 1982, Joni Eareckson Tada began recording the inspirational “Joni  and Friends” radio program, to provide encouragement, biblical insights, and disability awareness.
This is a four-minute broadcast, hosted by Joni Eareckson Tada, which airs Monday-Friday.

Quoting from her website, “Her contagious joy and unwavering faith provide hope for those who find themselves faced with life’s crippling blows.”

Over 35 Years.
Over 9,000 radio messages.
Heard on over 1500 radios stations across the United States, and in 36 countries around the world.

Broadcasting to people who need “a hope found only in Jesus.”

Joni also hosts a shortened radio program called Diamonds in the Dust. This 1-minute program offers nuggets of encouragement to listeners worldwide. In 2011, “Diamonds in the Dust” won “Short Form Radio Program of the Year” from National Religious
Broadcasters.

Joni and Friends is a ministry dedicated to extending the hope and love of Jesus Christ to people affected by disability around the world.

I’ll never look at Luke, Chapter 14, the same.

Joni Eareckson Tada: We Love Joni … “and Friends”

Hi Friends:

2019 marks the 40th year, having begun in 1979, that the ministry of “Joni and Friends” has addressed “the needs of families affected by disability.”

For years, we’ve been honored to include, as one of the “Ministries We Support,” the work and ministry of Joni Eareckson Tada.

Everything that “they are about” begins with “ministry.” On their website, Joni and Friends, under “What we Do,” it is simply this:
“We share the hope of the Gospel and give practical help to people impacted by disability worldwide.”

In 1982, Joni began recording the inspirational “Joni and Friends” radio program, to provide encouragement, biblical insights, and disability awareness.

Later, Joni began a 1-minute radio program called “Diamonds in the Dust,” to offer encouragement to listeners worldwide. In 2011, “Diamonds in the Dust” won “Short Form Radio Program of the Year” from National Religious Broadcasters.

In 1994, Wheels for the World is founded to share the Gospel and provide mobility to people affected by disability in developing countries. The first wheelchair was provided in Ghana, West Africa.

Ministries include both “Family Retreats” and “International Family Retreats,” which provide a haven for special needs families. Here, families are cared for, encouraged, and rejuvenated in a Christ-centered, fully accessible camp environment.

Another ministry is “Cause 4 Life,” which works to equip “students to become leaders in disability ministry to transform lives through the Gospel, impact their churches and communities for Christ, and advocate for justice, freedom, and equality for people affected by disability.”

In 2007, “The Christian Institute on Disability” was founded to “provide higher education and training on disability-related issues from a biblical perspective.”

As an “old radio guy,” my original intention was to celebrate the “Joni and Friends” Radio Program, which just reached the 35-Year Milestone. However … I was blessed to find this video, which we now share, in which Joni, herself, narrates the story of her life and ministry, in a video entitled “My Story-It’s Personal.”

In her own words, after the horrific accident, how, since she couldn’t physically end her life, how she cried out,
“God, if I can’t die, then show me how to live.”

How she learned that “God permits what He hates, to accomplish that which He loves.”

You’ll never look at Luke, Chapter 14, the same.

I have been honored that my writing, it has been written, has the ability “to reach the deepest of human emotions, in a way which can’t be described, only felt.” This is exactly the way the voice of Joni Eareckson Tada affects me. The love, the humility, the genuineness and sincerity in her voice, just … just … reaches me. In a way I can’t explain.

I’m not ashamed to admit that when I watch this video, when I hear her voice, my soul is touched in a way I can’t explain … as it was, for me, the first time I picked up a Gospel Tract, so many years ago, which featured a picture of a young girl, an artist, paintbrush in mouth, and I read her story. Maybe it’s because, when I first read that Gospel Tract, it wasn’t long after I had, due to injury, thought I would never walk correctly again; even years before that, how I had been pulled out of a car wreck which should have left me paralyzed, at best … Maybe it’s because I recognize the Spirit which resides in her … Just reading these words I’ve just written … I feel that same Spirit … Alive …

God has just revealed to me that there is something else in her voice … which I now realize is such a large part of the “I can’t explain” part …
What I hear in her voice is:
Joy.
Real joy.
Which can’t be explained … only felt.

