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Hawa* grew up in a wealthy Muslim family in the Horn of Africa. Her parents had great plans for her. They wanted to send her to an Arab country for spiritual instruction. She was also engaged to a Muslim man who lives in America. However, everything was put on hold when she became very ill.
While in hospital, she had a life-changing spiritual experience. “I had a dream [in which] I saw a man who was smiling and crying at the same time. I somehow knew He was weeping for me.” None of her family could explain the dream. However, her mosque leader, who was a secret follower of Christ, told her it was about the Messiah and he gave her a Bible. “I read the Bible continually, and little by little, I learned about the love of Jesus for all men. It changed me from the inside.”
Hawa kept her faith a secret, but one day, her family discovered her Bible. Her father was furious and beat her and later chased her away. “You are dead to us!” Her fiancé also broke off the engagement. Hawa was sad, but says, “The love of Christ was of more value to me than the love of my family.”
Her sister, Zulfa*, had learned enough about Christ from Hawa by now to join her on her road of suffering. All of a sudden, these young women who had always been so sheltered were destitute. They had no money, no home and no friends, and they were hated by their extended family.
To make matters worse, Hawa broke one of the discs in her spine one day as she tried to get away from an angry uncle and fell into a ditch next to the road. Zulfa tried to provide an income for them by baking hundreds of flatbreads on smoky fires. The fumes and smoke she was exposed to damaged her eyes so much they feared she would lose her sight.
Hawa and Zulfa went through a very dark time of suffering. But thankfully they receive great support from Christians around them. Open Doors provided medical care for Zulfa and then helped them start a small business. Their cafeteria generates a good income that helps them cover all their costs and even make some profit.
Hawa looks back on her time of suffering and says that Open Doors’ help brought light to their darkness. “The light is increasing day by day. I thank you for your help. God bless you.”
*Names have been changed.
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