Aminah and her children suffered at the hands of her husband when she became a Christian. But thanks to your prayers and gifts, Aminah and her children have found a fresh start and are standing strong in their faith. Please note, this story contains particularly distressing details of domestic abuse.
Aminah (name changed) became a Christian after her son was healed through prayer at her local church. “My son would temporarily lose consciousness and faint,” she says. “His father insisted on going to the mosque, where they would recite over the boy. But that didn’t work. I also took my son to witchdoctors. But that also did not help.”
When Aminah wanted to try taking him to a church, her husband forbade her. But, at her wits’ end, Aminah defied him and took her son to her local pastor. “I called my husband and told him that I had taken his son for Christian prayers and that his health had increased. He didn’t like it. He said that it was fine if the prayers had worked, but that our visits to the church should end there and then.”
“He said, ‘If you don’t leave that Christian religion, you can’t stay any longer in this house’”AMINAH
Isolated and beaten for choosing Jesus
Back at home, she tried to reason with her husband about continuing to go to church. But he wouldn’t have any of it. “He said, ‘If you don’t leave that Christian religion, you can’t stay any longer in this house.’ Then he ordered my two oldest children who had joined me at church to go into the house. He beat them up until he was satisfied.” As he left for work, he told Aminah to return to Islam, or leave the house and never come back. This kind of threat is commonly faced by persecuted Christian women. By being thrown out of her home, Aminah would be without a means of support or community, making her increasingly vulnerable.
Aminah was forced to make an impossible choice – but she couldn’t leave her children, so she stayed. Her husband sent people to spy on her to make sure she didn’t attend the church. He also stopped sending money home to support Aminah – but had instructed his brother to feed his sons. This kind of persecution has a devastating impact on women in communities like Aminah’s, where men are usually the breadwinners and women have little opportunity to provide their own means.
“I stayed there for two months not doing anything,” Aminah remembers. “Life was a struggle. There was no soap, no food. He did not provide anything at all. I wondered what to do. Then my pastor called me. He told me to secretly walk to his home. There I told him what I was going through. I told him that I wanted to start a small shop to take care of myself. He connected me to Open Doors.”
Through Open Doors local partners, Aminah was provided with a small loan, and she built a simple shop next to their house, which was on a busy road. She finally had an income of her own.
Suffering a second time
After six months, her husband returned home and saw that she was doing well. “He refused to greet me,” she says. “He lived in one room of our house, I in the other. I decided to stay there, even though he was humiliating me like that. At least I earned money for my upkeep and to help our children do well at school.”
But one night, in a furious rage, he beat her. “I was panicking,” Aminah says. “My hands were still swollen. He said that if I cared for my life, I should tear down the shop and leave. I felt so bad. I really wanted to kill myself. But while I was thinking of how to kill myself, I stopped, because of my children. I did not know what to do. I never wanted divorce, but this was not a life. So, I decided that he had divorced me. I broke down my shop and left.”
“I’m really hopeful…if it were not for your support, I would have sat somewhere to cry, or worse”AMINAH
Starting all over again
But in the midst of her distress, God turned Aminah’s life around. She had her own plot of land nearby – and, through her church, Open Doors helped her to restart her life again. She built a new home for herself, and a new shop. “I can now feed myself and my children who chose to live with me,” she says. “First, my children were not in school, because there was no money for school fees. Now, thanks to you, they are studying.
“I’m really hopeful. I’m much better now. I passed through hard times, but if it were not for your support, I would have sat somewhere to cry, or worse.”
Aminah’s story is one of many illustrating the way that Christian women are vulnerable to persecution for both their faith and their gender. Aminah’s suffering went unnoticed by everyone – except her global church family. Your prayers and gifts really do make a huge difference and will help more women like Aminah to be seen, heard and empowered to live out their God-given identity.