VIENNA, VA. — Czech missionary Petr Jasek shared Saturday how God spared him from waterboard torture at the hands of Islamic State extremists and eventually used him to lead fellow inmates to Christ during his 14-month imprisonment in Sudan.
For the first time since he was released from a Sudanese prison last year, the Africa regional director for Voice of the Martyrs detailed the horrifying story of his detainment at one of the mission organization's all-day conferences in the United States.
Jasek was among a handful of Christians who shared their testimonies before hundreds gathered at the McLean Bible Church in Vienna, Virginia for the VOM Advance Conference.
Jasek told the audience that he is "living proof that our Lord answers our prayers."
Jasek was accused of espionage and treason by the government when he traveled to Sudan in December 2015 to document persecution faced by Christians in the nation.
Although Jasek originally planned to be in Sudan for just four days, he wound up being imprisoned for 445 before his release in 2017. During that time, Jasek was placed in five different prisons.
Jasek recalled the first couple months in prison, when he was placed in a cell with members of the Islamic State.
"Immediately, they found out about me that I was a Christian. They started to gradually tease me in very bad ways. Essentially, I became like their slave," he explained. "I was really [made] to wash their clothes, wash all the dishes, clean the toilet with my bare hands. They were just making fun of me. I did not resist."
The extremists did more than just make fun of Jasek.
"They became more aggressive. They were inventing ways for how they could [torture] me in a very bad way," he stated. "Eventually, they decided to do waterboarding to me. It's a way of torture where a person lays on his back and they cover his mouth and pour water, which gives you the feeling that you are getting drowned. They told me that Czechoslovakia allows the CIA to waterboard Al Qaeda members, which was not true."
In order to perform the torture, Jasek said that they had to move him and the extremists into a different cell with running water.
"The problem with these Sudanese prisons is that the Sudanese guards, even though it could be the most prestigious prison, they are afraid of these [extremists]," Jasek said. "Because it is [thought] that if these Islamists get released they will get revenge on those guards."
The day before the waterboarding was to occur, Jasek explained that the jihadis interrogated him to find out where VOM was operating in Sudan. Every time they didn't like his answer, he said, they would beat him with a wooden stick.
"I was on my knees and the Lord showed me a [thought] that He came before us in this way. He was once ridiculed, spit upon and beaten with a wooden stick," Jasek recalled. "The Lord gave me the strength to go through all that with a supernatural peace in my mind."