Aminah (name changed) from East Africa became a Christian after her son was healed from a strange illness when he was prayed for at her local church. “His father insisted on going to the mosque, where they would recite over the boy. But that didn’t work. I also took my son to witchdoctors. But that also did not help.”
Her husband didn’t want Aminah taking him to a church. But, at her wits’ end, Aminah took her son to her local pastor. “I called my husband and told him that I had taken his son for Christian prayers and that his health had improved. He didn’t like it. He said that it was fine if the prayers had worked, but that our visits to the church should end there and then.”
Back at home, she tried to reason with her husband about continuing to go to church. But he wouldn’t have any of it. “He said, ‘If you don’t leave that Christian religion, you can’t stay any longer in this house.’ Then he ordered my two oldest children who had joined me at church to go into the house. He beat them up.”
As he left for a long work trip, he told Aminah to return to Islam, or leave the house and never come back. This kind of threat is commonly faced by persecuted Christian women. By being thrown out of her home, Aminah would be without a means of support or community, making her increasingly vulnerable.
Aminah was forced to make an impossible choice – but she couldn’t leave her children, so she stayed. Her husband sent people to spy on her to make sure she didn’t go to church. He also stopped financially supporting Aminah, but instructed his brother to feed his sons.
This kind of persecution has a devastating impact on women in communities like Aminah’s, where men are usually the breadwinners and women have little opportunity to provide their own means.
Aminah remembers: “Life was a struggle. There was no soap, no food. He did not provide anything at all. I wondered what to do. Then my pastor called me. He told me to secretly walk to his home. There I told him what I was going through. I told him that I wanted to start a small shop to take care of myself. He connected me to Open Doors.”
Through Open Doors local partners, Aminah was provided with a small loan, and she built a simple shop next to their house, which was on a busy road. She finally had an income of her own.
When her husband returned he was angry. He beat her up and forced her to take down her shop. At this point, Aminah realised a divorce was her only option and moved out of the house.
Image: Aminah and her children
In the midst of her distress, God turned Aminah’s life around. She had her own plot of land nearby – and, through her church, Open Doors helped her to restart her life again. She built a new home for herself, and a new shop. “I can now feed myself and my children who chose to live with me,” she says. “First, my children were not in school, because there was no money for school fees. Now, thanks to you, they are studying.
Aminah’s story is one of many illustrating the way that Christian women are vulnerable to persecution for both their faith and their gender. Aminah’s suffering went unnoticed by everyone – except her global church family. Your prayers and gifts really do make a huge difference and will help more women like Aminah to be seen, heard and empowered to live out their God-given identity.
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