(Voice of the Persecuted) You are invited to join us on Tuesday, January 10, 2023 in a prayer conference call for the persecuted church hosted by Persecution Watch.
Dear Prayer Warriors, I’m truly happy to be back with you all after spending a month in Italy with my elderly father (nearly 93 yrs. old) who has dementia. Earlier this year, I had visited him when he contracted covid and was Hospitalized then shortly after sent home.
On December 6, 2022, I received a message from the Administrator who advocates for my father. He shared that my dad was sent to the E.R. again for a third time. I received a call from the hospital telling me that they were sending him home again with oxygen and could not keep him there. Because of his age with previous pathologies and covid is making the situation worse, the doctors believed it wasn’t possible to do more invasive care. I was told to talk among my brothers and sisters to decide if we wanted to see him, even though he and his second wife had covid.
I asked if that meant there was nothing left to do for my father and the doctor responded, “It means that your father will have to pass this phase at home and with the care they have prescribed for him. Certainly, the situation is quite serious.”
After informing my brothers and sisters, I found myself struggling with the news as we had already made the trip to Italy earlier in the year and did not know if we could afford for me to go again. I also knew it would be difficult for my siblings to make the choice to visit him because of the risk of getting covid. I was not afraid of covid and I knew my father needed my help to take care of him. My husband and I did what we knew best, we prayed to God asking what we should do. It was very clear for both of us that His will was for me to go back home to Italy, and HE would make a way. Still praising God that the next day, I was on a plane to Rome, Italy.
I went to help my father but instead found out that I was the one who needed help. Help to forgive the woman who married my father. He was a widower and was lonely. They married in secret 9 years ago after he had already been diagnosed with the beginning of Alzheimer’s disease. They were married for 2 years before we found out. Prior to that, we only knew her as his caretaker. For over 2 years she was paid from his pension while she passed herself off as his caretaker. She saw me as an enemy as I was the one who found out about the fraudulent payments and informed the rest of my family and the government who blocked her from receiving the funds. I’ve struggled for the last 7 years as she often would not let me speak to him on the phone. She made my life miserable every time I went to visit my father hoping I would not want to return.
With God’s help I knew what I had to do. I told myself I’m going in peace to work somehow together with her to take care of my father. I knew I had to forgive her even if she would not repent, even if she hated me. I chose to obey Jesus and He did the rest. I knew many were praying for me and with me, and for my husband who would be without me for a long period of time during the Holidays. I thank God for my husband. Butch, is truly a good man as even my mother told him many years ago.
God worked miracles while I was there. My father accepted Jesus as his Savior! Because his Alzheimer’s had progressed and worsened by the medications they gave him at the E.R. to stabilize him. The enemy wasted no time. He whispered in my ear, “your father will forget Christ as his Savior”. My husband encouraged me, “God will not forget it”, Butch stated!
Through God, I gained the confidence of my father’s wife. I began to pray for her and although I did not trust her my heart began to open to her, and I felt compassion for her. I knew it was God working in me and I felt such a freedom and peace within my heart.
Philippians 2:13 “For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.”
Still, she doesn’t trust me but it’s ok. God will make a way where there seems to be none. I was able to finally forgive and care for her. We spent a month helping each other to take care of my father. For the Lord’s sake, my father, his wife and mine, there is peace within my heart. And I lift Him up in praise!
“I am sending you, to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me” (Acts 26:18)
My heart also rejoices because, through it all, we were able to keep a promise to my mamma before she went Home to Glory. We worked hard, my brothers, sisters, and I to become closer with one another and encourage each other with love in hard times.
To God be the Glory!
It surely can be a great struggle for us to forgive. We need to pray for one another, for our brothers and sisters who are persecuted, and to be able through Jesus to forgive and love our enemies.
God reminded me of Richard Wurmbrand. Pastor Wurmbrand was the founder of Voice of the Martyrs. He wrote the timeless classic, “Tortured for Christ“. He visited Peoples Church in Toronto Canada in the early 1980’s. Pastor Wurmbrand had 18 pieces of flesh cut out of him in torture. His feet were broken many times during terrible beatings. When he walked slowly into the Peoples Church in Toronto, Canada, he wore no shoes because he could not tolerate the pain from shoes. Ushers rushed to put a chair for him in front of the pulpit. He sat down. As he opened his mouth the Holy Spirit came into a 2000 seat auditorium filled with people. One could hear a pin drop. He said: Dear Sisters and Brothers, many of you ask me to speak evil about what was done to me by communists during my jail time in Romania. I can say nothing about this. I cannot blame the communists because you see, I am at fault. The auditorium gasped. How could he possibly be at fault? Then Pastor Wurmbrand continued and said, “You see, I am at fault, I did not love enough”.
