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Persecution has many faces. Sometimes it appears as oppression; sometimes as violence. One way that Christians around the world experience persecution for their faith is imprisonment. In this edition of the Voice Podcast our guest is Release International’s Imtiaz Ashraf, who has visited Christians imprisoned for their faith in Pakistan. Hear him talk about some of the difficulties Christians in Pakistan face – and the pain of imprisonment, as well as some of the encouragements that he has seen in and through the lives of those suffering for Christ and the gospel.Support the show
Release International is privileged to work with some amazingly dedicated and courageous partners across the world. Their love for the Lord drives them to faithfully serve our persecuted brothers and sisters, often at great cost to themselves. And it is a special privilege for us when they are able to visit the UK. During those times we get to share face to face fellowship with them and hear their voice directly.Hear Release International worker James Fraser discuss our forthcoming speaker tour with international partner Bob Fu of China Aid. Listen in as we hear Bob’s story of faith and imprisonment in China, his previous visit to the UK, and what we can look forward to during his visit in October this year. Plus, we have a special contribution from Bob himself who recounts the opposition and threats he and his family faced in Texas in 2020. For full details of dates and venues just visit www.releaseinternational.org/events.Support the show
Over the last year Artless Theatre Company has been touring its production of If Prison Walls Could Speak. This is a powerful play that presents the true story of Release International’s associate ministry worker Petr Jasek who was arrested and imprisoned for his faith in Sudan. This month Petr himself visited London to attend a showing of the play. On this podcast, hear Petr speak about how it felt to see his story re-enacted. He also shares about the Christians in Parliament National Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast, along with some of his own experiences of meeting persecuted Christians in Africa.If your church is interested in hosting a performance of If Prison Walls Could Speak just visit our website at releaseinternational.org/artless-theatre-tour for more information.Support the show
What is the ideal context for Christian ministry? We could approach that question in different ways but for many of us the backdrop of freedom would be high up on our list of priorities. On today’s podcast hear from Release International partner Pavel from Ukraine. His story might challenge some of our intuitions. Listen in as we talk about the current situation in Ukraine and how the war has prompted churches to pray and serve with a new urgency. Pavel also shares his story of growing up in the Soviet Union where being arrested and imprisoned was a common occupational hazard for Christian pastors. And, we talk about Pavel’s ongoing work today supporting persecuted Christians in Central Asia who are determined to reach out in a hostile context. Support the show
When preparing for a long car journey, you might factor in the possibility of a breakdown, but few of us would anticipate the possibility of being kidnapped. However, for Christians living in north and central Nigeria that possibility is an increasing risk, not least for Christian pastors. In October 2020, while travelling to a conference, Nigerian pastor Rev Polycarp Zongo was kidnapped by the terrorist group Islamic State West Africa Province. He was held for 7 months before he was eventually released. Listen in as Rev Polycarp bravely recounts his ordeal and tells how God has used the experience to build his faith. Support the show
Visiting Release mission partners, sharing fellowship with them, and hearing their stories first hand is a really important part of Release International’s ministry. It enables us to share the voice of persecuted Christians with the church in the UK with real depth and integrity. On today’s podcast Release International’s CEO, Paul Robinson who recently visited one of our ministry partners in East Africa, speaks about his experiences. Listen in as we talk about the challenges that believers from a Muslim background face in that part of the world, and about the creative provisions our partners have put in place to support them. You’ll hear about an Iman who came to faith; about a lady who learned about love; and about how all of this can encourage you in your own faith. Support the show
Bike Pilgrimage

