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Victory in the
Midst of Persecution
My Christian name is Mary; I am from a family line of religious Islamic leaders. My forefathers took pride in the fact that they were champions in the spread of Islam in our region and the way they would teach their converts about the Qur’an. I am the third child in my family. As a child growing up, I had something troubling me. We would practice all the rituals of praying, giving alms etc. But we still did not have a clue where we would go when we died. Not knowing troubled me, even though I was young; it reminded me I was lost.
I remember one night sitting outside; the moon was shining bright. It made me happy and I wondered if the God who made such wonderful light would leave me in the dark.
In short, I got married and had a few kids. My mom and my brothers sold our land, which my mom bought, and they left to another place where our father owned land. Over a year later, I decided to join my siblings, in order to also know where my parents came from, but God had a different plan altogether.
There was a friend of my mom’s who had a son. He was a Qur’anic scholar before he converted to Christianity. He met Christ during his quest to convert Christians to Islam. He later heeds Gods call to be a missionary in Guinea.
When I got to Guinea, I visited a place where my sons name came from. I felt compelled to go there even before going to my parents.
Later I proceeded to the place where I found the missionary’s home of whom I mentioned earlier. I didn’t go to his house; instead I visited his mom, who is like a mom to me. I stayed there for a week and joined them for their Sunday service.
One day, my son was crying as I carried him on my back, I began to walk a bit to stop him from crying. I passed by the pastor’s gate and he was preaching. He mentioned where Jesus said “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one goes to the father except through me.” On hearing this powerful message it seemed as if the years of my unanswered questions found their answers in these few words. They pierced my heart; I will never forget that day.
I went to the stream, sat there the whole day thinking and made up my mind to find out more about this Jesus.
I went to the pastor and asked him to help me because I wanted to know more about Jesus. The pastor didn’t take me seriously, knowing my family background – a line of strict Islamic scholars. He thought it would be utterly difficult to have someone like me follow Christ in that locality.
After I returned, without wasting time I met with the pastor in my town and we talked a bit. I gained much courage. I told him I am ready to give my life to Jesus, we prayed and I got saved. From that moment on I knew my life was about to change, it would never be the same again. I was aware of the challenges I was about to encounter, but I was not afraid to face them.
Suddenly, all my family members connected just so they could ask about me and they planned further to persecute me. My husband observed my actions since I came back and he began asking me what I had been doing there since I visit my friend only on Sunday’s. I responded that I go there to pray and fellowship with other Christians. He raged with such anger I have never seen, took me by the hand; threw me on the ground and placed his prayer mat and his ritual washing pot near me and said, “You need to perform your Islamic prayers for everyone to see.” I told him, “Yesterday I might have, but today is different.” He threw me out with all of my things and took my son away from me.
I went to the pastor and explained my predicament to him; his family took me in. A couple of weeks later the family decided I should return to my husband. I was free to follow Jesus, but I needed to reconcile with my husband even though I knew returning would put me in misery.
When I returned, they tried to coerce me into confessing how much I was paid to join Christianity, which was a lie, therefore I replied that it’s with the blood of Jesus who died on the cross for my sake that I have gone from death to life.
I lived with my husband, who did so many hurtful things. He did all he could to convert me back to Islam, but did not succeed. The other family members had to step in. They sent me to my uncle, who was a religious Muslim leader, to try to spiritually affect me and change my mind back to Islam, but none of them succeeded, to the glory of God.
One special thing about me is when I make up my mind about something, it better be good, because I stick to it. Because of that my family was greatly worried.
I felt so battered because of the persecution hitting me on all sides, but my spirit was encouraged in Christ. My children avoided me; all my friends and family members deserted me. When I lost my husband, I was all alone, therefore I was forced to oblige in the Muslim rituals that take place after a death. I was in misery, but at the end God gave me victory.
Islamic Rituals Before and After the Death of a Muslim
The last thing the Muslim has to say is, “shahdatayen” (testifying there is no god, but Allah and Mohammed is the messenger of Allah). When the Muslim is dead, first, a specific person washes his body with hot water and then wraps him in a white cloth. They put him or her in a special refrigerator specifically for dead people. It has a glass on top so you can see his or her face. They leave him in that refrigerator the whole night among his family, friends and anyone who wants to come where they cry and mourn. During the night, the Imams recite the Qur’an and pray all through the night over the dead body. The dead person stays in his home until the next day after the Islamic prayer at noon, and then they take him to bury him. During the burial they pray a funeral prayer. They position the dead person so that when his face or body is turned to the right side, it is faced towards Mecca.
They tried to hit me, but could not bring me down, because my Jesus is my rock and foundation; I cannot be shaken. In our weakness, God shows his ever-potent power and strength. Jesus is Lord. Amen.
I thank God for the support of SOM-Senegal and SOM-USA. I feel the love and encouragement. Thank you for supporting me as your sister in Christ!