When Nadia’s* children told her they had become Christians she was angry and upset: “I thought my children were attracted to a sect. I was so worried for their safety because we had a lot of relatives and they were all Muslims. I thought my daughter and sons could be beaten or even killed by their Muslim father and uncles.”
Sadly, it was Nadia, a Muslim from Central Asia, who began to threaten and mistreat her children because of their new faith.
“I tried to stop them visiting church and forced them to stay at home,” she says. “I threw away their Christian books and Bibles, talked to them with a lot of threats and even beatings… I didn’t know that God protected them; now I feel so sorry about that. I can see that Jesus came to save our family through my children and I am so grateful.”
But after a while her whole outlooked changed. After a period of ill-health her children prayed with her, and that’s when she chose to invite Jesus into her life. “Since then, my life has completely changed,” she says.
Image is illustrative.
For several years after becoming a Christian, Naida didn’t celebrate Ramadan – a festival which used to mean so much to her. Like most Muslims, she had respected Ramadan as holy, fasted for several days during the month, and celebrated with her wider Muslim family. She would visit neighbours and relatives, cook many traditional dishes and host a lot of guests in her house during Ramadan.
When Naida stopped celebrating Ramadan, it made her relatives angry. They stopped inviting her to their homes, and wouldn’t come to her house. Naida became upset and worried. While she felt that Christians couldn’t follow Muslim traditions, it was important for her to reach her Muslim sisters and brothers, cousins and other relatives with God’s love.
After a lot of prayer, study and advice from her pastor, Naida decided to celebrate Ramadan again, but this time it was in a completely new way. During the festival, Naida cooks different traditional dishes and invites her Muslim sisters, brothers, cousins and neighbours. In this way, she shows them her respect for their religious traditions and values, and at the same time she is able to share the gospel. She has found these celebrations a really effective way to reach her Muslim friends and family – while remaining true to her faith and to Jesus.
This year, due to Covid-19 restrictions, she won’t be able to hold a big gathering – but is hoping to have a small celebration with a neighbour, and to share the good news of Jesus. Praise God for Naida’s courage!
Want to respond and help your persecuted family around the world? Get our World Watch List prayer map and resources to learn more and pray regularly.
*Name changed for security reasons…
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imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.