History of Spirit of Martyrdom
A Voice for the Church at Risk
Pastor David Witt was a Mission Representative speaking on behalf of the persecuted church for The Voice of the Martyrs from 1998 to 2008. David visited persecuted Christians in restricted nations and witnessed a genuine love and spirit of martyrdom (faithful or credible witness as defined from the biblical Greek language). A believer in Indonesia illustrated this fruit of love powerfully. While the gun was pointed at the head of the believer, he cried out, “Father, please forgive him for he knows not what he is doing.” The shot rang out and the believer went to be with our Lord. David was honored to meet with this beloved widow who shared, “If my husband could forgive the gunman, so could I.”
God strengthened David’s understanding of faith through the lives of our persecuted brothers and sisters. One Iraqi pastor was arrested by Saddam Hussein’s secret police for his Christian witness. He was beaten, tortured and interrogated while continuing to share Christ’s love to the Muslim inmates. He said, “God spoke to me and told me that if I would be faithful to speak His name inside of prison, then I would be faithful to speak His name outside of prison.”
David met believers who held on with hope and vision for the Kingdom of God when few others had none. In Egypt, the Muslim background believers have found hope in the prophecy of Isaiah 19:23-25. This prophecy speaks of the day when a highway of worship and peace will come to this area of the Middle East. God will pour out His blessing upon Egypt, Israel, and Iraq. The followers of Christ believe they are preparing for this day. They told David that the blood of the martyrs would be the pavement of the highway. Their hope is contagious and inspires great courage. (All the above stories are told in greater detail in David’s book, Fearless Love – In the Midst of Terror.)
Overcoming Fear with Fearless Love
The message David discovered in his own life from global visits with the persecuted Church and personal studies is that the Bible tells us in the end times the love of most will wax cold. Fear waxes love cold. We live in days of terrorism. Love overcomes terrorism. Biblical love is martyrdom. Jesus demonstrated sacrificial love and died for His enemies. Jesus invites us to pick up our cross and be known for our sacrificial love.
The Foundation of SOM International
In 2004, David was led to begin writing his first book, The Spirit of Martyrdom – For the Love of Muslims, along with a friend Dr. Mujahid El Masih from Pakistan. In 2007, Casscom Media offered to produce The Spirit of Martyrdom – For the Love of Muslims as an audio book. In 2008, the book went to print and the name changed to Fearless Love – In the Midst of Terror.
December 2007, Spirit of Martyrdom was incorporated as a non-profit ministry. In April 2008, David transitioned from staff at The Voice of the Martyrs to an Associate Representative until spring 2011. David now serves Spirit of Martyrdom full-time as the Chief Executive Officer. David credits the Holy Spirit in expanding the scope of Spirit of Martyrdom to the global Church of courageous witnesses of Christ.
Spirit of Martyrdom is grateful to God in the expansion of His global network. We praise God for the many Christians domestically and internationally who sacrificially serve and give to further the Kingdom of Christ.
SOM International honors the martyr’s heritage. We teach the Hebrew and Greek doctrine of Scripture regarding martyrdom. We determine to bring attention to the sacrifice of the living martyrs and global leaders throughout history. We give special tribute to Richard and Sabina Wurmbrand and their influence in this ministry. We also seek to honor even the smallest sacrifice and contribution of the friends of SOM International.