It’s often the case that abused men and women in the Middle East and North Africa find safe harbor at Christian organizations and churches in their area. As believers, we know that God has strategically placed these organizations and Help The Persecuted Field Ministry Team members in areas where they can minister to people who are looking for peace and healing. Many of these abused Muslims come to know and accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Yet, the threat of abuse and persecution does not end with the acceptance of Jesus. In many ways, persecuted women take a greater risk when they choose to follow Jesus.
The Orphan Who Became a Daughter of the King
Halina knows what it’s like to be all alone. Since her parents died when she was very young, she grew up in an orphanage in Lebanon. There, she had no family, no true home, and no hope for the future.
At age 15, Halina left the orphanage to live with her brother and his wife, but she didn’t find the family she was looking for there. Her brother is a member of an extremist group and used violence to control much of Halina’s life, beating her into submission whenever necessary.
From One Violent Home to Another
When Halina was 17, her brother forced her to get married. She and her new husband moved in with his parents, but this new situation wasn’t an improvement. On only the fourth day of their marriage, Halina’s husband began to beat her daily, and forced her to fast and to pray, though he didn’t practice such disciplines himself. Halina’s mother-in-law forced her to wear the hijab. All this was being done in the name of Allah, and she couldn’t understand why religion, which was supposed to bring peace, was so very violent.
In the years that followed, Halina had two children. When her son developed a significant speech problem, a psychiatrist told Halina that it was caused by the stressful environment in which he lived. But after a while when nothing changed at home, Halina left the house and sought refuge at a home for abused and persecuted women. While she was safe for the moment, she continued to pray for the children she had to leave behind.
Like No Other—A Refuge for Persecuted Women
In time, Halina was referred to a different charity, one run by Christians with a mission to provide not only a physical refuge for battered women, but also a spiritual refuge in Jesus Christ. At this new home for persecuted women, Halina heard about Jesus and how He loved her enough to die for her. One day after church, she prayed with her pastor and accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior. In that moment, she received peace and joy that she had never known before.
Halina still prays for her children, asking God to rescue them from the darkness so that they, too, might come to know the Lord. In the meantime, Halina lives in hiding, knowing that her brother, still a member of the Muslim extremist group, is looking for her. She fears that if he found her and discovered her allegiance to Christ, he would kill her.
Since Halina must live discreetly and cautiously, she cannot work a normal job. Help the Persecuted has stepped in with help for her present living expenses and to facilitate training for her to become a hair stylist.
Give to Persecuted Women Who Risk It All
Persecuted women face very different, intense violence and abuse than persecuted Christian men. Many of our sisters are young in their faith and desire to live at peace. Support their discipleship and livelihood as they face life-threatening persecution and stand firm in their faith.