Bike Pilgrimage

2022-03-0316:33

At Release International we are always inspired by the creative thinking and passionate commitment of our supporters. So often people will come forward with great ideas about how to raise awareness, prayer and funds to support our persecuted brothers and sisters. And it is our privilege to be able to support those initiatives wherever we can.On today’s podcast we speak to Release International supporter Rev Robert de Berry. This summer Robert is leading an exciting project called the Bike Pilgrimage. You can find out all about the project at releaseinternational.org/bikepilgrimsListen in as we talk about what inspired this idea, exactly what it entails, and importantly, how you too can get involved. Support the show (http://www.releaseinternational.org/podcast)
After telling his disciples that he was sending them out as sheep among wolves, Jesus challenged them to be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. In the face of persecution Christians are not meant to be simply passive. With the wisdom that God gives, we can think strategically about how best to respond to persecution both after and before it happens. On today’s podcast we speak to Release International partner Asif from Mordecai Ministries International. Inspired by the biblical character Mordecai, Asif’s ministry looks for opportunities to positively intervene before the worst effects of persecution take place. Listen in as we discuss Asif’s own background growing up as a Christian in Pakistan, the inspiration behind his ministry approach, and how it is making a difference in the lives of individual Christians and Christian communities across the world.Support the show
2021 was another year for the history books. With the pandemic continuing to impact our daily lives, it is important to remember our brothers and sisters around the world who are also impacted – by the pandemic, but also by persecution. It is a sad reality that this coming year, Christians across the world will continue to face violent opposition because of their faith. Release workers Kenneth and Tom, who have both helped to write Release International’s Persecution Trends report for 2022, share some extra insight into the pressures our partners are likely to face over the coming 12 months.The Persecution Trends report can be accessed on our website as part of our current magazine: www.releaseinternational.org/resources/magazines Support the show (http://www.releaseinternational.org/podcast)
How will you be celebrating Christmas this year? A conversation most of us are having now with our friends and colleagues. But what if the menu for Christmas dinner and the itinerary for seeing your family were not your only concerns? Hear from Release International partner Rev Waseem who lives and works in Pakistan, and who helps the marginalised Christian minority in that country. Discover what Christmas looks like for those rejected from society, and hear about their wholehearted determination to celebrate the birth of Jesus, despite the challenges they face.Support the show (http://www.releaseinternational.org/podcast)
Elect exiles

