The Question arises, who actually benefited the most from the construction of this massive, and lavish “headquarters”; the suffering persecuted church, widows and orphans, or Bartlesville, Oklahoma? Bartlesville, is a city of about 35,000 population and the headquarters of the Conoco Phillips Petroleum giant, which previously has been the major employer in the area. Now, with the building of the new VOM Headquarters, VOM has become the 2nd largest employer in Bartlesville, so obviously, Bartlesville is the entity benefited most by the VOM presence in the area. Not just the VOM building and Bartlesville employees, but the traffic coming into the area by volunteers and visitors. Many Bartlesvillans, also sit on the board of directors, even prior to Tom White’s suicide.
Above is an image of the large new VOM headquarters, and pictured below is the view of the back side of the new Voice of the Martyrs facility, and man-made lake.
New Voice of the Martyr building, Bartlesville, OK in the US
This link, of McAnaw Construction contains the approx cost of construction of the various new VOM facilities, main building, bath house, RV parking for volunteers. I’m not sure about the total finished cost of it all, but do know it is into the multimillion dollar category. Of course, this is helping to put Bartlesville, OK, (already the home of Conoco Phillips Petroleum), on the map, but also bringing in income to the city, so of course, the city is in favor of “financial progress”.
In contrast, when VOM first moved to Bartlesville, OK and set up US headquarters here, (about 1992), while Richard Wurmbrand was still alive, Voice of the Martyrs was blessed by God when they were able to purchase the 5 story brick building on the corner of Frank Phillips Blvd, in downtown Bartlesville for a mere $27,000! A perfectly sound and solid building for a mere pittance considering it’s actual worth and market value. Amazing!
One has to wonder what Richard Wurmbrand would think of this new expensive layout….Richard who spent a total of 14 yrs in a cramped gray prison cell, dining on swill not fit for human consumption, rather than at Sterling’s Grill in Bartlesville, or some high end sushi place while traveling.
I believe he and his wife Sabina had a nice, but fairly modest seniors apt in Bartlesville. They were so deserving of that and a whole lot more besides.
I went to a couple of meetings where Richard was preaching. By this time in his life, he was frail, and had to sit while speaking. I noticed his wife being very attentive to his physical needs during these meetings. Although nothing was said about it, I believe he was in quite a bit of discomfort. He easily could have skipped out on invitations to preach at various churches and functions, but his passion and drive was fueled by his love for the persecuted brothers and sisters going through the flames of affliction. He apparently continued in this manner until the end of his life.
Some years ago, I read an account of Richard having a heart attack after hearing of a Chinese Christian who’s heart was cut out by his persecutors. That wouldn’t surprise me from what I knew about the man.
Then there was precious, devoted Sabina, wearing modest clothes and a head covering, while Richard, as frail as he was, would patiently and lovingly allow the mothers of small children to take pictures of their kids sitting on his lap. Richard was so humble and meek. Suffering for the sake of Jesus and the gospel in the crucible of torture and persecution will tend to bring about humility and meekness in those who survive it, as Richard had. He had a quiet dignity and elegance about him that I will never forget.
But…that was then, and this is now, and since Richard Wurmbrand passed away, many changes have occurred under the leadership of Tom White. Those changes include the undertaking of this elaborate building project, but also, more disturbing and important, is the ecumenical direction which Tom White has been taking Voice of the Martyrs.
Indeed, one has to wonder what he would think of the changes made since he departed this life. Some of the locals —-Bartians,—- (which is what the residents of Bartlesville), are called, are saying that too much money has been going into the administration end of VOM, including the costs of the new facilities, which should be going to help the persecuted brethren, many of whom live in abject poverty. Indeed, that may be a legitimate concern, but what should be even a larger concern is VOM’s ecumenical leanings and support of Catholic churches in various countries where VOM operates. Churches and countries that VOM has designated as Christian when they are not.
So, what we apparently have here, are the large, lavish new facilities of an ecumenical organization operating on the good will donations of Christians.
Note from Scarlett: I’ve contacted Heavens Family and asked for a picture of their headquarters. This is the response I received, ” We don’t actually have a headquarters building in the United States! Our ministry saves the money it would spend on rent, utilities, etc. by having it’s staff and volunteers work remotely. It’s been a more efficient and cost-efficient way to operate!”
Remember, Heavens Family has developed into an efficient world wide ministry even without a large expensive headquarters. http://www.heavensfamily.org/