Universally, the family is seen as a source of safety and security. But in Middle East cultures, family can often become a person’s biggest threat—especially for Christians in the region.
Farah’s story exemplifies this struggle between faith and family. She was cast out and threatened because of her unwillingness to give up Christianity. And although she was met with repeated hardships, her life has begun to turn for the better because of her resilience, a God that never abandoned her, and a relationship with Help The Persecuted.
Farah grew up in the Egyptian countryside to a non-practicing Christian family. Her parents forced her to marry when she was only 17 years old. After only a year of marriage, her husband, Ahmed, began verbally berating her for not conceiving any children for him.
A few years later, Farah was able to have children with her husband—two daughters and a son. Unfortunately, that didn’t solve her problems. If anything, it complicated Farah’s situation.
That’s because Ahmed became addicted to drugs. His verbal abuse transitioned into physical violence. He began beating Farah and their children. Rather than protecting or supporting her, Farah’s parents blamed her for the situation—saying it was her responsibility to fix her husband’s problems.
Difficult situations like Farah’s are far too common for women living in the Middle East. And her life only continued to become more complicated because of her abusive relationship.
Abused and Harassed for Her Faith
Ahmed opened a new restaurant in their town with a business partner—a Muslim named Omar. Like Ahmed, Omar also began harassing Farah, primarily because of her faith. Omar pressured Farah to convert to Islam.
Although her faith was more cultural than personal at the time, Farah refused to give in. In desperation, she sought help from her mother-in-law. But rather than help, Farah’s mother-in-law actually enabled her son and his Muslim business partner.
Farah continually changed her phone number to avoid the antagonizing phone calls from Omar. But her mother-in-law provided the new numbers to him in exchange for bribes. She was more than willing to put financial rewards ahead of the well-being of her daughter-in-law and grandchildren.
Once again, Farah had been betrayed by a family member who she thought she could trust.
Abandoned by Her Husband
After over fourteen years of marriage, Farah’s husband disappeared suddenly. Omar told her that Ahmed had run away to marry a Muslim woman because he was ashamed of her.
Taking advantage of Farah’s vulnerable position, Omar came to her house, raped her, and took compromising photos of her to use for blackmail. This pushed Farah to rock bottom.
Unable to find support with anyone in her family, she left her children at home and sought help at a local church. The pastor there promised to do what he could on her behalf.
Farah tried to move back with her parents, but they rejected her and her children. Despite the local pastor speaking on Farah’s behalf, they would only allow her to live with the family livestock.
Her own family encouraged her to take her life because of her “shame” and they did not care if she converted to Islam.
Seeking Shelter Far From Home
With no other options left to her, Farah fled her family’s home with her children. They moved into an Egyptian monastery for two months. While there, she dove deeper into her Christian faith. Her family’s wrath had driven her into a personal relationship with the God who loved her.
Even while living at the church, she was not yet out of the range of danger. Omar demanded that the local pastor hand her over or he would publish the pictures he had taken. Farah realized that she and her children would never be safe while still in Egypt.
So the church helped her and her children move to Lebanon. Farah completely severed ties and connection with her family in an effort to keep herself safe. Now at the age of 33, she is attempting to start her life anew in Lebanon.
“If it wasn’t for Christ’s love, I would be dead by now, I love Him!”
Help Christians Like Farah Start a New Life
Although Farah and her children are outside of the reach of their abusers, they are still in need of help and support. Farah has not been able to find work in her new country. She needs help to pay her rent, living expenses, and children’s education fees. Farah is also still dealing with the trauma of her rape.
Through the local church, she was connected to Help The Persecuted. Our ministry is now helping with her living expenses—including rent and schooling for her children. Our team will continue investing in her as she starts her new life and grows deeper in her faith.
Through God’s grace, Farah has been able to escape a family that sought to tear her down and helped to find a family that will love and support her—the family of Christ. And as members of that family, it’s our responsibility to care for people like Farah.
Donating to Help The Persecuted directly impacts the lives of the vulnerable people being persecuted because of their faith in Jesus. Your contribution provides them with the timely and critical support they need and empowers them to keep living out their faith in a hostile environment.