Open Doors Women - Regional Focus - Horn Of Africa

March 8, 2017

 

(Photo credit Open Doors, illustrative only.)
 

Region / country information:
 

The Horn of Africa is a predominantly Muslim region, and a breeding ground for Islamic extremists, yet God is still at work. People come to faith through hearing about Jesus on region programs and through the witness of faithful and bold believers. The environment is very harsh, and extremism is on the rise, affecting all areas of believers’ lives, potentially costing them their family, their livelihood and their safety.
 

Pain and hope are the marks of Christians in the Horn of Africa as they face extreme pressure for their faith when they choose to follow Jesus. Many women try to hide their faith for protection but are desperate to read the Bible, go to church, meet with other Christians, and learn more about Jesus. They also have a deep desire for their family and friends to know Jesus but speaking about Him is risky. Open Doors is working with believers in the Horn of Africa through providing Christian resources, training and practical support where they need it.
 

 



(Photo credit Open Doors, illustrative only.)
 

Testimony:
 

ZemZem is a Muslim background believer in the Horn of Africa who came to faith after meeting a Christian at the hospital during her first pregnancy. Little by little, she became convinced about Christ and eventually put her trust in him. The change in her was obvious and immediately invited pressure from her family.
 

“My life started to change and when my husband found out, he beat me and in the end filed for divorce. By then we had three children and I was left with them. My mother was supportive at first, but at some point she told me I was ‘dead to her’.”
 

After her family rejected her, the wider community also became hostile – she was even jailed to try to persuade her to return to Islam. But ZemZem persisted.
 

When Open Doors met her she was living in a small room and had no idea how she would provide for her three children in the long term. She tried earning income by doing laundry, but it was not enough. OD first helped her with her basic needs and then, in cooperation with the local body of believers, started a business for her. She sold ice and cold water and ran a small food kiosk. The income enabled her to properly feed the children and pay for their school fees.
 

There was also spiritual growth. ZemZem became one of the most trusted members of her church and even helped disciple new believers. Each time we met, she told us how thankful she was for the change. She is always excited to speak about the progress the children have made in school. ZemZem recently told Open Doors, “I am thankful to the Lord for the life and faith I have in Christ.” Her children are showing outstanding performance in school. “The children are a source of joy and satisfaction in my life. I am thankful to the Lord because people in the village see that God helps me raise my kids without the support of their father and they do well in school. They behave well in the village and I never receive any complaints from the school or the village. This is good testimony.”
 

Over time, ZemZem has noticed a subtle change in the villagers’ attitude towards her and her

family—they are not so hostile anymore. ZemZem’s business is going well and there are plans to diversify in an effort to earn more to keep up with her family’s growing needs. Spiritually ZemZem continues to do well. She still speaks to people about Christ and even joins outreach activities to other villages. She continues to disciple new believers.

 

Prayer Points:
 

  • Thank God for his protection and intervention in the lives of persecuted women and their children.

  • Pray that God would strengthen women in this region with hope and faith and give them opportunities for fellowship and witnessing.

  • Pray for women who face persecution – that God would grant them the strength to endure in their faith and copy with the challenges of life.

  • Pray for God to bless and provide success for women who are relying on small businesses to support their family.


 

 

For more information or to donate to the work of Open Doors Women Australia, please visit their site here

 

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All images, words and materials are copyright protected and are the property of the author and / or Fixing Her Eyes. Please contact us at fixinghereyes (@) gmail.com for permissions. January 2019