- “We are weak little Davids, But we are stronger than the Goliath of atheism, because God is on our side. The truth belongs to us.” – Richard Wurmbrand
To read more quotes from Brother Wurmband click here
Matthew 5:44 – “But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”
Luke 6:27 – “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you.”
Romans 12:14 – “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.
My precious Prayer Warrior brothers and sisters let’s pray for one another for doing so we will do the will of God.
“14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
“31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
“And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”
“9 Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.10 Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread,
12 and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
“14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.”
“7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace”
“37 “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven.“
1 John 1:8
“8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”
“18 You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.”
“38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
“34 And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments.
Because we have not forgiven our enemy we have sinned against Him.
“19 Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out. “
For it is through His blood we receive forgiveness.
“28 For this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”
2 Peter 3:9
“9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”
“13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
“20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.”
We are continuing to lift-up these persecuted witnesses to the Lord:
Alice Loksha Ngaddah was kidnapped in February 2019. She is a mother of two, working as a nurse for UNICEF. Pray for her release.
Leah Sharibu prisoner of Boko Haram since 2018. Pray for her release.
Pastor Wang Yi to be released from Chinese prison.
Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani For the release of Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani from Iran, and his family as their persecution continues. Pastor Nadarkhani is serving the second year of his six-year sentence, recently reduced from ten years.
Anita to make an easy transition into her new culture and that the Lord will be gracious in bringing her family members where they too will be able to freely worship our Lord without fear..
The Lord’s servant,
Nadia Dybvik, Persecution Watch Prayer Conference Call Leader
Prayer Conference Call Details
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What is Persecution Watch?
Persecution Watch is a U.S. national prayer conference call ministry that prays specifically for the global Persecuted Church. For over a decade, Blaine Scogin led this national network of believers who faithfully pray for the persecuted and the global harvest for the Kingdom of God. The group meets via a free call-in service every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday night at 9pm Eastern time in the United States (please check your time zone). Blaine also served as Prayer Director for Voice of the Persecuted, and the missions became one. Brother Blaine passed into glory on December 26, 2019. It was truly a blessing for all of us to serve alongside this dear man of God and he will be greatly missed. The prayer mission of Persecution Watch remains an important part of our mission. Voice of the Persecuted is committed to continue the prayer conference call for the persecuted along with the dedicated Persecution Watch prayer warrior team.
Prior to the passing of Brother Blaine, he confirmed the passing of the torch as prayer conference call leader to Nadia Dybvik. Nadia has a burdened heart for the persecuted and is a prayer warrior standing in the gap for them. She joined the Persecution Watch prayer team in 2013 and has been part of the core ever since. Before becoming the prayer call leader, she served in the role of prayer moderator since 2015. Blaine chose Nadia for her faithfulness to pray for the persecuted and her strong commitment to the Persecution Watch mission. We are blessed not only with her gift of prayer, but her genuine love for every brother and sister in Christ that comes on the call to pray. May the Lord continue to bless Nadia and the prayer team in the mission and their personal lives.
“Pray for us” is the number one request that we hear from the persecuted. As the members of the first century Church were moved by the Holy Spirit to pray, we too must continue to serve those suffering persecution by lifting them up to the Lord through prayer.
On occasion, persecuted brothers and sisters have been invited on the conference call to share the trials they are facing. The team serves to encourage them by washing their feet in Spirit led prayer. Time is often reserved for those on the call to ask questions. We believe this helps to gain a better understanding of the situation that persecuted Christians endure in their specific nations. Q&A also helps us to focus our prayers based on their current needs.
Persecution Watch also hosts callers who want to pray united from other nations. If your heart is perplexed by the sufferings of our persecuted brothers and sisters, you no longer need to pray alone.
We welcome all who desire to pray for the persecuted church and consider it a joy to pray together with you. If you are new to the call and cannot find your voice, listen in and pray silently or on mute. We are grateful and thank the Lord for bringing us all together to pray in agreement for our persecuted family in Christ. We can all be prayer warriors on this call!
God bless and protect you in your faithfulness to serve.
Lois Kanalos, Founder, Voice of the Persecuted, Nadia Dybvik, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Leader and the Persecution Watch Prayer Team
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Note to Voice of the Persecuted (VOP) readers: The Persecution Watch prayer team is also the prayer team of Voice of the Persecuted. SIGN UP today.