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Pastor Richard Wurmbrand:

Finishing the Race


byHieromonkDamascene

OurSt.HermanBrotherhoodandMonasteryhasforalongtimehadgreatrespectandappreciationforthe
life,testimonyandworkofPastorRichardWurmbrand,aJewishconverttoChristianitywhosufferedfor
fourteenyearsinCommunistprisonsinRomaniaduetohisunrelentingChristianactivity.Backin1979,
ourcofounderFr.SeraphimRosespokeaboutPastorWurmbrandtoseminariansandpilgrimsatHoly
TrinityMonasteryinJordanville,NewYork.InsucceedingyearswecorrespondedwithPastorWurmbrand
himself,senthimOrthodoxmaterials,andmetwithhimatsomeofhisspeakingengagements.
In1996ourBrotherhoodmadepersonalcontactwithamanwhohadbeeninCommunistprisonsin
RomaniaatthesametimeasPastorWurmbrand,andforthesamereason:theRomanianOrthodoxpriest,
Fr.GeorgeCalciu.Fr.SeraphimRosehadalsospokenatgreatlengthaboutFr.Georgeandhiscourageous
preachingofChristinRomania.WewereoverjoyedtogettoknowhimhereinAmerica,learnfromhis
faith,andbenefitfromhiswisdomandexperience.
ItsoonbecameknowntousthatPastorWurmbrandandFr.Georgewerefriends.Fr.Georgetoldus
thatPastorWurmbrandhadconfessedtohimmanytimesintheUnitedStatesnotasasacrament,since
PastorWurmbrandwasaLutheranbutasbeforeanOrthodoxpriestandfriend.Beforethesetalks,in
whichhedisclosedhisstruggles,PastorWurmbrandwouldalwayscrosshimself.
PastorWurmbrandhadalsoconfessedtoanOrthodoxpriestmanyyearspriortocomingtoAmerica,when
hewasinCommunistprison.HetoldFr.GeorgeaboutthiswhenhemethiminPennsylvaniain1989.Ina
recentletterFr.GeorgeinformedusaboutwhatPastorWurmbrandhadtoldhim:

PastorWurmbrandwasinaprisonhospitalforterminalillness.Themajorityofthepeoplefromthisprisonhadtodie.
Oneday,anewtransportofprisonerscametothejail.Amongthemwasaveryhumble
Orthodoxpriestfromavillage.Heseemedso simplethattheguardsmadeallkindsofjokesabout
him. Theprisonerswereinthecourtyardaspecialplacesurroundedbyafenceandtheguardbroughtinthe
newcomers,allinrags.
The guard said to them, Look, guys, this is a priest. He was sent here by the prison
administrationtohearyourlastcon fessionallofyou.Hewasalludingthattheyallhadto
die,includingthepriest.
PastorWurmbrandsaid,He[theguard]prophesied:inlessthansixmonths,everyonecame
tothispriestandconfessed.Iwasamongthefirst.

In1998PastorWurmbrandwasincriticalconditioninahospitalinsouthernCalifornia.Hehadnot
eatenfortendays,anditlookedlikehewasdying.Hewasaskedwhichpastorshouldbecalled,andhe
askedforFr.GeorgeCalciu.Fr.Georgewastelephonedandwaspreparedtocome,butthedangerpassed
andPastorWurmbrandgotbetter.Still,PastorWurmbrandwasinsuchaconditionthathehadtobekeptin
anursinghomeaCatholicnursinghomeinTorrance,California.
InJulyof1998Fr.GeorgewenttoseePastorWurmbrand.Shortlyafterthisvisit,hesentusthe
followingmessage:

PastorWurmbrandwasveryexcitedtoseeme.Heisinanursinghome,veryweak;hecannot
swallowanything,evenhisownsaliva.Ifoundhimsleeping,becausehewantednottobetired
and to be able to talk longer with me. After half an hour he awoke and was pushed in his
wheelchairtoasmallyard,wheretherewasastatueoftheMotherofGod.Wetalkedafew
minutesalltogether:hiswifeSabina,twoRomanianladies,NicolaePopaandayoungman.
Afterwards,everybodyleftRichardandmealone.Westartedbyrememberingthetimein
prisons,andherememberedsomethingverytouching.Hesaid:Iwasinprisonwithdifferent
people:Orthodox,Catholic,Romanian,Hungarian,German,etc.AndInoticedthattheHymnto
theMotherofGodexistedinallthelanguages,exceptHebrew.AndIdecidedtocomposethis
hymninHebrew,becauseMaryisaJewandHebrewwasherlanguage.Hestartedtosing,with
hisweakandtremblingvoice,thehymninHebrew.ThemelodywasveryJewish,composedby
him.Iwasdeeplyimpressed.ThestatueoftheMotherofGodwasthere,watchingandblessing
us....Hetoldmethat,inhisheart,helovedOrthodoxy,butconsideredhewasnotworthyofit,
andbecauseofthishedidnotsucceedinbecomingfullyOrthodox.
IfyougotoRichardandtalktohim,askhimtosingAveMaria.Andbepreparedtotape
thesong.HelovesverymuchtheMotherofGod,andIamsurehewillbehappyinhishearttolet
thissongbeatestimonyofhissecretOrthodoxy.Iwasnotpreparedandfailedtheoccasion.

