Every week, our team in the Middle East, Asia, and North Africa shares with us dozens of stories about persecuted believers who are giving up everything for the sake of Christ. And even though our international team hears these stories of profound suffering week after week, they move many of us to tears anew every time.
Stories like Najwa’s remind our team that Jesus really is worth everything. They challenge us to look at ourselves and examine our own faith. And they leave us in amazement that our God overlooks not a single one of his precious children. Here is Najwa’s story:
Najwa had an Islamic upbringing in Syria. She wore her hijab and regularly fasted and prayed, fearing punishment from Allah. She lived with her father, who horrifically abused her sexually. When she refused to submit, he would beat her.
As she got older, she got married and had children. Her terrible childhood finally seemed like it was behind her…and then war broke out in Syria. She fled to Lebanon with her family. They lost everything in the process. She grew deeply depressed and discouraged.
One day, her sister-in-law asked her to accompany her to a church to register for food aid. It was the first time Najwa had ever been to a church, and she was amazed to hear about a loving God. Everyone at the church was happy and didn’t seem afraid of this God in the way that she feared Allah. She asked if she could attend church even when there wasn’t aid, and they said, “Everyone is welcome anytime.”
Deeply curious about the love of Jesus, she began to go to church regularly. She enjoyed worshiping a God who was a true Father to His followers. It was so different from her experiences with her abusive father and with Islam. At the same time, her sister-in-law warned her against becoming a Christian. “Stop going to the church,” she said, “except to get more food.”
But Najwa had gotten something so much richer than physical nourishment: She had discovered the love of Christ. It was more compelling to her than anything else. One day, knowing she had to decide what she believed, she got down on her knees and prayed, “Oh Lord, show me the right path!” When she fell asleep later, she dreamed of ascending to Heaven on a long staircase. She prayed and accepted Jesus as her Savior!
Persecution came immediately… Her sister-in-law reported her conversion to her parents and husband, who beat her. Her father said, “I will send a car and forcefully bring you back to Syria and kill you here!” Najwa prayed, “Oh Lord, save me from their wrath!” And God in His deep mercy did. Her husband stopped persecuting her. He said, “I saw that the Lord protected her from every danger.” He later came to faith! His behavior toward Najwa and their children radically changed.
The couple were baptized together…and the sting of persecution came again in even greater force. Najwa was disinherited, losing everything for a second time. Her husband lost his job as a driver and truck mechanic when his employer discovered that he attended church.
When we learned of this faithful family, we were eager to meet with them in person. Laila, one of our Field Ministry Team members in Lebanon, said, “Najwa had a rough childhood, and she still receives threats and reminders that her family does not want her anymore. Despite being abandoned and persecuted by her family, Najwa is steadfast in her faith.”
When we learned of their situation, we saw that their greatest need was for stable and dignified work. Our team worked with them to enable Najwa’s husband to start his own car repair business as a part of our Enduring Livelihood ministry, which aims to break the cycle of poverty and dependence facing many persecuted converts from Islam. Our team is consistently following up with Najwa, and they are excited as they begin to rebuild their lives after losing everything for the sake of Jesus Christ!
Please join our team in prayer for this precious family—for soul-deep healing and for their new business to prosper.