Stories from the Field

Family for the Persecuted

For Muslims who leave Islam behind to follow Christ, persecution can come in many forms. But, as a Christar worker Bernard,* who serves among immigrants in North America, explains, “The persecution almost always begins from their own family.”

When Daisy became a Christian, she tried to hide her newfound faith from her Kurdish Muslim family. But she couldn’t keep it a secret forever. When Daisy’s mother discovered she’d been going to church, she locked Daisy in her room, and repeatedly beat her in an attempt to bring her back to Islam.

Daisy’s mother took her Bible, as well as her laptop and phone so she couldn’t contact her Christian friends. When that didn’t sway Daisy, her mother determined to starve her in submission. God used the mercy of her father, who slipped her food, to keep her alive.

When she continued to refuse to recant her faith, the family turned to Daisy’s uncle, an Islamic cleric who was away on a trip, asking him what they should do. “I’ll kill her myself when I return,” he replied.

By God’s grace, Daisy’s father managed to sneak her out of the house with only the clothes on her back and the passport in her pocket. Although authorities were watching for her at local airports, she was able to board a flight from her country to Turkey.

After several years living as a refugee, a Canadian church sponsored her and she resettled in North America. She got involved with this fellowship, improved her English and eventually earned a college degree. When Bernard and his wife met her, she had just started her first Canadian job.

In the years since she fled her homeland, Daisy has had no contact with her relatives. For her, and many believers like her, her brothers and sisters in Christ are her only family.

Bernard shares, “Almost all of the stories we’ve heard from Kurdish believers of Muslim background involve persecution from family.” He adds that for some, this persecution can also come from their communities, for example being fired from a job or evicted, receiving death threats or being the target of acts of violence. They may also suffer at the hand of the government, facing imprisonment or worse.

Through coming alongside those who’ve suffered because they’ve chosen to follow Christ, Christians have a unique opportunity not only to care for these persecuted believers, but to contribute to the spread of the gospel among some of the least-reached people groups on earth. Many of those who face opposition for their faith belong to people groups with little or no access to a church that preaches the gospel in their language and in a culturally relevant way. God often uses their witness in powerful ways to make Himself known among people who’ve never been introduced to the gospel. Some who’ve been cut off by their families are eventually able to restore contact and have the joy of seeing the Lord use their testimony to bring their relatives to Him.

For many Christar workers, coming alongside believers who’ve endured suffering because they’ve chosen to follow Christ is a vital part of seeing churches established in least-reached communities. Supporting these believers through prayer, encouragement and practical assistance helps them stand strong in their faith and in turn, strengthens the body of Christ among least-reached people groups.

As the church serves as family for Christians who’ve suffered for their faith, it helps the family of God grow among people groups with few believers. Will you join Christar workers in coming alongside them?


How can I get involved?

Pray:

Lift up the requests on our prayer guide for persecuted believers.

Give:

Your gift to the Christar Church Planting and Evangelism Fund enables workers to share the hope of Christ through a wide range of creative outreaches. And it allows them to plant local fellowships where none currently exist.