ThinkingthatthismightbeourlastopportunitytomeetandtalkwithPastorWurmbrand,wesetofftosee
himalmostimmediatelyafterreceivingFr.Georgesletter.
HieromonkGerasim,MotherNina(whohadspenttwoyearsinamonasteryinRomania)andIarrived
atthenursinghomeinthemorningofJuly28.PastorWurmbrandgreeteduswithloveandwashappyto
seeus.WewentwithhiminhiswheelchairtothesamecourtyardinwhichFr.Georgehadspokenwith
him.
Hisfirstconcernwaswhathecoulddoforus.Weweremovedbyhowhe,soweakandenfeebled
himself,wassodesiroustogivetoothers.
Iaskedhimhowtofacepersecution,ifandwhenitcomes.Hetoldusnottobefearfulofpersecution.
PersecutionmustcometoallChristians,hesaid,butdonotbeafraid.
MotherNinaaskedhimhowtobearsuffering.Hesaidthathehadalwaysbeenafraidofsuffering,but
then he began to be joyful in suffering. Be joyful! he exclaimed, leap for joy! As Mother Nina
remarkedlater,ashesaidthishiseyesseemedlikeaseaoflightopeningintoeter nity.
Mother Nina asked him about the song he had composed to the Mother of God in Hebrew.
Immediatelyhesangitforus,andwerecordeditontapeasFr.Georgehadurgedustodo.MotherNina
wept.WhenhefinishedsingingPastorWurmbrandsaidthatMarywastheclosestonetoJesus,andwasthe
onlyonetochangeHiswill.(EvidentlyhewasspeakingaboutChristsmiracleofchangingwaterinto
wine.AccordingtothecommentaryofSt.CyrilofAlexandria,atthattimetheMotherofGoddidindeed
persuadeherSontodosomethingHedidnotdesire;Hediditoutofobediencetoher.)Wecouldsee,asFr.
Georgehadtoldus,thatPastorWurmbrandhadgreatlovefortheTheotokos.
SoonwewerejoinedbyfriendsofPastorWurmbrand:aRomanianwoman,hertwosisters,andher
Americanhusband.PastorWurmbrandslegsbegantohurthim;hewaswincingfromthepain,andasked
tobetakenback insidetohisbed.(Aswe laterlearned, thepainwasduetoseverelyadvancingleg
neuropathy contracted during his three years of solitary confinement, when he was obliged to stand
interminablehours,beingkeptonastarvationdiet.)
Oncehewassettledintohisbed,hesangforusonceagainhissongtotheMotherofGod:firstin
English,andtheninHebrew.Heexplainedtousthecircumstancesunderwhichhecomposedit(this,too,
werecordedontape).Iwasinaverybadsituationinprison,hesaid.Prisonwasnotalwaysverybad.
Sometimestherearebettertimes,sometimesworsetimes.Itwasaverybadtime.AndIprayedthatthe
timeswouldchange,andtheydidnotchange.ThenIpromisedthatifit[thesituation]changedforthegood
oftheprisoners,IwouldtranslatethissongintoHebrew.Infiveminutesthesituationchanged.
WebegantosingOrthodoxhymnswithPastorWurmbrand:ChristisRisenandHolyGodin
Romanian.Eventhoughitwashardforhimtosingandhewouldchokeandcough,hesangthehymnswith
hiswholeheart.
Iaskedhimifhewouldliketobeanointedwithholyoil,andhegladlyconsented.Anointingthree
timeshishead,handsandfeetwithoilfromthereliquaryofSt.John(Maximovitch)ofShanghaiandSan
Francisco,IsaidaloudtheprayerofblessingtoourLordJesusChrist,askingforSt.Johnsintercessions.
AfterthisanointingPastorWurmbrandlookedmorepeacefulandceasedtoshowobvioussignsofbeingin
pain.
We were there for almost three hours. We returned in the evening and were met by Sabina
Wurmbrand,whobeamedwiththesamejoyasdidherhusband.Shetoowasverygladtoseeus,especially
MotherNina.SabinahadbeeninCommunistprisonforthreeyearstogetherwithOrthodoxnuns.
DuringoursecondvisitPastorWurmbrandaskedustogatherclosetohim,andhekeptaskingusfora
word.HewasextremelyinterestedtohearaboutthemissionaryworkofourBrotherhood.
Iwasimpressedwithhishumility.When,forexample,ImentionedFr.GeorgeCalciutohim,hesaid,
Fr.Georgeisagreatman.Helovessinners.Thatswhyhelovesme.
HeaskedSabinafortheircheckbook,becausehewantedtogiveadonationtoward Mother Ninas
upcomingtriptoRomania.Weassuredhimthatitwasnotnecessaryforhimtogotothetrouble,buthe
saidemphatically,WehavetoshowourChristianlovethroughconcreteacts.(Sabinadidnothavethe
checkbookatthetime,butsoonthereaftershesentMotherNinaaletterwithasizabledonation,whichwas
thengiventoanOrthodoxpublishinghouseinRomania.)
AfterawhileSabinabegantobeconcernedthatherhusbandwasbecomingtootired,andsaidshe
thoughteveryoneshouldleaveandlethimrest.ButPastorWurmbranddidnotwantustoleave,andtried
topostponeourdepartureaslongaspossible.Finallywedidgowhenvisitinghoursended.Heexpressed
hisgratitudetous,andaswewalkedoutoftheroomhelookedatuswithlonging.
We ourselves were truly grateful for this meeting. We were able to experience firsthand Pastor
WurmbrandsloveforGodandneighbor,whichhadbeentestedandtriedinthecrucibleofsufferingfor
ourLordJesusChrist.Wewerewitnesses,too,ofhisloveforGodsMostPureMother,andoftherespect
andesteeminwhichheheldtheOrthodoxChurchandhertradition.

Hieromonk Damascene ChristensenisfromSt.HermanofAlaskaMonastery,Platina,California.


Photopage26(lefttoright):HieromonkGerasim,abbotofSt.HermanofAlaskaMonastery;Pastor
Wurmbrand;HieromonkDamascene;andMotherNina.

