Imprisoned by his family. Threatened. Tortured. Starved. All of this persecution would stop if he turned his back on Jesus and recommitted his life to Islam. This was Mustafa’s choice.
“I know we will be killed, but we wish to be baptized first.” — Mustafa
Many extremist families will torture and maim their loved ones to force them to renounce their faith in Christ. They give these converted Christians a dreadful choice: Renounce their faith or suffer. Many persecuted Christians do not escape from persecution inflicted by their fathers, mothers, siblings, or spouses.
Many times since we were introduced to Mustafa, we weren’t sure if he would survive his persecution—if he would ever escape. Our Help The Persecuted team, and supporters like you, have lifted up Mustafa in prayer for months, pleading for God’s divine intervention.
An Unfolding Nightmare for Mustafa
Since early this year, Mustafa’s story of persecution has unfolded in frightening, yet miraculous ways.
Confused and questioning his religion, Mustafa reached out to our Field Ministry Team member, Nabeel, through a Facebook message. As their conversations developed over days and weeks, Mustafa came to place his faith in Jesus Christ.
The discipleship between Nabeel and Mustafa continued even as Mustafa began to share Christ with his cousin, Ali. Soon, Ali also placed his faith in Jesus, and the two cousins desired to be baptized as a testimony of their commitment.
Mustafa’s father learned of his conversion to Christianity and began to harass him and put pressure on him to renounce his faith in Jesus.
Secretly, Mustafa was able to reach out to Nabeel, telling our team member: “I know we will be killed, but we wish to be baptized first.”
It was then that Mustafa and Ali realized that they would need to leave the country, and this required a passport. When they were called to pick up their passports, the clerk recognized Mustafa and called his father. Mustafa and Ali were then restrained by their family, threatened, and beaten.
Mustafa’s father was irate at his son’s conversion, and violently broke all the fingers on both hands. He was locked in his room without food, and his passport was taken. By God’s divine hand, He softened the heart of Mustafa’s sister, and she helped him communicate with Nabeel about what was happening. Secretly, through the locked door of his room, he told his sister what to say and text.
Likewise, Ali was threatened and attacked by his family. He became dejected and began to succumb to pressure from his family.
Mustafa’s mother was so upset over his conversion, beatings, and his plans to leave the country, she became physically ill with a stroke and had to be hospitalized. For a time, the abuse stopped as their family took care of her, and she returned to health.
However, once she felt better, the torture continued by Mustafa’s brothers. They withheld food from him and hung him from the ceiling fan for long periods of time. They shouted and yelled at him to say the Islamic confession of faith. He still refused, and silently prayed to escape from persecution.
Mercifully, his sister would sneak small bites of food to him and helped him call Nabeel in Iraq. Mustafa was becoming very ill from the abuse by his family, and pleaded with Nabeel for help and comfort.
God Reveals A Plan of Escape from Persecution
Our Help The Persecuted team was distraught as we heard how things were unfolding for Mustafa. Our desire is to rescue. And at times, it is hard to wait on the Lord. But as the Word reminds us over and over, God has a plan and is always working to His glory and our good. In His goodness, God began to reveal a plan of escape out of this dangerous situation.
While Mustafa’s family planned a day away at a wedding, Mustafa convinced them to leave him in the care of his cousins. Reluctantly, his father allowed it. This brief window gave Mustafa and Ali the opportunity they needed to escape from persecution and find their passports. Our local team worked swiftly to arrange for persecuted believers, whom we have helped previously in Mustafa’s home town, to pick him up and bring him and Ali to our Safe House in Iraq.
There, our team addressed their immediate physical needs, like food, tending to wounds, supplying clothing, haircuts, etc. Our team spent time praying with them and encouraging them during this momentous point in their journey.
Knowing they had to get out of Iraq quickly, many members of our Field Ministry Team mobilized across countries to secure airplane tickets, airport pickups, and hotel rooms to make sure they could travel safely out of Iraq. Everyone breathed a big sigh of relief as the plane took off for a neighboring country!
Once they landed, medical appointments were made to address physical wounds and in Mustafa’s case, serious stomach issues from his ongoing poor nourishment. He is on medication and has been suffering physical pain. Both men have received counseling and spiritual encouragement.
They are now living in our Safe House and Ali already has a job locally. As our Regional Team leader said, “the hard part starts now.” These two young men are now separated from their families, communities, friends—everything related to life as they knew it is gone. They will inevitably face loneliness and grief.
Pray with us that they would heal physically and emotionally from all they have endured. Pray for wisdom for our team as they disciple and minister to them. Pray that as they rest at our Safe House and find stability in their new homeland, that God will give them hope and joy for their future.
Help Others Escape From Persecution
Without your help and your prayers, none of this could’ve happened. It is an expensive and highly dangerous process to rescue two young men like this. But imagine how much men like Mustafa and Ali are willing to share in testimony of God’s grace—how much love they received. Now, they know how to share the love of Christ with others, because they have learned by example; they have seen the caring church all around them.
Mustafa and Ali are now starting their new life—in a new country—in our Safe House. Their escape from immediate danger is over, but their journey of faith is not over. Your support has ministered to them physically, mentally, and spiritually. Plane tickets, hotel rooms, clothing, food, medicines—all provided because of your support.
In recent years, we are seeing more and more dangerous situations of extreme persecution that puts the lives of new believers and Help The Persecuted Field Ministry Team members at risk. Your gift today directly affects what we’re able to provide for our persecuted brothers and sisters.