Our team is so blessed to walk alongside persecuted believers who cling to their faith despite extreme persecution. One of those people is Jamila. Here is her story.
Jamila was born to Muslim parents in Iraq. She devoutly followed Islamic rituals…and then unknowingly married a Christian believer, Bashar, who kept his faith a secret. One day, she heard him singing Christian songs, and she asked him about it. He professed his Christian faith and asked her to not tell anyone.
When Jamila and Bashar moved in with his parents, they noticed he did not pray or fast. They began to question his commitment to Islam and observed him closely. When they discovered Bashar was a Christian, they abducted him…and murdered him in secret, leaving Jamila wondering where he was…for years.
Jamila had to flee to Syria because of the war in Iraq, and she stayed with her mother’s family, who was Christian. She suddenly found herself spending a lot of time around other Christians, and she admired how they lived their lives. Many told her, “The Lord Jesus Christ is a God who delivers,” but as she thought about her past, she wondered if He could truly deliver her.
Then she had to travel to Iraq for her children’s paperwork. She was afraid of the militias there, and she decided to pray to Jesus to help her return safely…and she did. Was this God’s deliverance?
Later, her husband’s family sold land that they owned, and she asked for his share of the inheritance. They responded, “He will not inherit anything because he was an apostate. We killed him years ago.” She was completely overwhelmed with the news. How could a family kill their own son? As she grieved, she looked to Islam and studied Sharia law for answers. She discovered that it mandated the execution of apostates…and she lost her faith in Allah.
Eager for answers and convinced there was a truth that could bring her hope, Jamila recalled her husband’s faith that had cost him his life. She began to read the Bible and soon realized that the god in Islam had nothing in common with the true God.
When her family continued to insist on depriving her of the inheritance that was rightfully hers, she grew weary of fighting for what was hers and declared to them, “You have refused me; therefore, I will follow the Lord Jesus.” She devoted her life to Christ in that moment! Persecution was immediate: Within a few hours, her brother-in-law sexually assaulted her and beat her and her children. He opened a gas canister in their home to suffocate them to death and then fled. Miraculously, Jamila’s friend smelled the gas and broke down the door, saving their lives.
Jamila escaped with her children and moved to Lebanon. She slept in a cemetery for nine days before one of our pastoral care team members heard about her, came to her, and ministered to her.
She was beginning to rebuild her life in a nearby village that was mostly Muslim. Then, one of her children said, “Oh Jesus!” while he was playing on the street. The other children launched on him, beating him and forbidding him from saying the name of Jesus ever again. Then her husband’s parents discovered that she was in Lebanon, and now they are looking for her…to put her to death, just as they did to their own son.
Our team intervened and moved Jamila and her children to a Safe House. There, they are healing from persecution, grief, and physical injuries. She is enjoying simply being in a place that is safe, and we are getting to pour into her spiritually, showing that Jesus can truly heal every wound and give her hope for her future. She is staying true to her words, following the Lord Jesus through deep, deep waters. What a privilege it is to walk alongside her!
Ministry to Jamila is possible because of your generosity. Because of you, we have Safe Houses in strategic places across the Middle East, Asia, and North Africa. They are so much more than simply safe places to hide from dangerous family members. Because of our pastoral care team, they are places of healing—emotionally, physically, and spiritually.