We Love Joni … “and Friends”
Here is her story:

“Tortured for Christ:” Watch the Movie Online for Free

What a great opportunity this is!

The Voice of the Martyrs is partnering with Faithlife TV to offer an exclusive online viewing of the Tortured for Christ movie. Just use the link we have below to register with your email address, and you will receive a link to watch the Tortured for Christ movie on Oct. 22-23 for FREE.

This is the same movie that gained national attention last March, showing in over 550 theaters, many sold out.

This is the dramatic presentation of the bestselling book by the same name, featuring the testimony of The Voice of the Martyrs’ founder, Pastor Richard Wurmbrand, who spent 14 years in Communist prisons because of his work in the underground church. The book and movie tell the story of his stand for Christ and subsequent persecution in communist Romania.

Filmed in Romania, including in the very prison where Pastor Wurmbrand endured torture and solitary confinement, this powerful film uniquely presents the story in a live action format. The dialogue is presented in English, Romanian, and Russian (with English subtitles) to hold to the authenticity of this true story.

Just click on the link below, to register now for this special online event, and view the Tortured for Christ movie for free.

After you register, you will have the opportunity to receive a FREE digital copy of the Tortured for Christ book.

Here’s the link to register:
“Tortured for Christ” Movie

Now, we share the movie trailers.
Here’s the one we originally share with you, prior to the movie theater opening:

Here’s another trailer to share:

Again, here’s the link to watch the movie for free, online:
“Tortured for Christ” Movie for Free Online

 

 

 

 

Gilbert Hovsepian: “I Forgive You”

“My son,
Trust in the Lord at all times, and always be ready to forgive as you have been forgiven.”

Life is full of hard, difficult choices.
One of the most life-changing choices we can make is to forgive someone who has harmed us.
To forgive is a choice.
In this circumstance, when we have been harmed, especially unjustly, it is especially hard, especially difficult, to forgive those who have harmed us.

It’s a choice Jesus made.
It’s a choice we must make, in order to be like Him.
It is something we can choose to do, but we can only make this choice with His help.

There is a tremendous power in forgiveness.
There is tremendous freedom in forgiveness.
To forgive is powerful.
To forgive sets us free.

In January, 1994, Bishop Haik Hovsepian was faithfully serving God in Iran.
He was brutally murdered “for his Christian faith and ministry.”

His son, Gilbert Hovsepian, wrote and recorded this song, “I Forgive You,” which speaks of how Gilbert forgave his father’s murderers. Gilbert now ministers in Iran … the same country, and to the same people, which his father had ministered to …

“I choose to do what Jesus did for me …
I forgive you for all you have done …
I forgive you for all the pain you caused …”

Here’s a link to the Hovsepian family website, where the family of Haik Hovsepian continues his legacy, vision, and passion for the people of Iran:

Hovsepian Ministries

As we continue toward Sunday, Nov. 4, the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church, let’s remember our Brothers and Sisters in Christ, serving in Hostile and Restricted Countries around the world.
Every day.

Looking Back at Winter (Through the Rear-View Mirror): Blue Lights and Badge of Blessing

Hi Friends:

We’ll never forget the week between Christmas and New Year’s. We had days, in a row, where the temperature didn’t make it over zero. I mean we had day-time highs of -4. As it always does, when you’re in the middle of these, it just seems like it’s never going to end.

One of those days, when the high temperature was well below zero, and the wind was really whipping … I had a flat tire. Not in the driveway or garage. That would have been too easy. I was on the way home. It was in a 25 mile-an-hour zone, and I felt the tire go flat … that jerking motion of the steering wheel, and then I could hear it. Anyone who has driven with a flat time knows that sound … I was only a half-mile or so away from the Tire Company where I had bought the tires, so I tried to make it. I tried. It didn’t take long to realize that I wasn’t going to make it without losing the tire. In no time, the rim was scraping the ice and sand covered pavement. Anyone who has heard that sound has also felt that helpless feeling that the only place you’re going to make it to, is the side of the road. Yet … and you know what I mean … it was -4, the wind was 40 miles an hour, and, well, being stranded on the side of the road just didn’t seem like an option … I had to try to make it to the Tire Company! Even if it meant pulling in on “all rim.”

