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Saturday, Apr 19, 2014

Voice of the Martyrs President Comments on Tom White's Apparent Suicide

  • (Photo: VOM/File)
    Tom White, Executive Director of Voice of the Martyrs.
April 25, 2012|1:59 pm

The Voice of the Martyrs' president released a statement Wednesday acknowledging the apparent suicide of the nonprofit's late executive director, Walter Thomas "Tom" White, amid allegations that he had molested a young girl. Authorities have also shared with The Christian Post details in the case against White, who left behind a wife and two children.

James E. Dau shared on VOM's website in a letter echoing a previous statement from the Oklahoma organization, that learning of White's death was difficult and prompted many questions among those involved with the Christian persecution ministry.

"No day in the history of my work at VOM has been more difficult than Wednesday, April 18th. That morning, we learned that Tom had taken his own life. Like everyone on our team, and probably like you, my first question was, 'Why?'" writes Dau, who is also The Voice of the Martyr's CEO.

"We don't have all the answers to that question, and we never will this side of eternity. But we do know some of the events that led up to his tragic death," he adds, sharing much of what the local authorities have shared with The Christian Post.

"The day before, allegations were made to authorities that Tom had inappropriate contact with a young girl. I personally believe that rather than face those allegations and the resulting fallout for his family and this ministry, Tom chose to end his life," says Dau in the letter.

The president and CEO further states that there was no doubt "Tom deeply loved his wife, his children and his grandchildren. And there's no doubt that he was passionate about serving the persecuted church. As one of our directors stated, 'He truly was a voice for the martyrs.'"

While expressing the gratitude of VOM's staff for the support and prayers of those in the Christian community who have reached out to the organization Dau insists that the ministry's work would, and must, continue.

He writes, "We are continually humbled by the faithfulness of our readers who support this work. In effect, this is your ministry and we are merely God's facilitators. We thank you for all the encouraging notes we have received in the past week; they have been a blessing beyond measure.

"There are many exciting opportunities ahead. With God's help, we will continue expanding our ministry to serve those who are persecuted and to make their voices heard. We do not know why or when tragedy will fall, but we do know that God is in control and desires us to be in fellowship with His persecuted body (Phil. 3:10)."

The authorities in Bartlesville,Okla., where The Voice of the Martyrs is located, informed CP late Tuesday that White, 64, was last seen on April 17 at around 7:30 p.m. by his family.

"VOM reported finding Mr. White's vehicle on the complex [where VOM is headquartered] Wednesday morning and reported it to police at 08:00 a.m. Mr White was found deceased Wednesday morning around 10:00 a.m. about two hours later on the VOM complex," Captain Jay Hastings of the Bartlesville Police Department revealed.

The Associated Press reported that on the day White was reported missing, police had requested from the Washington County District Court an order to have his cell phone carrier provide "real time GPS pinging" of his phone in hopes of discovering his whereabouts.

Investigators had noted in their submitted document that White "had been reported to have molested a 10-year-old juvenile female" and disappeared as the investigation got underway.

Employees at The Voice of the Martyrs had reportedly discovered what appeared to be a suicide note left by White in his vehicle.

According to Capt. Hastings, the note indicated that the executive might have been "suicidal or possibly fleeing to avoid investigation."

"You can take it either way," Hastings told the AP. "It was kind of a goodbye letter. You don't know if he was talking about himself."

Capt. Hastings told CP that the police department had not yet received an official cause of death from the medical examiner. The Christian Post was unable to confirm with the Oklahoma Office of the Chief Medical Examiner this afternoon its progress in determining White's cause of death.

Bartlesville Police Chief Tom Holland also confirmed with CP that he is a member of The Voice of the Martyr's Board of Directors, as well as "a good friend of Mr. White." Chief Holland declined to comment further.

White worked with The Voice of the Martyrs for more than 30 years, and during his time as its executive director, the persecution ministry "saw incredible growth in its outreach to the worldwide persecuted church," the organization said.

