By Salam, Leading The Way's Director of Follow Up
Here in the Middle East, when someone from a Muslim background comes to Christ, persecution is practically inevitable. Entire extended families often live together under one roof, and if someone suddenly stops attending the mosque or begins reading the Bible, everyone knows.
Persecuted believers may have given up family and lands, but they have found a new family in fellow believers.
Once a new Christian's conversion is discovered by his or her Muslim family, the situation often escalates into violence. I think of Maria*. Her family quickly sensed the change in her following her conversion and responded with insults and threats like, "Wherever you are, we will find you!" and, "Let Jesus help you when you are in the tomb!" Just as Jesus foretold, "They will be divided, . . . mother against daughter and daughter against mother" (Luke 12:53).
In the face of such persecution from family and friends, new believers like Maria urgently need Christian community. Praise God, for He is faithful to provide them what they need—and He is using our ministry together to accomplish His purpose.
Through your partnership with Leading The Way, a family of believers is growing in the Middle East. Daily, our on-the-ground teams are walking alongside these new believers as they leave Islam to follow Jesus—encouraging them that they are not alone. Maria recently told us of the family she has found in Christ, in part through our follow-up teams:
"There were times when I longed for my earthly family, but then I remembered, 'No one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age' (Mark 10:29-30). I have lived this. God has given me a new family. Today, I have brothers, fathers, and mothers, and they are closer to me than those with whom I share blood."
Persecuted believers may have given up family and lands, but they have found a new family in fellow believers. And above all, they are sustained by their ultimate hope—eternal life with Jesus Christ their Lord.
*Name has been changed for her protection.