Bob Fu was teaching college students about Jesus in his home when he landed in prison.
Getaneh Getaneh had boiling oil poured on the souls of his feet for speaking about Jesus.
Gracia Burnham and her husband, Martin, were kidnapped by Abu Sayyaf Group, a militant group of Muslims, while taking a break from New Tribes Missions work to celebrate their 18th anniversary.
Fu from China, Getaneh from Ethiopia and Burnham, an American serving in the Philippines at the time, will tell their stories at the Voice of the Martyrs Regional Conference to be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 1 at Grace Bible Church, 164 Laurel Lane, Hollidaysburg.
Darcie Gill, a representative for Voice of the Martyrs, will also speak. She has traveled to the Middle East, Asia and the West Indies where she has ministered to persecuted Christians.
The Rev. Daren Ritchey, pastor of Grace Bible Church, said Gill spoke at the church a couple of years ago. The conference is one of 16 seminars, the American office of Voice of the Martyrs, based in Bartlesville, Okla, is holding across the nation this year. Next year, 20 conferences are planned.
Matt Rose, regional conference coordinator for Voice Ministries for the Voice of the Martyrs in the United States, said the organization has existed for more than 40 years and persecution of Christians is growing worldwide.
He said Christians in 50 nations encounter opposition in various degrees from not being permitted to hold religious gatherings to facing death for possessing a Bible.
Other restrictions include discrimination when it comes to employment and health services, destruction and possession of property.
He said, "Christians have been persecuted for their faith all through the centuries. There are many places in the Bible that we are told to expect that people would not receive the truth of God's Word and they would disagree with us, not like us, hate us, or even take our life."
Fu, a native of mainland China, is now a visiting professor at Oklahoma Wesleyan University. In his homeland, he was the pastor of a house church to 30 college students when he and his wife, Heidi, were arrested. After their release, the couple fled to Hong Kong and eventually received visas to America.
Getaneh is a frequent conference speaker. He was imprisoned for preaching the gospel by Communists in his homeland of Ethiopia before the regime fell in 1994. He escaped and fled the country. When he returned to Ethiopia, he was arrested at the airport and charged with converting Muslims to Christianity.
Burnham has written two books about her experiences in the Philippines after she and her husband, Martin, along with another American and 17 Filipinos were kidnapped in May 2001 at a resort in Palawan. Several hostages were murdered. Other hostages were set free.
After more than a year in captivity, a Philippine military hostage rescue operation freed Gracia Burnham, but her husband, who served a New Tribes Mission as jungle pilot, and Filipina Deborah Yap were killed.
Although the speakers experienced persecution 10 or more years ago, Rose said the problem is growing.
Some of the countries do not know how to deal with people's response to Christianity, Rose said.
"Many people have been disillusioned with what their government or religion has to offer. They are looking for something to fulfill their lives and meet a deep need.
"Jesus Christ does that so people are converting to Christianity. Governments are cracking down on Christians but that instills greater curiosity and more searching of the people about why the governments or other religions are so opposed to Christianity. It perpetuates the spread of the gospel," Rose said.
For those Christians who face persecution, Voice of the Martyrs has more than 1,000 projects to equip and encourage them.
" Our assistance is anything from helping an imprisoned pastor's family, pastor training, house church support, evangelism support and training, literature translation and distribution and radio and satellite broadcasts.
In addition to those needs, Rose said the No. 1 request of persecuted Christians "is prayer that they will be faithful to Christ, and they will see many come to know the truth of who Jesus Christ is."
Ritchey said Grace Bible Church is hosting the conference "because we realize how fortunate we are to live in America where we have freedom of religion.
"The Bible says 'remember those who are in chains. Pray for those who are being persecuted.' Many Christians in the world don't have the freedoms that we do," he said.