I am in the lengthy process of writing a book of stories regarding the persecution of our people in the Islamic world. Its purpose is to be a historical compilation of the stories we have brought you over the years and those that were too secretive and graphic to share. The following story, which happened on April 5, will be among them in greater detail.
Do you know any young girls in your church or family ages 17 and 19? If so, this story will relate to you and touch your heart.
In a particular north African Islamist country, there live two sisters, Rana (age 17) and Abir (age 19). They have lived a normal life, still in their parent's home, expecting that soon they would be married, hopefully as the first wife of a Muslim man and not the second, third or fourth. Their father left some years back to work in another country. Their oldest brother serves as head of the house. As a devout Muslim, he took his position and responsibilities very seriously. The girls were raised to obey the illogical and incomprehensible laws of Islam, which highly restrict women's educational, social, and individual rights. They could not understand why some sins are minor and others big and the measure of good deeds required of them. What concerned them most was the questions of who God is and how they can have a relationship with Him. They were accustomed to wearing veils and never venturing outside their home without a male relative accompanying them.
Abir had enrolled in college with her brother's permission and had many questions about the rules of Islam and the lifestyle of the prophet Muhammad. In college, she became friends with a young lady who is a member of one of our house churches. The young lady began to witness to her and let her read from the Bible.
Then, about eighteen months ago, Abir accepted the grace of God through His Son Jesus and willingly, though secretly, gave herself to Him. Understanding the faith, joy, and hope of eternal life and what it meant to have a personal relationship with Christ, she began to witness to her sister, despite her fear of doing so. Every day they would read the Bible together in secret, and soon, Rana also accepted Christ. From that day on, they prayed for the salvation of their mother and brother.
Immediately their attitudes and lifestyles changed. Rather than watching television, the mother told her son that they go into their room and read from a book each evening, then close their eyes and mumble words. Their brother began to investigate their daily lives but could find nothing that would explain such activity. Everything changed on that day and led to the events of last Tuesday.
Ramadan began on April 2 this year. As followers of Christ, the girls did not want to participate and tried to explain to their mother why they did not want to fast. Still, their mother became angry because fasting throughout the month is an annual requirement of Islam. Tuesday evening, when her son came home, she reported to him their suspicious behavior. The brother entered their room, rebuking them, and began searching through their belongings. He found their hidden Bible and started hitting his sisters with a wooden stick. As they tried to shield themselves, he started ripping apart the pages of their Bible. Then, in a fit of rage, he threw down the wooden stick, tied their wrists to the bedposts, and began beating them with an iron pipe. He continuously yelled at them, saying they had forsaken Allah and his prophet Muhammad.
The beatings quickly became so severe that the mother ran into the room and attempted to stop him. Still, she was unable, so she called her neighbors to help, and they pulled him out of the room. They were startled how these two girls had denied Islam, but more so at how severely their brother had beaten them.
The girls were left in their home for several days with no medical care. Then word came to our pastor, who informed us of the incident. The church people had given all they had to care for them, but it was not enough. We instructed him to take the girls to the hospital. But, the administrators refused entry because of the circumstances of the wounds and because they were Christians. Having no other option, we admitted them into a private hospital. Abir was in a coma all this time, which she came out of today (Saturday).
Abir awoke from her coma to find she had a broken jaw, many broken teeth, and broken bones in her arms, left leg, and right foot.
Rana's left shoulder was broken, and her lower spine fractured. In addition, her right arm is broken, as is her hip and left femur, just below the ball that connects to the hip.
Both young teenagers walked into the fiery furnace. But, for whatever reason, though Christ was in it with them, He allowed them to crawl through the valley of the shadow of death and come out on the other side badly wounded. (Recall, the three Hebrews who went into the fire acknowledged that they did not know if their God would deliver them but were confident, He could if He chose to. Either way, they would not deny Him.)
The sisters lay unconscious for hours, and Abir for days, having no medical treatment and no pain medication. Finally, when Rana awoke, she lay in severe pain, uncertain if Abir was still alive. They were beaten and broken by their brother and abandoned by their mother; their only hope of rescue was their house church. When the help of the members was quickly exhausted without sufficiency, the church could do nothing more but call on us.
Jesus said if you give a cup of what in his name, it is equivalent to giving it to him. So, what more excellent reason could we have for recuperating and healing the wounds of two persecuted children than knowing it is as if we are healing his wounds?
Though reality may again exceed our expectations, we estimate a need of $26,985 to heal and dismiss the two sisters from the hospital. The Deceiver has taken his wrath out on these helpless young girls. The congregation is hiding but is not scattered. What a testimony for us to bear their burden and pay their bills (Galatians 6:2). In that land it will not be known where the funds come from, only that the Lord Jesus provided them through His people, and Christ will be glorified for it.
Now, will you please help us pay the bill?