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The full statement from The Voice of the Martyr's President James E. Dau:

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Dear Friend:

My name may be unfamiliar to you, but I have served VOM as Chief Operating Officer for nearly 13 years and have served as both COO and President for the past five years. In addition, I served as a U.S. Marine Corps helicopter pilot in Vietnam and retired with the rank of Colonel. I am humbled and honored to serve at VOM.

My first overseas trip with VOM was as part of a ministry team delivering Christmas Care packages in Egypt. Since that time, I've had the privilege of meeting with and delivering your aid to our persecuted brothers and sisters in many nations where Christians face persecution.

Overseeing an organization with the scope and reach of VOM involves many challenges, but the joy and gratitude expressed on the faces of our courageous persecuted family always remind me of how privileged I am to share in this great work.

God has blessed VOM with a dedicated team of workers and leaders, and I am grateful to be part of this leadership. I've never been the "public face" of VOM and probably never will be. We have relied on many others to fulfill that role, including our late Executive Director, Dr. Tom White, which unfortunately brings me to the purpose of this letter.

No day in the history of my work at VOM has been more difficult than Wednesday, April 18th. That morning, we learned that Tom had taken his own life. Like everyone on our team, and probably like you, my first question was, "Why?"

We don't have all the answers to that question, and we never will this side of eternity. But we do know some of the events that led up to his tragic death.

The day before, allegations were made to authorities that Tom had inappropriate contact with a young girl. I personally believe that rather than face those allegations and the resulting fallout for his family and this ministry, Tom chose to end his life.

No one in leadership at VOM was aware of the allegations at the time of Tom's death.

There is no doubt that Tom deeply loved his wife, his children and his grandchildren. And there's no doubt that he was passionate about serving the persecuted church. As one of our directors stated, "He truly was a voice for the martyrs."

All of us at VOM are deeply saddened by these events. Our hearts are broken. Yet God has called us to continue his work of standing with persecuted Christians around the world.

In serving alongside Tom for more than a decade as a ministry leader and friend, I am honored to have seen the work that God performed through Tom and through VOM. Our friendship and close working relationship make his death and the circumstances very hard. Yet my loss is small compared with the loss Tom's family is now feeling. Our hearts and our prayers go out to them, and I know that you will want to pray with me that "The God of all comfort" (2 Cor. 1:3) will be their Rock during these difficult days.

The work God has called VOM to fulfill - originally through the vision of Pastor Richard Wurmbrand in a Romanian prison cell - is much bigger than any one person. God has done an amazing work over the past 45 years in establishing this ministry to stand with those who are persecuted for their faith.

None of this could have been accomplished without our faithful friends who, led of the Spirit, encourage us, pray for us and contribute generously to support this work.

VOM has always been a ministry that relies on God moving His people to help the persecuted church. From the beginning, Pastor Wurmbrand traveled widely to spread the stories of the persecuted church, and people gave. We will continue to follow the model he established by freely sharing the stories of persecuted Christians and supporting them in their suffering.

We are continually humbled by the faithfulness of our readers who support this work. In effect, this is your ministry and we are merely God's facilitators. We thank you for all the encouraging notes we have received in the past week; they have been a blessing beyond measure.

There are many exciting opportunities ahead. With God's help, we will continue expanding our ministry to serve those who are persecuted and to make their voices heard. We do not know why or when tragedy will fall, but we do know that God is in control and desires us to be in fellowship with His persecuted body (Phil. 3:10).

On behalf of those who are suffering for their faith and my co-workers here at The Voice of the Martyrs, I thank you for standing with us during this difficult time and humbly seek your ongoing prayers.

READ: IN MEMORY OF TOM WHITE AND CHUCK COLSON AND THEIR GREAT LEGACIES

SEE VIDEO OF TOM WHITE SPEAKING ABOUT HAVING JOY AMID GRIEVING

Source URL : http://www.christianpost.com/news/voice-of-the-martyrs-president-comments-on-tom-whites-apparent-suicide-73864/