Well … the tire and rim was making a terrible noise … and, that’s when I saw the Blue Lights in my rear-view mirror. It was our City Police! I wasn’t going to make it to the Tire Company! Never mind what I said!
It turned out to be a great blessing. The Policeman was one of the nicest, kindest men I’ve ever met. For safety reasons, he had pulled me over. Here’s what he did:
In the freezing, freezing cold, he asked me if I had a jack, and we’d try to change the tire. We found the jack. Those of you who have a truck know about the jack. It’s placed underneath the back seat (a club cab) in a compartment. And, you’re right: They must place the jack and accessories in that small compartment … and then build the truck around it. Tight fit! Don’t worry, I wasn’t able to put it back correctly, either! As an old-time, independent do-it-yourselfer, I was ashamed of the fact that I had to look in the Owner’s Manual to even find out where the jack was. Good ’ol AAA! I must have known at one time, when I first read the manual, but that was a while ago, and I’ve got AAA! Anyway, part of the jack handle is used to “uncrank” the spare time from its holding cell, underneath the truck bed. It’s not really a “holding cell,” just chains, to slowly let down the tire, as you twist the jack handle around and around.

At least, that’s how it goes in the manual. As we said, the spare tire isn’t really covered, under there. It’s completely exposed to the elements of rain, ice, snow, salt, and more rain, ice, snow and salt. What condition do you think the chains and pulley were in? I guess … if you kept your truck in a garage … and, only drove it in 100% dry conditions … not even allowing exposure to dew … this idea of putting the spare under there, uncovered, is a good idea. But, that would be the only way that could be a good idea. Needless to say, the spare tire wouldn’t budge. The Policeman tried multiple times (he had some really good gloves) to get it to drop, but it just wouldn’t. At first, we’d go back to the manual, making sure we were doing it correctly, but it wouldn’t budge. The Policeman said it was probably rusted, and would probably have to be “torched” out. Of course, he was right, and, when I did get the truck towed in, they had to use a torch to remove the spare tire. The chains had all rusted out, and the tire was, literally, welded to the underneath of the truck bed.

So, we couldn’t change the tire, and I would have to call AAA to get the truck towed. The Officer gave me a ride home. I got to ride in the front seat! Near the heater! I will never forget this act of kindness from our local Police Department. I thought of the tremendous responsibility Police Officers have. See, this Police Officer, in a way, was like we as Christians are. We represent our faith, and for those who “run into us” along the way, to them, we represent all Christians. This particular Police Officer was not only an example of our local Police, but an example, to me, of all Police Officers. He was so nice, so caring, and so willing to do everything he could to help me. Yes … he was doing his job (a job, by the way, a lot of us are unwilling to do) … by pulling me over, as I was definitely a safety hazard. But, once he stepped out of his Cruiser, he became much more. Much, much more. As, he did much, much more than “his call of duty.” It’s so easy to say he is a credit to his job, his profession, and our city. Well, if it’s so easy to say … why haven’t I written that letter to the Police Chief? It’s long time I did. As the writer of “Wealth Stored for the Righteous,” in which I write of so many blessings we enjoy every day, and, so often take for granted … have I just discovered another blessing we so easily take for granted? I know that, on this day, this one Police Officer, in below-zero temperatures and a howling wind, would not leave me stranded … would not leave me “out there alone.” Without hesitation, he asked me where the jack was. Without hesitation, he worked and worked, in that brutal weather, trying to get that spare tire down. Without hesitation, he gave me a ride home, and let me sit up front. Near the heater. Without hesitation, he asked if there was anything else I needed.

The only thing I needed, on that day, at that time, was to thank him.

Which I did, and, am attempting to do now. Again, to me, he exemplified not just our local Policemen, but all Police Officers.

As I think back to that cold, miserable day … Ok, I’ll say it, because it’s true … as I look back, I am reminded of something else I am grateful for … something that I don’t thank God for, enough. It’s something that I heard a Christian Brother say as part of a testimony: “I’m not the man I want to be, or am going to be, but I thank God that I’m not the man I used to be.” That’s powerful, and something else I think we take for granted so many times. I’m so glad, so thankful, that when he pulled me over, “I had nothing to hide.” That, alone, is a great feeling, And, a tremendous blessing. Again, think about that statement just a moment. How God has done a great work in us, to change us. Perhaps never is that more evident than when we are dealing with Police Officers. And … I’ll say it … When they are dealing with us. It’s just different, in such a great way. Again, allow me to let that sink in for a moment. God changes us for our benefit, so our lives will be better. And, ready for this … think about it … it makes their life better, too! Think about that.

