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News / Thoughts

See. Change. Peninah’s story

March 1, 2021

Open Doors’ See. Change. campaign has a vision that every woman who is persecuted for both her faith and gender is seen, heard and empowered to reach her God-given potential. Read Peninah’s story below and follow the links to act now…

In many places, Christian women are extremely vulnerable, simply because of their faith and their gender. In some countries, extremist militants opposed to Christianity target men because they know it will destabilise families and communities – removing the breadwinner leaves the remaining family members desperate for income and food, and stigmatised by their communities and even their in-laws. That’s Peninah’s story, in Kenya.

Peninah’s story

Peninah, from Kenya, was only 24 when her husband, Paul, was murdered by al-Shabaab, a violent jihadist group based in East Africa. Paul was on a work trip when his truck was ambushed near the border with Somalia. The men were lined up, and the attackers demanded they recite the Islamic creed. As a Christian, Paul didn’t know it. He told them, “If you want to kill me, I will remain in Jesus – and if you let me go, I would still remain in Jesus.” They shot him.

Peninah fell into deep grief, but things got even worse. Her in-laws refused to support her, and she was left to care for 2-year-old Steve alone, with no means of earning an income: “Life became hard. I struggled because I was alone. Even food was a challenge to get.” In Kenya, as with much of sub-Saharan Africa, widows are at the bottom of the hierarchy.

But, your gifts and prayers empowered Peninah and transformed her life. Thanks to Open Doors supporters, she was able to enrol in an Open Doors course in dressmaking – as well as attending a trauma workshop.

“The training helped me to heal my wounds, to share my suffering and accept the Lord’s leading in my life,” says Peninah. “Talking to people restored my joy and helped my faith grow. My faith would have collapsed because not everyone gave me hope, but the seminars and Open Doors partners encouraged me a lot.”

Open Doors partners were even able to give Peninah a sewing machine, so she could embark on a career in dressmaking. Lockdowns have temporarily halted her work, so Peninah and Steve are among the 1,200 families in Kenya receiving vital Covid-19 food and relief aid from Open Doors partners.

“I would like to say thank you wherever you are,” says Peninah, to Open Doors supporters. “You have played a great role in my life.”

Through your support and prayers, thousands of Christian women can be empowered to overcome persecution and be resilient voices of hope within their churches and communities. Transforming their lives equips these women to transform the world around them.

Pray now…

  • For every Christian woman to be seen, valued and empowered to reach her God-given potential
  • That those who persecute Christian women will have their hearts challenged and changed
  • That God will enable women like Peninah to be the light of hope in their families and communities.

Act now…

Open Doors is asking the UK Government to recognise faith as a specific vulnerability in gender-based violence, and to respond with effective policy.Join in by signing this letter to your MP. It won’t take long, all we need is your name and address and our clever form will find your MP for you…

We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.