IntrotoPastorWurbrand'sownarticle"
ThroughouttheeraoftheCommunistdominationofEasternEurope,thereweremanyheroes
whosufferedanddiedinprisonfortryingtohelpChristiansbehindtheIronCurtain.Oneofthe
mostwellknownoftheseheroesisPastorRichardWurmbrand,aLutheranministerwhostarted
anundergroundministryinRomaniain1945.Ofthenexttwentyyears,hespentfourteenin
prison.FinallyransomedoutofRomaniain1965,heestablishedaministrytosmuggleBibles
andpracticalaidtothefamiliesofRomanianmartyrs.HediedinFebruaryofthisyear,suffering
totheendfromthemaltreatmenthehadreceivedatthehandsoftheCommunists.
AGAINMagazinefeaturedanarticlebyRichardWurmbrandinitsSeptember,1987issue.As
thisarticle,reprintedhere,clearlyshows,PastorWurmbrandwasdeeplyimpressedbythefaith
and dedication of the Orthodox Christians he met in Romania. Fr. Damascene Christensen
recently spent time with Pastor Wurmbrand near the end of his life. Fr. Damascenes
reminiscences of those meetings show how Wurmbrands attachment to the Orthodox Faith
persistedanddeepenedintohisdyingdays.
PastorWurmbrandhimselfandthosewhosestoriesherelatesareshiningexamplesofhow
faithfulChristianscannotonlysurvive,butbeilluminatedthroughthedreadfulsufferingsof
imprisonment.

With My Own Eyes


A Lutheran Pastors Firsthand Account of Prison Life

byPastorRichardWurmbrand
IamaChristianfromanOrthodoxcountrythecountryofRomania.Havingbeeninprisonforfourteen
yearsformyfaith,itisnowmymissionaryworktohelppersecutedChristiansinCommunistcountries.I
wouldliketotellyouthestoriesofseveralOrthodoxChristianswithwhomIwasprivilegedtocomeinto
contact during my time in prison. Their examples and their deeds have been a constant source of
encouragementtomethroughouttheyears.

Always Rejoice
Thefirstmanwasapriestwhowasputinjailattheageofseventy.HisnamewasSurioanu.Whenhewas
broughtinwithhisbigwhitebeardandwhitepate,someofficersatthegateofthejailmockedhim.One
asked,Whydidtheybringthisoldpriesthere?Andanotherrepliedwithajeer,Probablytotakethe
confessionsofeverybody.Thosewerehisexactwords.
ThispriesthadasonwhohaddiedinaSovietjail.Hisdaughterwassentencedtotwentyyears.Twoof
hissonsinlawwerewithhiminjailonewithhiminthesamecell.Hisgrandchildrenhadnofood,they
wereforcedtoeatfromthegarbage.Hiswholefamilywasdestroyed.Hehadlosthischurch.Butthisman
hadsuchashiningfacetherewasalwaysabeautifulsmileonhislips.Henevergreetedanyonewith
GoodmorningorGoodevening,butinsteadwiththewords,Alwaysrejoice.
Onedayweaskedhim,Father,howcanyousayalwaysrejoiceyouwhopassedthroughsucha
terribletragedy?
Hesaid,Rejoicingisveryeasy.IfwefulfillatleastonewordfromtheBible,itiswritten,Rejoice
with all those who rejoice. Nowif one rejoices withall those who rejoice, he always has plentyof
motivationforrejoicing.Isitinjail,andIrejoicethatsomanyarefree.Idontgotochurch,butIrejoice
withallthosewhoareinchurch.IcanttakeHolyCommunion,butIrejoiceaboutallthosewhotake.I
cantreadtheBibleoranyotherholybook,butIrejoicewiththosewhodo.Icantseeflowers[wenever
sawatreeoraflowerduringthoseyears.Wewereundertheearth,inasubterraneanprison.Weneversaw
thesun,themoon,starsmanytimesweforgotthatthesethingsexisted.Weneversawacolor,onlythe
gray walls of the cell and our gray uniforms. But we knew that such a world existed, a world with
multicoloredbutterfliesandwithrainbows],butIcanrejoicewiththosewhoseetherainbowsandwhosee
themulticoloredbutterflies.
Inprison,thesmellwasnotverygood.Butthepriestsaid,Othershavetheperfumeofflowersaround
them,andgirlswearingperfume.Andothershavepicnicsandothershavetheirfamiliesofchildrenaround
them.Icannotseemychildrenbutothershavechildren.Andhewhocanrejoicewithallthosewhorejoice
canalwaysrejoice.Icanalwaysbeglad.Thatiswhyhehadsuchabeautifulexpressiononhisface.

