Nawal is a secret Christian from the Arabian Peninsula. Like millions of Christians around the world she pays a high price for following Jesus. She has to live in complete secrecy. But even so, her Christian brothers and sisters find ways to let her know she is not forgotten.
Nawal is forced to keep her faith a secret. She lives in constant isolation, and fear, praying to Jesus silently in her heart, asking every day for the strength to carry on.
Nawal became a Christian after stumbling on online Bible teaching and hearing about the love of Jesus. Through an online support network group for secret believers supported by Open Doors, Nawal was put in touch with believers. They encouraged her with prayers over instant messaging and sent her discipleship materials.
Then her mother found out she was a Christian. She put Nawal under house arrest. Nawal’s mother kept her inside for years, afraid she’d meet other believers if allowed outside. Her family pressurized her to marry a Muslim. She rejected the first two prospective husbands they selected, but in the end decided to marry the third. He was a less strict Muslim, and at least it meant she could escape the house.
But she could never tell him the truth about her faith. According to the law where she lives, if her husband discovers her faith he is entitled to beat her, divorce her or even kill her. Nobody will come to her rescue.
So, on her wedding day, Nawal said goodbye to her online Christian support network. She sent them a final instant message:
“I will delete your contact info and I may not respond anymore for my own safety. But please know that I will read whatever you send me.”
Scared that her new husband might browse her search history, Nawal even stopped reading the Bible online.
But she has not been abandoned. Every so often her phone pings with a message from an unknown number. The message says nothing about Jesus or faith, but she knows it’s a fellow Christian encouraging her – letting her know she isn’t alone or forgotten.
Open Doors vision is that no Christian, like Nawal, should face extreme persecution alone. We know that Jesus is always with her. And, though, we might not be able to message Nawal directly – through prayer we can ensure she doesn’t suffer alone.
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