Jonah* and Rachel made a disturbing discovery while serving as church planters in the Middle East. As they got to know local women, they were shocked to find out that the vast majority were victims of abuse. “Atrocious things were happening,” shares Rachel. “Everyone knew about it, but it was all covered up. On the outside, everyone is happy.”
As Rachel built relationships with women in the community, she began to hear story after story of mistreatment and violence. Ela was one of those women. When she was just 4 years old, her father gave her to her uncle, because her uncle didn’t have a wife. Though Ela’s mother knew that her daughter was being raped repeatedly, she didn’t speak up. She thought she’d be killed if she objected.
Ela endured a decade of abuse. Finally, when she was 14, she and her mother fled. They remained on the run for a long time.
Ela’s story is common in her community. Rachel shares that 90 percent of the local women she’s befriended have been abused sexually, usually by a relative. “The amount of rape and incest here is mind-bogglingly high,” she shares. But, most victims refuse to go to the hospital following an episode of abuse because they know the hospital will fill out a police report. They fear facing even more violence once the police talk to their husbands or fathers.
God has given Rachel and Jonah a burden for these hurting women! Between 2008 and 2013, their home was a refuge for five women and their children. While they were blessed to be able to provide a safe haven and share the love the Christ with these women, they knew that their capacity to reach out was limited. That sparked an idea. How much more would they be able to reach out if they had a place dedicated to ministering to abuse victims?
This idea has turned into reality! In 2017 Jonah and Rachel established the Battered Women’s Center to help women and their children find shelter from abusive situations and learn of Christ’s deep love for them.
Staff at this center not only offer emotional and spiritual support rooted in the hope found in Christ alone, but also practical help specific to each woman’s situation. The center also provides temporary housing and training programs ranging from life skills seminars to Bible classes.
“Abuse is ‘normal’ here,” explains Rachel. “Women see it as their lot in life.” But, Rachel and Jonah are praying that these women and their children will find true hope for this life and the next as they receive shelter and support at the Battered Women’s Center.
How can I get involved?
- Praise God for opening an opportunity to minister to Middle Eastern women who’ve suffered abuse.
- Pray that least-reached women will find true hope in Christ through the ministry of the Battered Women’s Center.
- Ask God to provide the funds needed so that the Battered Women’s Center can reach out to women and children who’ve suffered abuse.
Your gift to the Battered Women’s Center will provide practical help and true hope to women and children who’ve suffered abuse.