Heavens Smile
LetmeinterrupttotellyouaboutanotherOrthodoxChristian.Hewasnotapriest,butasimplefarmer.In
ourcountry,farmersarealmostalwaysilliterate,ornearlyso.HehadreadhisBiblewell,butotherthan
thathehadneverreadabook.Nowhewasinthesamecellwithprofessors,academicians,andothermen
ofhighculturewhohadbeenputinjailbytheCommunists.Andthispoorfarmertriedtobring toChrist
amemberoftheAcademyofSci ence.Butinreturn,hereceivedonlymockery.
Sir,Icantexplainmuchtoyou,butIwalkwithJesus,ItalkwithHim,IseeHim.
Goaway.DonttellmefairytalesthatyouseeJesus.HowdoyouseeJesus?
Well,IcannottellyouhowIseeHim.IjustseeHim.Therearemanykindsofseeing.Indreams,for
instance,youseemanythings.Itsenoughformetoclosemyeyes.NowIseemysonbeforeme,nowIsee
mydaughterinlaw,nowIseemygranddaughter.Everybodycansee.Thereisanothersight.IseeJesus.
YouseeJesus?
Yes,IseeJesus.
WhatdoesHelooklike?HowdoesHelooktoyou?DoesHelookrestful,angry,bored,annoyed,
happytoseeyou?DoesHesmilesometimes?
Hesaid,Youguessedit!Hesmilesatme.
Gentlemen,comehearwhatthismansaystous.Hemocksus.HesaysJesussmilesathim.Showme,
howdoesHesmile?
Thatwasoneofthegrandestmomentsofmylife.Thefarmerbecamevery,veryearnest.Hisface
begantoshine.IntheChurchtodaytherearepastorsandtheologianswhocantbelievethewholeBible.
Theybelievehalfofit,aquarterofit.Somehowtheycantbelievethemiracles.Icanbelievethewholeof
itbecauseIhaveseenmiracles.IhaveseentransfigurationsnotlikethatofJesus,butsomethingapart.I
haveseenfacesshining.
Asmileappearedonthefaceofthatfarmer.Iwouldliketobeapaintertobeabletopaintthatsmile.
Therewasastreakofsadnessinitbecauseofthelostsoulofthescientist.Buttherewassomuchhopein
thatsmile.Andtherewassomuchloveandsomuchcompassion,andayearningthatthissoulshouldbe
saved.Thewholebeautyofheavenwasinthesmileonthatface.Thefacewasdirtyandunwashed,butit
heldthebeautifulsmileofheaven.
Theprofessorbowedhisheadandsaid,Sir,youareright.YouhaveseenJesus.Hehassmiledat
you.