How many times have we seen on a television show (or maybe even thought ourselves), the person who gets pulled over says something like, “Why are you bothering me, instead of trying to catch criminals?” Let’s just say that, on this day, I am so glad that this Police Officer was right behind me, stopping me, and, yes, blessing me, instead of … being anywhere else.

Often, when I write, I use the term “You just can’t make this stuff up.”

I’ve battled with whether I should mention the Officer’s name. I’m a private person, and I don’t wish to invade anyone else’s privacy. I believe it’s the right thing to do, in this case, to mention, at least the last name of this “Blessing with a Badge.” A man who reminded me that, just as he represents, to me, all Police Officers, that we as Christians also represent “all of us,” a “Royal Priesthood,” at any given time we deal with others. There is that saying that “we may be the only Jesus someone may see.” If we meet a Police Officer, that, too, in a similar way, may be the only Police Officer we may ever meet, and, we may base our whole opinion of the entire “group” just on that one Police Officer. In one case … shall we say this one “cold” case … I’m ok with that. Here goes:

The Police Officer’s last name, who reminded me of my own walk … his last name was:
Priest.

That cold, miserable day, I was so thankful to have Officer Priest in the Hood.

Blessings,
Richard. Vincent. Rose.

Presidential Proclamation: Flags at Half-Mast Today

Today, Friday, March 2, 2018, I was sitting in front of our local Post Office, taking notes as I researched a story I am working on, about the United States mail. As I sat there scribbling on a note pad, carefully observing the building, and the signs “posted” near the entrance, I noticed the large American Flag, just to the left of the entrance. Blowing in the breeze, the United States Flag was at half-mast. I wondered why. At school, I often see our Flag at half-mast, always flown that way in honor of a New Hampshire citizen killed in the line of duty while serving in our Military. For some reason, today, I just stared at the Flag, and sat there, wondering. Why toady? I knew, deep inside, I knew why, but I just couldn’t remember. I can’t explain it, but I just felt I had to find out. So much, in fact, that I got out of the truck and walked in, waited in line, and asked the Postal employee behind the counter. Her reply:

“For Billy Graham.
Presidential proclamation.”

I thanked her, and walked out. I thought about how “out of touch” I’d been in the last few days. While I don’t watch the “national news” or “network news,” the TV in the Library always has the “Headline News” channel on, and that’s where I get blurbs of what’s going on. I’d been on vacation for several days, and haven’t even looked at the local paper. Last news I heard or saw was probably last Friday. I had written, just Monday, a post in honor of Billy Graham. I was aware his body would lie in state in the Rotunda of the United States Capitol. And, I knew about the Proclamation. I’ve prayed for the Graham family. While on vacation, I still pray and have Bible Study every day. Just kinda stepped out of the world for a few days.

So, now, back in the office, I try to catch up:

On Wednesday, February 21, the President of the United States issued this statement:

“Melania and I join millions of people around the world in mourning the passing of Billy Graham. Our prayers are with his children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and all who worked closely with Reverend Graham in his lifelong ministry.

Billy’s acceptance of Jesus Christ around his seventeenth birthday not only changed his life—it changed our country and the world. He was one of the towering figures of the last 100 years—an American hero whose life and leadership truly earned him the title “God’s Ambassador.”

Billy’s unshakeable belief in the power of God’s word to transform hearts gave hope to all who listened to his simple message: “God loves you.” He carried this message around the world through his crusades, bringing entire generations to faith in Jesus Christ.

In the wake of the September 11th attacks in 2001, America turned to Billy Graham at the National Cathedral, who told us, “God can be trusted, even when life seems its darkest.”

Reverend Graham would be the first to say that he did not do it alone. Before her passing, his wife Ruth was by his side through it all—a true partner, a wonderful mother, and a fellow missionary soul. He also built an international team and institution that will continue to carry on Christ’s message.

Melania and I were privileged to get to know Reverend Graham and his extraordinary family over the last several years, and we are deeply grateful for their love and support.

