How Voice of the Martyrs Funded Abuse of Nigerian Orphans
We've spent much time trying to get Voice of the Martyrs to work to resolve these issues. After many months, we have decided it is time to publicly release the video. Here's how you can help fight this evil:
- Sign our petition to urge VOM USA to investigate
- Please share this video and petition with your pastor, friends and family, especially those who may donate to Voice of the Martyrs
- Contact VOM USA and express your concerns
Follow the change.org petition or the Reformation Baptist Church Facebook page for updates as the situation develops.
Persecuting the Persecuted is a project of Reformation Baptist Church.
In January 2016, a group from our church visiting Nigeria for ministry was told of a very sad situation at the Stephens Center, an orphanage run by Voice of the Martyrs. We were told that the girls there were being abused by Isaac Newton, the director. As we began speaking with witnesses, the tragic conditions there were unfolded before us. We learned that the director was habitually abusing the girls, sometimes taking them to the hospital to abort children that were conceived. He had silenced nearly everyone who knew what he was doing by threatening harm to their reputation or even their persons. He kept the victims and their families quiet by threatening to expel them or their younger siblings from the school and to cut off the funding that was coming to the family from Voice of the Martyrs.
What we discovered went beyond sexual abuse, and it quickly became apparent that nearly all of VOM's work in Nigeria was corrupt. It seemed that theft was rampant through the organization at every level. The children at the orphanage were not being fed or provided for adequately, even while VOM was using the orphanage to raise money in the United States. Other persecution victims were not receiving the money that they were promised to pay their medical bills. Those who tried to report and stop what was going on were fired by Isaac and the board of directors. After talking with about twenty witnesses, including victims from the Stephen's Center, their families, and both former and current VOM employees, we realized that instead of helping the victims of the Muslim persecuting, those victims were being used for profit or even being abused in horrific ways.
When we brought what we had discovered to Voice of the Martyrs, it soon became apparent that they were more interested in covering up what had gone on instead of resolving it in a just and righteous way. They at first assured us that there was nothing to what we had heard, as it had been reported to them years before, they had investigated the accusations and found that they were untrue. But the accounts that we had heard of these investigations demonstrated that instead of thoroughly checking out the accusations, they had sided with Isaac and helped him retaliate against his accusers.
We’ve spent the last year fighting to get justice for these girls and to get VOM to stop the evil and make sure it never happens again. In our conversations, they repeatedly asserted things to us that we knew to be untrue, and continually delayed and obstructed resolving the situation. They promised to bring in a third party to do a thorough outside investigation, but that never took place. Finally, with the imminent threat of the release of the video, they cut of funding to Isaac, but not without giving his organization property worth over $100,000 – a gift to someone who they had every reason to believe would use that money to continue to rape girls.
We have decided to release the video publically, to try to petition Voice of the Martyrs to do a real independent investigation into why they allowed this evil to continue for so many years, and to see if they have done everything they can to bring it to an end and to help the victims. For more details, and to see the video we have put together of witness testimony, you can visit persecutingthepersecuted.com. We would appreciate any help in exposing the tragic evil that has been done, and shine the light of truth on the wickedness that has been done in the name of Christ.
For more details, watch the video and read the change.org petition.
"To loose the bonds of wickedness, To undo the heavy burdens, To let the oppressed go free, And that you break every yoke"
"And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light."
"And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God."
1 John 3:19-21
Questions and Answers
Who are you and why are you doing this?
This video is produced and distributed by Reformation Baptist Church of Youngsville, NC. The sad situation of Voice of the Martyrs work in Nigeria was uncovered by a group over in Nigeria on a Christian mission trip. Dan Horn is an elder at Reformation and other men on the trips are members there. Also crucial to this project is Jeff Arnette of Oklahoma, and his family, who set up the prosthetic clinic in Nigeria with VOM.
We believe that the Bible teaches that it is the responsibility of the church to speak against evil and injustice. In Isaiah 1:16b-17 God calls us to, "Cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, rebuke the oppressor; defend the fatherless, plead for the widow." Since God in His providence revealed this situation to us, it is our duty to reveal the works that were done in darkness. (Psalm 94:16, Ephesians 5:11-12)
We pray that God uses this video to glorify Himself, to bring justice to the oppressed and the widow, to be a call to righteousness and justice for the church and the world, and to expunge the shame that has brought on God's name by VOM scandalous conduct in Nigeria.
Do you have first hand witnesses to the sexual abuse?
Yes. For a variety of reasons, all the conversations and evidence we have has not been put into the video. We have spoken to several victims of sexual assault at the Stephen's Center, and also have the letter in the video, which provides a written account by a victim. We have spoken to many people who heard on good authority that it was taking place, first hand witnesses to inappropriate behavior by Isaac Newton that would be indicative of sexual assault, as well as first hand witnesses of other misconduct.
Why are you releasing this publicly instead of resolving this with Voice of the Martyrs?
For the past year, we have communicated with various people from VOM USA, from staff members to Jim Dau, the president, as well as attempting to reach the entire board. Although they eventually have cut off funding from Isaac Newton, they have failed to perform many of what we believe to be their basic responsibilities in this situation. We have no confidence that those who allowed this to go on for so long will be found and removed from their position, and based on their response, it would not be surprising if it was happening elsewhere.
Aren't Voice of the Martyrs in Nigeria and Voice of the Martyrs USA completely separate organizations?
In our conversations with VOM USA, they have repeatedly told us that Voice of the Christian Martyrs, the VOM organization in Nigeria (VOCM), is a completely separate entity over which they have and had no control. However, in our experience in dealing with VOM USA, as well as the testimony of VOM employees in Nigeria, it is apparent that this argument is a smokescreen for the real situation. Although they were a separate organization, VOM USA had vast authority and influence in Nigeria, since they were providing a huge portion of VOCM's budget. VOM USA staff also exercised direct managerial control over VOM staff in Nigeria, including making hiring and firing decisions. These organizations were heavily intertwined, no matter their assertions to the contrary.
Have you reported this to the authorities?
This situation has been reported to the United States FBI and Department of Homeland Security. A lawyer in Nigeria has been consulted, but the situation there is more delicate as a crime of this nature would likely not be investigated unless reported by someone who was a victim, or was willing to pay.
What do you think Voice of the Martyrs needs to do to resolve this situation?
We believe that VOM USA should:
- As we request in our petition, bring in outside investigators and fully cooperate with them to determine who allowed this evil to go on for so long, why other investigations found nothing, why nothing happened when the sexual abuse was reported, and why it took the pressure of public opinion to force them to investigate.
- Publicly release the findings of the outside investigation, and take the actions they recommend, including a change of leadership of VOM USA if necessary.
- Use their money and influence in Nigeria to try to get Isaac Newton brought to justice, to provide protection to the victims so they will come forward, and to try to help the victims who were hurt under their watch.
- Publicly repent and acknowledge how VOM USA fell short, and set policies in place to prevent this situation from happening again.
Have Zingak and Raphael retracted their statements?
Although we have heard that some are spreading rumours to the contrary, Zingak and Raphael have been consistent in standing by their story as recorded in the video. Plus we have spoken to many other witnesses. We have not relied solely on their testimony.
If you would like to send us questions, get more information, or to request an interview, you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.