Pure Orthodoxy
Now,tocomebacktothispriest,Surioanu.Hewasalwayssuchahappybeing.Whenweweretakenout
forwalks,inayardwheretherewasneveraflower,apieceofherb,orgrass,hewouldputhishandonthe
shoulderofsomeChristianandask,Tellmeyourstory.
UsuallythemenwouldtalkabouthowbadtheCommunistswere.Theyvebeatenmeandtheyve
torturedmeandtheyvedoneterriblethings.
Hewouldlistenattentively;thenhewouldsay,YouvesaidplentyabouttheCommunists;nowtell
meaboutyourself.Whendidyouconfesslast?
Well,somefortyyearsago.
LetussitdownandforgettheCommunistsandforgettheNazis.Foryouarealsoasinner.Andtell
meyoursins.
EverybodyconfessedtohimIconfessedtohim,too,andIrememberthatasIconfessedtohim,and
themoreItoldhimsins,themorebeautifulandlovingbecamehisface.Ifearedinthebeginningthatwhen
heheardaboutsuchthingshewouldloatheme.ButthemoreIsaidbadthingsaboutmyself,themorehe
satneartome.Andintheendhesaid,Son,youreallyhavecommittedplentyofsins,butIcantellyou
onething.Despiteallofthesesins,Godstilllovesyouandforgivesyou.RememberthatHehasgivenHis
Sontodieforyou,andtryonedayalittlebit,andanotherdayalittlebit,justtoimproveyourcharacterso
itshouldbepleasanttoGod.
Myexperienceswiththispriestwereamongthemostbeautifulencountersofmylife.Heisnolonger
onthisearth.HewasanexampleofwhatrealOrthodoxyisallabout.ThereexistssuchOrthodoxy.Idont
seemuchpointinbecominganOrthodoxfromaLutheranbackgroundorfromaBaptistbackgroundor
fromanyotherbackgroundunlessonedesiresthatkindofOrthodoxy.HiswasanexcellentOrthodoxy,a
pureOrthodoxy.MayGodhelpusalltobetrulyOrthodox,aftertheexampleofsomanysaintswhoare
depictedontheicons,andaftertheexampleofsomanysaintsalivetoday.

A Good Confession
TherewasabrigadeinRomaniawhichwasonlyforpriests,bishops,pastors,rabbis,andlaymenwhoever
wasinprisonforhisfaith.Onedayapoliticalofficercametoinspectthatbrigade.Everybodystoodat
attention,andatrandomhecalledoutayoungman(whosenamewasCoceanga)andaskedhim,What
haveyoubeeninyourcivilianlife?
Andhereplied,Sir,whatIhavebeeninmycivilianlife,Iwillbeforever.IamapriestofGod.
Aha,apriest!AnddoyoustillloveChrist?
Thepriestwassilentforafewsecondssecondsaslongaseternity,becauseheknewthathiseternal
destinywouldbedecidedinthoseseconds.TheLordsaid,WhoeverconfessesMebeforemen,himIwill
alsoconfessbeforeMyFatherwhoisinheaven.ButwhoeverdeniesMebeforemen,himIwillalsodeny
beforeMyFatherwhoisinheaven(Matthew10:32,33).
Andthenafteralittlemeditation,hisfacebegantoshineIhaveseensomanyshiningfacesand
withaveryhumblebutverydecidedvoicehesaid,Captain,whenIbecameapriest,Iknewthatduring
Churchhistorythousandshadbeenkilledfortheirfaith.AndasoftenasIascendedtothealtardressedin
thosebeautiful,ornaterobes,surroundedbytherespectandloveofthecongregation,IpromisedtoGod
thatifeverIhadtosuffer,ifeverIworetheuniformoftheprisoner,IwouldstillloveChrist.
Captain,hewentontosay,Isopityyou.Wehavethetruth,andyouhavewhips.Wehavelove,
andyouhaveironbarsonprisoncells.Violenceandhatredisaverypoorargumentagainsttruthandlove.
Ifyouweretohangalltheprofessorsofmathematics,ifallthemathematicianswerehanged,howmuch
wouldbefourplusfourthen?Itwouldstillbeeight.Andeightpluseightwouldstillbesixteen.
Youcantchangethetruthbyhangingthosewhospeakthetruth.IfalltheChristianswerehanged,it
wouldstillremainsothatthereisaGod,andHeislove.AndthereisaSavior;HisnameisJesusChrist,
andbyconfessingHimamancanbesaved.AndthereexistsaHolySpirit,andahostofangelsaroundthe
earth.Andthereexistsabeautifulparadiseyoucantchangethetruth.
Iwishtherewasawaytoconveythetonewithwhichhesaidthosewords.We,theothers,were
ashamedbecausewebelievedinChrist,wehopedinChrist,butthisman loved ChristasJulietloved
Romeoandasthebridelovesthebridegroom.

