Sunday, April 17, 2011
Pastor Richard Wurmbrand (1909-2001)
Pastor Richard Wurmbrand (A.K.A. "Voice of the Underground Church") was in Communist prisons for fourteen years, enduring tortures that most people wouldn't think was possible for people to commit. He was imprisoned in his homeland, Romania, and is one of the most recognized Christian leaders there.
Communists took control of Romania in 1945, trying to control the churches to serve their own purposes, and this prompted Wurmbrand to begin an underground ministry. Unfortunately, Wurmbrand was arrested in 1948 with his wife, Sabina, who became a laborer on the Danube Canal. Richard spent three very grueling years in solitary confinement, and the only people he saw were his torturers. This was where he kept his mind and soul sane by composing sermons and preaching them to the prison walls, and he has been able to remember most of his sermons from that prison cell! He was then transferred to a group cell, where he was tortured for five for years.
Foreign embassies began asking the Communist government what they had done with Richard Wurmbrand since he was internationally known for his work. The Communists and the Secret Police told the embassies as well as Wurmbrand's wife that he had died. Wurmbrand was in prison for eight and a half years, then he was released. Without hesitating, he resumed his work with the Underground Church, only to be arrested two years later. This time he was sentenced to twenty five years in prison. He was released in 1964 and resumed his work again. Since he had a high risk of being imprisoned a third time, Christians in other countries negotiated with the Communist authorities for Wurmbrand's release, since they were "selling prisoners". Most prisoners were sold at $1900, but Wurmbrand, was worth $10000!
In May 1966, he testified before the U.S. Senate's Internal Security Subcommittee and revealed his entire deep-scar ridden body. This story was carried all over the world. In 1967, Wurmbrand and his wife started Jesus to the Communist World, now known as The Voice of the Martyrs. They established thirty offices around the world that provided relief to persecuted Christians. His message was, "Hate the evil systems, but love your persecutors. Love their soul, and try to win them for Christ."
Wurmbrand authored many books which have been translated into sixty languages. He died as a prayer warrior for the international persecuted church.