My Sister Wears a Burka

8 02 2013

I sat in a room of missionaries at a conference I was obligated to attend from the agency that helped me get my visa.  I was not looking forward to this, but now I was electrified.  The men in this conference were all retelling their testimonies to the group.  About half the men were from Muslim backgrounds and told of wives and family being killed in front of them and losing their homes.  They were beaten and hunted.  They had come to countries that allowed them in as refugees but were pursued even there.  I wrote my first blog about them titled,  In the Presence of Giants: Victims of Radical Islam on this blog.    I shared their stories at that time but later became involved with the ministry of one of the men.

Ezra and Joe, another African Missionary, told me they were taking women off of the street that had come to Christ and were dismissed from their homes by their husbands, abandoned with the smallest children.  The husband kept the older ones that could work.  These women were the lucky ones.  Their husbands did not report them, harm them or kill them immediately so they had time to flee.  Now they were on the streets.  No home, no food, only their new found faith for comfort and the mercy of God.  I was told that some returned to Islam rather than starve or be hunted, or preyed upon by criminals.  Ezra and Joe took many in and provided housing in safe houses away from prying and unmerciful eyes.  Then they dropped a bombshell on me.  They knew of others but simply could not afford to care for them.  I was stunned.  How could this be?  They said they were doing all the could do and could only leave the others in God’s hand.
I have since written and raised money to save these women and also support the former Imams and Muslim leaders that come to Christ and are in hiding.  I understand the persecution of former Imams and evangelist.  I was not prepared for my last trip.
Upon arriving in this country,  last week I was met with stunning news.  One of the  new converts, Howa, recently only missing, was now confirmed dead.  I wanted to learn the details and was told only the lady that lead her to Christ knew the whole story.  We arranged a meeting.  We went to a Somali restaurant to met Ruth.  At first I did not know who was approaching out table as the lady approaching wore a full burka.  Turns out that is the perfect disguise for our persecuted ladies.  Ruth sat down and raised her facial piece and revealed an attractive and smiling petite lady in her mid 30’s.  I tried to immediately speak but was cautioned to wait.  As is the case many times in these meetings we have to wait till those with us who are understanding of the culture and risk can assess the situation.  We sit and drink tea but it is determined that we cannot speak other than casually.  We speak of food and different Somali dishes.  Then we leave and go to a coffee shop.  We drink coffee but the boisterous crowd will not stop engaging us directly and it is obvious this is a bad choice for a discreet conversation.  We move again.

Finally, we enter a restaurant with private booths and curtains.  The story unfolds.  Ruth I am told lost her own husband, killed in front of her very eyes in her home country.  Her children are being raised by her mother.  She has not seen them in 4 years.  She has slightly mishapped lips from a vigorous interrogation earlier in her Christian walk.  She smiles beautifully.  She begins to unfold the story of Howa.

A former Muslim man was pulled off of the street.  He was tortured for the names of other Christians like himself.  After some time he was told he would be released if he shared some names.  How many we don’t know.  He wrote down some names and was told if he wrote more he would be turned lose.  He filled the front and back of a page and they slit his throat.  Howa was on that list.  She was grabbed in front of her home.  Luckily her children were with her brother.  She was dragged behind the slum mid rise she lived in.  They searched her backpack and found an Arabic New Testament.  She frequently shared her faith with other Muslims and meet with the local underground house church.  They struck her in the head with a machete.  She fell to the ground where they left her.  The neighbors saw her but were afraid to help.  She bleed out over the night and it was confirmed she was dead the next morning.  Locals, not affiliated with the murder, poured oil over her body and burned it to protect the area from police problems.  We did not know she was dead.  Only missing.  This happens among refugees and normally means little.  It was troubling since she would never leave her children.  She has been missing since around Thanksgiving.  The story is now known for the first time.  Pieced together by the neighborhood, her brother and an anonymous informer.

Is Ruth on the list, she does not know. Ezra?  Not likely.  They don’t seem worried.  It is in God’s hands they say.  The world is not worthy of those who die for Him  I am sitting at a table full of men and women who accept that risk, live in poverty, share their faith, lead house churches and are constantly looking over their shoulders.  They find it hard to get  regular jobs as they are refugees.  When they get money they share it among themselves to eat and live.  I slip them money for rent and food.  We plan to take more women with children off the street.  Mostly they live four or five  in 12×12 rooms with a mattress and no furniture.  They cook some rice and add some vegetables and once or twice a month, meat.  When God blesses.  Their house church meetings are in these small rooms.  They whisper their worship.  They come and leave meetings staggered over hours of time to avoid detection.  They love Jesus and each other.  They don’t know you, but I told them you loved them.  I told them you sent me to love them and help them.  They want you to know they love you so much.  Greetings from Ruth, Ezra, Imam and many others.  You see my sister wears a burka and so does yours.

For other related stories see, Monday is Sunday on my blog to see a week in an evangelical Christians life that came from Islam.  (again Barrett you can link this if you want)

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