An Undying Love
WhenIwasinjailIfellvery,veryill.Ihadtuberculosisofthewholesurfaceofbothlungs,andfour
vertebraewereattackedbytuberculosis.Ialsohadintestinaltuberculosis,diabetes,heartfailure,jaundice,
andothersicknessesIcantevenremember.Iwasneartodeath.
AtmyrighthandwasapriestbythenameofIscu.Hewasabbotofamonastery.Thisman,perhapsin
hisforties,hadbeensotorturedhewasneartodeath.Buthisfacewasserene.Hespokeabouthishopeof
heaven,abouthisloveofChrist,abouthisfaith.Heradiatedjoy.
OnmyleftsidewastheCommunisttorturerwhohadtorturedthispriestalmosttodeath.Hehadbeen
arrestedbyhisowncomrades.DontbelievethenewspaperswhentheysaythattheCommunistsonlyhate
ChristiansorJewsits not true.They simplyhate. Theyhate everybody. They hateJews, they hate
Christians,theyhateantiSemites,theyhateantiChristians,theyhateeverybody.OneCommunisthates
theotherCommunist.Theyquarrelamongthemselves,andwhentheyquarreloneCommunistwiththe
other,theyputtheotheroneinjailandtorturehimjustlikeaChristian,andtheybeathim.
AndsoithappenedthattheCommunisttorturerwhohadtorturedthispriestnearlytodeathhadbeen
torturednearlytodeathbyhiscomrades.Andhewasdyingnearme.Hissoulwasinagony.
During the night he would awaken me, saying, Pastor, please pray for me. I cant die, I have
committedsuchterriblecrimes.
ThenIsawamiracle.Isawtheagonizedpriestcallingtwootherprisoners.Andleaningontheir
shoulders,slowly,slowlyhewalkedpastmybed,satonthebedsideofthismurderer,andcaressedhishead
Iwillneverforgetthisgesture.Iwatchedamurderedmancaressinghismurderer!Thatislovehe
foundacaressforhim.
Thepriestsaidtotheman,Youareyoung;youdidnotknowwhatyouweredoing.Iloveyouwithall
myheart.Buthedidnotjustsaythewords.Youcansaylove,anditsjustawordoffourletters.Buthe
reallyloved.Iloveyouwithallmyheart.
Thenhewenton,IfIwhoamasinnercanloveyousomuch,imagineChrist,whoisLoveIncarnate,
howmuchHelovesyou!AndalltheChristianswhomyouhavetortured,knowthattheyforgiveyou,they
loveyou,andChristlovesyou.Hewishesyoutobesavedmuchmorethanyouwishtobesaved.You
wonderifyoursinscanbeforgiven.Hewishestoforgiveyoursinsmorethanyouwishyoursinstobe
forgiven.HedesiresforyoutobewithHiminheavenmuchmorethanyouwishtobeinheavenwithHim.
HeisLove.YouonlyneedtoturntoHimandrepent.
Inthisprisoncellinwhichtherewasnopossibilityofprivacy,Ioverheardtheconfessionofthe
murderertothemurdered.Lifeismorethrillingthananovelnonovelisthaseverwrittensuchathing.
Themurderedneartodeathreceivedtheconfessionofthemurderer.Themurderedgaveabsolutionto
hismurderer.
Theyprayedtogether,embracedeachother,andthepriestwentbacktohisbed.Bothmendiedthat
samenight.ItwasaChristmasEve.ButitwasnotaChristmasEveinwhichwesimplyrememberedthat
twothousandyearsagoJesuswasborninBethlehem.ItwasaChristmasEveduringwhichJesuswasborn
intheheartofaCommunistmurderer.
ThesearethingswhichIhaveseenwithmyowneyes.
PastorRichardWurmbrandwasthefounderofChristianMissionstotheCommunistWorld,Middlebury,
Indiana.