Elect exiles

2021-11-0425:59

What if fleeing was your only option? Millions of Christians across the world today face that stark reality, many specifically because of persecution. November marks the International Day of Prayer for the persecuted church and this year Release International’s IDOP resources focus on the issue of displacement. On today’s podcast, Release International workers Kenneth and James talk about some of the places where Christians have been forced to flee, how the issue of displacement is covered in the New Testament, and how churches and individuals can participate in the International Day of Prayer this November.For more information on IDOP and to view our resources, head to: www.releaseinternational.org/idop Support the show (http://www.releaseinternational.org/podcast)
How did you come to faith in Jesus, and how are you serving him today? At Release International we are privileged to work with partners from many different countries and it is always encouraging to hear their stories.One of those partners, Jamal Liddawi, has a miraculous story to share. 30 years ago God started to work dramatically in Jamal’s life, and since he committed to following Jesus, Jamal has been involved in various types of Christian work. Today he leads Release International’s partner ministry, Hand of Help, which serves displaced Christians in Iraq. Listen in as Jamal shares his own journey of faith, the background to the flight of Christians in Iraq, and how he came to be involved in supporting them.Jamal will be speaking more about this work at our online events at the start of November. For more details about those, and to register for a ticket visit our website: www.releaseinternational.org/jamal  Support the show
Have you ever been challenged by a difficult question about your faith? Have you ever wondered how persecuted Christians who suffer specifically because of their faith can sustain the same kinds of objections?On today’s podcast, Dr Andy Bannister - apologist, evangelist and director of the Solas Centre for Public Christianity, discusses how his own interest in apologetics and evangelism developed. He explains how to deal with the difficult questions of suffering and evil, how persecuted Christians can help us grow in faith, and why we must be honest about the differences between Christianity and Islam.Andy is an experienced and well-travelled speaker and writer who is used to dealing with the difficult questions raised by Christians, atheists and people of other faiths.For resources and more details about Andy Bannister and Solas you can visit the Solas website at www.solas-cpc.orgSupport the show (http://www.releaseinternational.org/podcast)
Jesus warned his disciples, ‘If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.’ Throughout history persecution has taken many different forms and come from a variety of sources. At this particular moment in time, in many parts of the world the growth of radicalised Islam is one pressing threat against God’s people.On today’s podcast we talk to Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali former Bishop of Rochester and President of the Oxford Centre for Training, Research, Advocacy and Dialogue. Bishop Michael has written several books on the theme of Christianity’s interface with Islam, and he speaks regularly at conferences on the subject.Listen in as we discuss his own background in Islamic culture, his thoughts on the recent growth of radical Islam, the current situation for Christians in Pakistan, and the concerning new wave of violence against Christians in parts of Africa.Support the show (http://www.releaseinternational.org/podcast)
Whilst no system of government is perfect, we can be thankful for the political and religious freedoms we currently enjoy in the United Kingdom. And we can be thankful for elected representatives who are willing to use their voice to speak up for justice and ensure that issues like religious persecution are heard about and debated.On today’s podcast, guest host Kenneth speaks to Jim Shannon, MP for Strangford and Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Freedom of Religion or Belief at Westminster. Listen in as they talk about what motivated Jim to get involved in politics, his concern for religious freedom in the world today, and the progress of implementing the recommendations outlined in the Bishop of Truro’s important 2019 report on the global persecution of Christians. Support the show
Mentioning the country of North Korea can provoke both intrigue and horror in our minds. So much of what goes on there is hidden from us. But we know enough to understand that it is a place of extreme repression and suffering, especially for Christians. And yet in this unlikely place there is an unquenchable thirst for the word of God and the church is growing.On today’s podcast hear from Release International partner Pastor Eric Foley from Voice of the Martyrs Korea. Listen in as we talk about some of the myths surrounding Christian practice in North Korea, the current controversy over Bible distribution into the country, the creative ways in which this is being countered, and the remarkable enduring faith of our Christian family. Prepare to have some of your current conceptions stretched and challenged.Support the show (http://www.releaseinternational.org/podcast)
Over 20 million people in the UK regularly give their time as volunteers in various sectors and organisations. Release International benefits hugely from the contributions of our team of dedicated volunteers. Whether it’s speaking in churches, organising a prayer group, fundraising or sharing information, volunteering is one key way to stand with our persecuted brothers and sisters.Hear from Release International’s volunteer co-ordinator Andrew Wilmshurst, and Release volunteers Annette, Simon and Suzanne, share about their passion and life-shaping experiences as volunteers with Release.Support the show (http://www.releaseinternational.org/podcast)
Last year on the podcast we spoke to Release International partner Hassan John about the problems of violence and unrest in West Africa. On today’s podcast we are going to take a closer look at one specific country in that region: Burkina Faso. You may not know much about Burkina Faso, but recently the actions of violent militant groups have made it a very difficult place for Christians to live. Our brothers and sisters there are being targeted, displaced and killed because of their Christian faith.We will hear from Susanna who works for Release International’s sister ministry, Voice of the Martyrs, Poland. We’ll talk about the general situation in Burkina Faso, some specific ways in which Christians have been impacted, and the projects that Release International is helping to fund that bring practical help to families and communities.Support the show
All for Jesus

All for Jesus

2021-03-0419:49

In his well-known words at the end of Matthew 28 Jesus tells his disciples to go and make disciples. Clearly discipleship is going to be central in the Kingdom of God. But what is it - and how are we to understand discipleship in a culture which so highly values the idea of charting your own individual course in the world?Today’s podcast features Release workers Kenneth and Stephen. Hear them discuss Release International’s new Bible study resource All for Jesus. This course has been designed to help Christians in the UK to come to a better biblical understanding of discipleship - by looking at it through the lens of persecution.You can order copies of All for Jesus online at releaseinternational.org/shop.Support the show (http://www.releaseinternational.org/podcast)
What do you know about Iran? It is an Islamic Republic with strict religious laws. It is a country which is often in the news because of confrontation with the West. But it is also a place where God is working, and where His church is growing. Today’s podcast features Release International partner Lazarus Yeghnazar from 222 Ministries. Hear him talk about the surprising growth of the church in Iran and among the Farsi speaking world, how the authorities have responded and how persecution has increased. He enthusiastically expresses the great passion that Iranian Christians have for the Lord and how this challenges our own understanding of what it means to follow Jesus.Lazarus will be joining us again for a series of live online events from Monday 8th March. This will be an opportunity to hear more about Iran and the specific projects Release International is helping to support. It will also be an opportunity to put your own questions to Lazarus. For more details and to register for those events go to releaseinternational.org/eventsSupport the show (http://www.releaseinternational.org/podcast)
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