Taking a Step of Faith
After a year of discipleship, Maissa was ready: she was going to proclaim her Christian faith to her conservative Muslim family and be baptized. But nothing could’ve prepared her for the persecution that would arise from that decision.
Maissa’s brother and nephew responded to her profession with violent rage. They mutilated her face with a knife, leaving her unrecognizable. They beat her until she lost consciousness, locking her in a room with minimal food for weeks.
At this point, it would have been easier, and much safer, for this new convert to renounce her faith and return to Islam. If this was only the beginning of persecution, what else would she endure?
But Jesus had a hold on Maissa…He was not going to let her go.
Enduring Persecution with Christ
Faithfully clinging to the Cross, our brave sister continued to endure her family’s wrath. The wounds on her face were just starting to turn to scars when she was baptized, surrounded by her brothers and sisters in faith.
Persecution, and the suffering it resulted in, could’ve been the end of Maissa’s walk with Christ. But instead, she saw it as an invitation to fellowship with the One who was pierced for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities.
When she was raised from the waters of baptism, she fully accepted the healing that Christ alone paid for by His wounds and has since led multiple women—including her two sisters—to faith!
Love Your Persecutors
When our Field Ministry Team learned what happened to Maissa, they immediately reached out to rescue her from the grip of her persecutors. But God was already at work, using Maissa’s Christlike love for her enemies in unimaginable ways…
Our brave sister remains under the same roof as the men who took a knife to her face in rage. She breaks bread with them
, and occasionally receives some insults for her Christian faith. She has no intention of leaving her family.
In the face of Maissa’s radical grace and forgiveness, the anger that led her brother and nephew to such horrific acts of violence has dissipated. They are by no means supportive of her conversion, but they are quietly perplexed.
What kind of love could enable Maissa to genuinely forgive them, and not seek any sort of revenge? Could this miraculous change really be Jesus Christ, turning a harsh, hard-hearted soul into one full of peace and light?
Helping Our Persecuted Sister Rebuild Her Life
Maissa is earning a meager wage harvesting fruit during the summer months in Lebanon, barely making enough to eat. Because of her faith and country’s growing economic crisis, finding an income to cover even the necessities has been near-impossible.
Our Field Ministry Team is coming alongside this young, passionate believer, assessing her needs and providing pastoral care as she rebuilds her life in the wake of persecution.
Despite the trauma and suffering of Maissa’s journey, her perspective is inspiring:
“I was imprisoned and forced to stay home. I was beaten and forsaken by my family. The Lord did not forsake me, however, nor did you.”