BARTLESVILLE, OK— Some 4,000 Christians are killed for their faith each year. To commemorate them – and to stand with the suffering church – believers across the world took part in the Day of the Christian Martyr on June 29. Organizations like Voice of the Martyrs and Release International honored some of the true heroes of the faith whose dedication to sharing the Gospel cost them their lives.
According to church tradition, June 29 marks the martyrdom of the Apostle Paul. This year, Christians around the world took time on that date to honor the legacy of those who have sacrificed their lives for the advancement of the gospel.
One of those Voice of the Martyrs honored this year was Pastor Jean-Paul Sankagui who was murdered outside his church in Ramandji in the Central African Republic three years ago.
His name was added to the Martyrs Wall outside VOM’s headquarters in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. VOM Radio’s Todd Nettleton paid tribute to his life.
“He knew the danger. He knew that his safety was at risk and yet he also knew the call of God to shepherd his flock and to reach Muslims for Christ. He decided in his hear that answering that call was worth any risk. Today we honour the memory of Pastor Jean-Paul Sankagui and his sacrifice for the cause of Christ.”
Meanwhile in the UK Release International commemorated the 4,000 Christians who are killed each year for their faith as part of the Day of the Martyr. The charity’s Andrew Boyd hosted a Facebook live event that evening which included a moving interview with the daughter of Rev. Hussain Soodmand an Iranian pastor who was hanged for apostasy.
“In the last few days of his life, when we went to see him in the place he was. And while he was waiting to see us, they showed his family and they offered him as I mentioned the choice that is his family and this is the last time you are seeing them so you have options – your family or your faith and obviously he chose his faith.”
Boyd concluded by sharing how Christians can continue to honor these heroes of the faith by standing with the suffering church worldwide.
“It’s to connect our hearts as Christians enjoying freedom with our brothers and sisters. They need our prayers they need our support. We need to stand with them. But it’s connecting them with us too because actually we really need to capture their overcoming spirit, their absolute determination as typified in that story of Rev Hussain Soodmand.”
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