Billy Graham was truly one of a kind. Christians and people of all faiths and backgrounds will miss him dearly. We are thinking of him today, finally at home in Heaven.”

From the White House, dated February 28, 2018:

Remarks by President Trump at Ceremony Preceding the Lying in Honor of the Reverend Billy Graham
Issued on: February 28, 2018
U.S. Capitol
Washington, D.C.
11:21 A.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Speaker Ryan and Leader McConnell. And, most importantly, thank you to the entire Graham family for honoring us with your presence here today. Thank you.

In the spring of 1934, Billy Graham’s father allowed a group of Charlotte businessmen to use a portion of the family’s dairy farm to gather for a day of prayer.
On that day, the men prayed for the city. They prayed that, “Out of Charlotte, the Lord would raise up someone to preach the Gospel to the ends of the Earth.”

We are here today, more than 80 years later, because that prayer was truly answered.

Billy Graham was 15 years old at the time. Just a few months later, he accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.
That choice didn’t just change Billy’s life — it changed our lives. It changed our country, and it changed, in fact, the entire world.
The North Carolina farm boy walked out of those fields, into a great and beautiful history. Starting at a small Bible school in Florida, he soon led a nationwide revival — from a large tent in Los Angeles, to 100,000 people in a single day at Yankee Stadium, to more than 2 million people at Madison Square Garden, over 16 weeks in 1957.

And I remember that, because my father said to me, “Come on, son” — and, by the way, he said, “Come on, mom. Let’s go see Billy Graham at Yankee Stadium.” And it was something very special.
But Americans came in droves to hear that great young preacher. Fred Trump was a big fan. Fred Trump was my father.

In London, Tokyo, Seoul, Bogota, Moscow, New Delhi, Saigon, Johannesburg, and scores of other places all over the world, Reverend Graham shared the power of God’s word with more than 200 million people, in person, and countless others through television and radio where people loved to watch and listen.

In 1978, with the support of the Catholic Bishop who would soon become Pope John Paul II, Reverend Graham went to Poland and spoke of the meaning of the cross to a people suffering under the soulless oppression of communism.

Billy Graham carried his message around the world, but his heart, as Franklin will tell you, was always in America.
He took his message to the poorest places, to the downtrodden and to the brokenhearted, to inmates in prison, and to the overlooked and the neglected. He felt a great passion for those that were neglected.
Everywhere he went, Reverend Graham delivered the same beautiful message: God loves you. That was his message. God loves you.

We can only imagine the number of lives touched by the preaching and the prayers of Billy Graham –- the hearts he changed, the sorrows he eased, and the joy he brought to so many. The testimony is endless.

Today, we give thanks for this extraordinary life. And it’s very fitting that we do so right here in the Rotunda of the United States Capitol, where the memory of the American people is enshrined.
Here in this room, we are reminded that America is a nation sustained by prayer. The painting to my left is of the pilgrims as they embarked for America, holding fast to the Bible and bowing their heads in prayer.

Along these walls, we see the faces of Americans who prayed as they stood on the Lexington Green, who prayed as they headed west, prayed as they headed into battle, and prayed as they marched for justice, and always marched for victory.
Around us stand the statues of heroes who led the nation in prayer during the great and difficult times, from Washington to Lincoln to Eisenhower to King.

And, today, in the center of this great chamber lies legendary Billy Graham, an ambassador for Christ who reminded the world of the power of prayer and the gift of God’s grace.

Today we honor him as only three private citizens before him have been so honored.

And like the faithful of Charlotte once did, today we say a prayer for our country, that all across this land the Lord will raise up men and women like Billy Graham to spread a message of love and hope to every precious child of God.

Thank you. God bless you. And God bless America. Thank you very much.
END
11:28 A.M. EST

From the White House, dated February 28, 2018: The official Presidential Proclamation regarding our Flag flying at Half-Mast today:

Presidential Proclamation on the Death of Billy Graham
Issued on: February 21, 2018

As a mark of respect for the memory of Reverend Billy Graham, I hereby order, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, that on the day of his interment, the flag of the United States shall be flown at half staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset on such day. I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same period at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty first day of February, in the year of our Lord two thousand eighteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-second.

DONALD J. TRUMP