In our lifetimes, we will speak millions of words. How many are words of encouragement and hope? How many of those words bring life? Never underestimate the power of an encouraging word. A simple blessing was all it took to change the course of Sakina’s life. She is now a new believer in Christ.

From devout Muslim to new believer in Christ

Sakina was working in a shopping center to support herself after her marriage to an abusive husband ended in divorce. She was all alone then because her ex-husband was granted full custody of their two children. Feeling the weight of it all, Sakina was noticeably grief-stricken as she worked. That’s when a customer—a follower of Jesus—took notice and said something to Sakina that changed everything: “God the Father will never leave you alone. He will be with you always.”

In those words, Sakina breathed in the fresh air of hope. Like many Iranians, she had grown up in a devout Muslim household, where she was expected to hold to the teachings of the Quran. But the idea that God was a loving Father who would never leave her sparked something in her heart. She soon found herself accepting this customer’s invitation to attend a church gathering in her home.

Sakina soon surrendered her heart and became a new believer in Jesus Christ. Because of her joy, she began telling others about her Savior. It didn’t take long for her family to discover her newfound faith. She was forced to leave her home. 

After sleeping in the local park for a few days, she sought refuge in the home of a church member. She then began rebuilding her life and found work as a caretaker. But her troubles were far from over.

Hunted and harassed for following Jesus

On her way home from a church meeting one day, Sakina was arrested by the security service. She was taken far from the city. For 15 days, she was interrogated and beaten with rods before being released naked into the desert. 

Though she was found with two broken ribs, friends thought it best to avoid the hospitals, and Sakina was rehabilitated privately in one of their homes in a neighboring city. After she healed from her injuries, Sakina found another caretaker job and found a place to live on her own.

But the security service wasn’t done with her. Sakina began receiving threatening messages from the officers and, a short time later, found a bug that had been planted in her home. When she discovered the government was spying on her, she fled—first to her sister’s house and then across the border into Turkey.

A new believer in a new country

Sakina arrived in Turkey with just $35 to her name. She found a nursing job; however, her salary went unpaid and, knowing as a foreigner she had no recourse, she had to leave with nothing. For a period of time she worked washing dishes in restaurants but had to leave when the boss tried to involve her in immoral acts.

Betrayed and abandoned . . . again

While she struggled to find a stable job, Sakina met a man, a Christian Afghan working in Istanbul, and fell in love. The couple was married in a small church ceremony, and it finally seemed to Sakina that her troubles were over.

After the wedding, Sakina’s new husband had to return to Istanbul to continue working. Two short months later, though, he sent word that he had decided he wouldn’t be coming back. Instead, he would be returning to his native Afghanistan and to the Muslim faith. Sakina responded and told her husband she was pregnant. He coldly replied that she could either keep the baby or get an abortion; either way, he would not be involved.

Sakina holds firm as a new believer

Today, Sakina and her son live in a small apartment with no furnishings, and she pays what bills she can by cleaning the stairwells of apartment complexes. Through our local partners, Help The Persecuted has stepped in to provide support and discipleship during this stressful time in their lives. 

With your support, we’re able to provide stability for Sakina and her son, giving her the time she needs to find a higher paying service job. It is through the Body of Christ coming together that we encourage the faith of believers like Sakina who are persecuted for their faith.

No matter what the future holds, today Sakina trusts in the promise she first heard all those years ago—before she was a new believer: “God the Father will never leave you alone. He will be with you always.”