Lana’s story not only displays how God is using Help The Persecuted ’s Lightning Funds to support Christians in danger, but how evangelism, discipleship, and practical help all work together in this holistic ministry.
While home in the Middle East on a break from her graduate studies, Lana noticed a significant shift in her older brother Hussein’s personality. Though once angry and antagonistic, he was now kind and reflective.
Curious to find the source of his new found positivity, she asked Hussein what had led to the dramatic change:
While working abroad, Hussein had grown frustrated with Islam’s inability to directly answer his questions. He began searching for truth in books that refuted Islam, and, by the grace of God, miraculously landed on the Bible. Eventually, he came to faith in Christ and was discipled and supported by members of the Help The Persecuted field team.
Hussein shared news of his conversion with Lana and challenged her to begin reading the Bible and to consider Jesus for herself. While on the plane back to school, Lana opened the Bible her brother had given her. She later told us:
“As I read the Gospel of John, I started crying. The words felt alive, like I was hearing someone speaking them to me. The Scriptures gave me what I needed, and I got off the plane as God’s child.”
When Hussein informed our field team leaders Salam and Samar about Lana’s conversion, they connected her with a local church, where she became actively involved and was soon baptized.
Once her graduate studies ended, Lana knew she was being called back to her home country – though she knew she would face persecution:
“I felt that I had wasted my life, and I had been wrong in everything I believed. There was something inside me that made me share [the Gospel]. I couldn’t stop sharing. I just couldn’t.”
Back home, Lana had thought her mother would be understanding; instead, she was hostile. She confronted Lana, asking point blank if she had become a Christian. Lana took courage, not denying her faith, and confirmed that she had accepted Jesus as her Savior.
Soon after, Lana’s mother began tracking her every movement. Lana had to hide her activities, eventually avoiding church altogether and limiting meetings with individuals and small groups of believers to public places. But even clandestine planning didn’t work. Lana’s mom gave her an ultimatum:
“Return to Islam or face the Sharia court. You deserve to die because you left Islam.”
Lana was sure that something terrible was being planned and, with the help of Lightning Funds provided by Help The Persecuted, made arrangements to flee the country as soon as possible. Help The Persecuted also connected her with an organization that wrote the legal papers necessary to apply for asylum. But just as she was about to board the plane, Lana was stopped and told that she was banned from traveling:
“I booked a flight. Nobody knew I was going that day. I didn’t want to tell anyone because I was scared. When I got to the airport, when I was boarding, they said that ‘you’re not allowed to leave, you need to refer to the Sharia court.’”
I felt trapped.”
The hearings before the Sharia court lasted for six months. It was an emotionally exhausting and humiliating experience for Lana. The court was open to anyone, and her life was daily put in danger as she was publicly accused of being an apostate.
Lana was enrolled in an Islamic course as punishment and forbidden to leave the country. During this awful time, Help The Persecuted rescued her from the dangerous situation of living with her mom—helping her find a safe apartment and providing her living expenses. But even after she finished the Islamic course, her case remained open, and she was still unable to leave Jordan.
Then, Salam was investigated by the secret police for playing some part in Lana’s conversion. During the meeting, Salam, led entirely by the Holy Spirit, dissuaded the Secret Police from carrying out charges against Lana. Within a week, Lana’s case was closed, and she immediately departed on a plane bound for Europe, once again, thanks to immediate funding from Help the Persecuted.
Today, Lana is rebuilding her life as a disciple of Jesus Christ. Salam and Samar are still in contact with her and try to encourage her as much as they can from afar.
“Salam and Samar gave me a hand when nobody else did. They were the only people that I could trust anywhere, basically. They helped my brother also, and they were always there for us—whether we needed advice or any kind of help. And they did so even though their own situation was difficult.”
Without the help provided by our field team members, Lana most likely would have faced extreme persecution, possibly death. But through the support of partners like you, God provided for her both practically and spiritually during her time of desperate need.
If this sounds like a spy novel, know that it’s par for the course in the Middle East. There are thousands upon thousands more like Lana that reach out EVERY DAY. Today, help us carry out our mission to Rescue, Restore, and Rebuild more lives like Lana’s by supporting Help The Persecuted so we can continue providing immediate crisis funding.
It may be easy to fault Lana’s mother for this entire ordeal, but Lana would remind you to pray for her mother. Indeed, her mother is simply scared for her daughter. She believes what Islam would have her believe; they play to her fears.
Rejoice always for Lana’s rescue. Pray without ceasing for Lana’s mother. Give thanks for the Holy Spirit’s intervention in this situation. For this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you, for us, and for Lana.