Almost every day, Rasheda Begum is faces mocking, bullying and discrimination from some of the people in her village in northern Bangladesh. Having grown up in a Muslim family, when she chose to follow Jesus she encountered a lot of opposition and persecution. Women already face discrimination in the male-dominant society, but being a woman from a religious minority makes life even harder.
“I have to face many challenges every day,” says Rasheda. “People don’t like that I’m active in society. They don’t like that I have a good relationship with my neighbours, and I stand with them when they need help.”
When Rasheda started teaching adult literacy classes, after doing Open Doors training, the local Muslim leaders weren’t happy.
They used underhand tactics to try and stop her:
“They brought many false accusations against me. They tried to attack me, because I didn’t listen to them.” Rasheda stayed strong, and continued her work.
“My life is for the Lord. I do not fear the village leaders. I cannot stop my work that was entrusted by the Lord just because of the villagers’ threats.”
She’s had a great response from the women she teaches. “They are very inspired by the stories from the Bible,” says Rasheda. “I use the skills and lessons I have gained from the [Open Doors’] adult literacy training. I tell the stories from the Bible and help them to relate to their personal life. They want more to learn and listen to such wonderful stories from the Bible. I always try to support and encourage women to be independent, think freely, see freely.”
Rasheda’s class is a mixture of believers from a Muslim background and Muslim women. During the class, a number of the Muslim women chose to follow Jesus and become Christians – though some are doing this in secret, because of the severe opposition they’d face from their families. Rasheda baptised seven women last year, and others are preparing for baptism. Even those who aren’t Christians ask Rasheda to pray for them.
Rasheda is delighted by the impact of the work she doing – which all started with Open Doors training to teach adult literacy. Amazing!
Any persecuted Christian faces significant difficulties and opposition for following Jesus. Women and girls of the persecuted church like Rasheda face a second vulnerability: discrimination for their gender. In different contexts, that could mean a persecuted woman or girl is treated as a second-class citizen, abused by her husband, father or brother, trafficked or sold into marriage, the victim of sexual violence, or left to fend for herself and her children if her own loved ones disown her for her faith.
But in the face of all this, God still sees His daughters. He continues to pursue each Christian woman or girl, reminding her that she is seen, known and loved. Join us in praying for change for women and girls like Rasheda…
1. Learn more and pray: Get our free glow-in-the-dark World Watch List Map and find out more about the places where faith costs the most. Get your map here…
2. Pray regularly: Every Monday night at 7pm we’ll be praying one prayer for one minute for the one in seven Christians around the world who face persecution. Set an alarm and tune in…
3. Choose to Lose: Raise money by getting sponsored to lose something you love for a short time. Sign up and we’ll send you a fundraising pack…
4. Send a message of hope: Imagine getting a letter from a Christian on the other side of the world who’d heard about you and was praying for you – encouraging right? Well, you can send encouragement now to young Christians facing persecution. Do that here now…
*Name changed for security reasons
We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.