Rachel* found Jesus when she was brought to a secret house church in the Middle East. She committed herself to prayer and reading the Bible each day. Within two years Rachel and her husband became leaders of the church.
But Rachel understood that following Jesus in the Middle East carried risks. Christians are often monitored by authorities who act to restrict religious minorities.
“Of course, the risks crossed my mind every once in a while,” Rachel said. “But I always tempered that thought, remembering that God will protect us. I just wanted to worship God. Nothing else mattered to me.”
To avoid monitoring, members of Rachel’s church would speak on public phones. She also forbid her nine-year-old daughter from speaking about the church to her classmates, in case their teachers overheard and reported it to authorities.
Image: Two Iranian women in Isfahan, Middle East
One day, while her husband was taking their daughter to school, Rachel heard a knock on the door.
The secret police had uncovered her faith and had come to arrest her.
“They put me in solitary confinement and, all alone, I started to cry,” she remembered. “I was thinking about my daughter and what would happen to her.”
Rachel was interrogated by police. Starved and with no contact to the outside world, she wrestled with her faith.
Image: Two young women in chatting in the old Citadel of Amman.
“For days I didn’t talk to God,” Rachel said. “I was so disappointed in Him. But one night in a dream, I heard John 1:10, ‘He was in the world, and though the world was made through Him, the world did not recognise Him.’
“When I had the dream, I started to pray again. I felt that God was going with me everywhere I went.”
One month later, Rachel was released.
Image: Syrian Christians worshipping at a conference
For believers in Middle East, living a brave faith can cost them everything. But for Rachel, what she gained in Jesus was worth so much more.
“In prison I learned to trust God. Really trust God, on a deep level. I also changed. I am even more passionate to teach my daughter about Christ and spend time reading the Bible with her.”
To help you through this time of enforced social distancing and isolation, we’re releasing a series of new content every week. Were going to be looking at how persecuted Christians, that’s people like Rachel, can inspire us during the lockdown. Sign up for our weekly emails to get fresh videos, stories, reflections, prayers and actions – all of which you can do from home!
*Name changed for security reasons…
We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.