Layla* from Egypt has a community to share Christmas with, thanks to you.
For many children, Christmas is a time of joy and excitement. But for Layla (14) from Egypt, Christmas meant rejection and loneliness. After her parents converted to Christianity from Islam, they had to move away to a new neighbourhood for their safety.
Layla was only nine at the time, and her parents tried to share the gospel with her. “My parents gradually told me about Christianity,” she says. “It was dangerous for them to tell me all at once.”
It was Ramadan when Layla started at her new school, but her parents’ faith made her an outsider. “My peers gathered to celebrate breaking their fast and watch TV together, enjoying each other’s company. However, they excluded me from their gatherings
because they knew my family didn’t participate in Ramadan. Instead, we celebrated Christmas at home, but I could not share this with my peers. One of the teachers… intimidated me to get veiled. Teachers said that if I didn’t wear it, I would go to hell.”
“Jesus made all the difference”
Layla’s understanding of Christianity was murky, and there was no one her age to share her struggles and questions with. “Is the Christian faith the truth? Or should I go back to Islam so that I will not end up in hell? I didn’t know who I was… I only
felt left out and rejected.”
Layla became severely depressed, and even attempted suicide. Thankfully, Layla was not alone for long. When Open Doors local partners heard about her desperate situation, they immediately stepped in to help. Sally*[CS1] , an Open Doors fieldworker, invited
Layla to a secret children’s camp and a discipleship group, where she could connect with other Christian children her age.
“My eyes were opened to the truth,” Layla says. “I believed in Jesus’ words when He said the truth sets us free. After the camp I just wanted to share about God’s love with other people and to help them to change by God’s power.”
“Jesus stepped into my life in my hopelessness and made all the difference.”
She has also learned to play the piano and accompanies the worship in the small house church that she attends with her parents. Although Layla still cannot share the joy of Christmas at her school, she is still in touch with Sally and others who continue
to encourage her in her faith.
This Christmas, Layla will celebrate with joy and thankfulness – thanks to you. She says, “Jesus stepped into my life in my hopelessness and made all the difference.”
*Name changed for security reasons
- That Layla will continue to grow in her faith and make new, steadfast friends
- That Layla’s witness will draw other children and teachers at her school to Jesus
- For God’s continued blessing and provision for the Open Doors-run programmes supporting children in Cairo and Upper Egypt.
A GIFT FOR A PERSECUTED CHILD
Will you give hope to persecuted children this Christmas?
MY GIFT TO CHILDREN
- Every HK$200 could provide a month’s education to a child impacted by persecution
- Every HK$530 could support a child at the Colombia Children’s Centre, giving safety, education and a future
- Every HK$720 could give Bibles to ten children, so they can know Jesus through Scripture.