Wednesday, March 07, 2007

How is The Voice of the Martyrs in Canada related to VOM in the United States?

On Monday I had a manager from one of Canada's leading Christian print publications in my office. We were discussing various ways in which we might promote the ministry of The Voice of the Martyrs in their publications. He mentioned how much he appreciated our monthly newsletter and said, rather matter-of-factly, "Oh and you get it published in the United States, don't you?"

I'm not sure where he had gotten that idea, as we have never published or printed our newsletter in the States. Perhaps he was getting us confused with another ministry. Many Canadian missions do have their international headquarters in the States or elsewhere. Perhaps he was making the mistake that many do, namely that The Voice of the Martyrs in Canada is a branch office or even simply an "office" of The Voice of the Martyrs in the United States. It is easy to make that mistake. VOM USA does tend to leave a rather large "footprint" in the world with its publications like Jesus Freaks. Also, we may have inadvertently added to the confusion ourselves when we and our various other partner missions (including the US one) who were also started by Richard Wurmbrand tend to refer to our international partners as "branch offices" or "offices." I think that it is time we stop doing so.

So what is the relationship between VOMC and VOM USA?

1. The Voice of the Martyrs in Canada is an independent, self-supporting, self-governing Canadian mission. All of the decisions about our mission are made here in Canada . Our board of governors is made up of Canadians and our staff is Canadian (although some of us were born in other nations like Eritrea, Ghana and Holland ). Our financial support comes from Canadian individuals, businesses, and churches.

This specifically means, amoung other things, that, despite what is often assumed by those outside of Canada, VOM-Canada is not a branch office of The Voice of the Martyrs in the United States or any other internationally based mission. While VOM-USA is today the largest of the missions started by Richard Wurmbrand, it is not our international headquarters. Actually, there is no international headquarters for The Voice of the Martyrs anywhere in the world!

2. We are part of an international association of independent missions started by or through the influence of Richard Wurmbrand called the International Christian Association (ICA). While we are bound together by five common purposes, history, and cooperate in projects around the world, meeting together at least annually to share vision and ministry outcomes, no mission may dictate policy to any of the other missions worldwide, nor is any one mission empowered to represent any of the other missions or to speak on their behalf worldwide. The Voice of the Martyrs in Canada desires to speak with our own voice and represent our own interests.

3. The Voice of the Martyrs in Canada has a distinct vision and set of core values from some of our other missions in our ICA family. There are similarities and differences between the various ICA missions, as is to be expected as each mission is independent. We have programs that our sister missions do not have and the opposite is also true. For example, we do not participate in financially supporting indigenous church leadership due to our value of avoiding dependency creating projects. Our Legal Defense Fund is one example of a program that is distinctly Canadian.

4. The Voice of the Martyrs in Canada strongly believes in working in partnership with like-minded organizations. Hence, while we do work closely with our sister missions in the International Christian Association, we do not exclusively work with them. We also have key partnerships in place with organizations such as the National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka, the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, Forum 18, Mission Network News, and others. We are seeking to strengthen our own ties with the World Evangelical Alliance and the Lausanne Movement, quite separately from those of our sister missions. We have excellent relationships with the other persecuted church ministries who also have representation here in Canada . We praise God that we have been able to resist the tendency to view them as competitors but enjoy warm, friendly relationships on personal and organizational levels. This commitment to partnerships, we have found, is a Canadian trait that we are proud to exhibit.

5. The Voice of the Martyrs in Canada is making a unique and significant commitment to theological education, most especially in developing programs of teaching regarding persecution from both a missiological and theological perspective. This has become one of our true distinctions and one that we are continuing to uphold and develop.

6. The Voice of the Martyrs in Canada is committed to accurate and timely reporting and research. While we cannot and do not claim perfection, we take our mission statement seriously of glorifying God by seeking to be Canada 's effective and reliable source of information and support of persecuted Christians worldwide. We try hard to get the facts straight, without sensationalism and giving credit where credit is due. We hope that this commitment is evident in our monthly newsletter, our websites and, and our weekly email news service, The Persecution and Prayer Alert.

We believe that Canadians want a mission that is dedicated to being a distinctly Canadian voice for and to persecuted Christians around the world. The Voice of the Martyrs in Canada is trying hard to be that voice. Thank you to the increasing number of Canadians who are standing together with us.

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