Sometimes stories come through our field that are difficult to tell because we must keep so many details concealed to protect believers. But we believe in prayer and our mission to stand with those who are persecuted in Jesus’ name. And we know that God knows every detail. As we pray for the situation, He hears our requests even when we can’t pray with specific information.
Please pray fervently with us for Maria*, a teenage girl in an undisclosed Muslim-majority country in Asia. We cannot reveal Maria’s photo, real name, age and country for the safety of her and her family. But we can mobilize urgent prayer for this young girl, her family, community and our partners on the ground who are working to free Maria.
Maria was kidnapped at gunpoint two weeks ago. Neighbors showed up at the family’s house, saying they had seen three armed men drag their daughter away.
“They pointed their guns at her,” the neighbors told the family.
Maria’s family shared with our Open Doors ministry partner: “We rushed to the police station to ask for help. Because we were Christians, the police men were reluctant to even take a first incident report.”
It took the local news media jumping on the case and protesters showing up in front of the police station to finally compel police to open an investigation that led to the truth: Maria had been kidnapped and abused by some of her co-workers from the factory where she worked. One man was arrested.
THREATENED AND FORCED TO CONVERT
Three days later, Maria herself appeared in court.
“The girl must have been put under tremendous pressure,” our partner says. “She said she went with her abductor by her own consent. Moreover, she spoke before court in favor of her abductor who was arrested by the police during their investigations and pleaded with the judge for his release. In front of her family, she declared her willingness to go with her abductor, a Muslim man, already married and a father of two.”
After hearing all the arguments, the court dismissed the petition filed by Maria’s family. Maria left the court with the people who took her at gunpoint just three days earlier.
Her cousin and confidant told our partner: “‘I know my cousin well. She would never have gone willingly. She is a gentle girl but not stupid. She must have been threatened with the safety of her parents and family members and other Christian girls at the factory.”
And her fate? “We don’t know,” the Open Doors partner says. “We are trying to find out where she’s being held and under what circumstances.”
PLEASE DO NOT LET GO
There is still hope. Thanks to your gifts and prayers, Open Doors is able to support local advocacy initiatives. In this case, prayer is extremely important. “We need a miracle to save Maria,” our partner says.
Maria’s Christian community is reeling from shock over Maria’s abduction and forced marriage. One believer told our partner, “We cannot stop working, we still have to send our children to work. How else will we survive? But how will we survive if they keep taking our children? What do we do? We are doomed either way!”
Even in the midst of coronavirus and lockdowns, persecution of believers like Maria is still rampant. “We are distributing relief to thousands of Christians who have been denied aid,” our partner says. “In the midst of this pandemic, we cannot withhold other vital work, such as helping Christian families who have been attacked. Your prayers are our lifeline. Please don’t let go.”
* representative name used for security reasons
PRAY NOW WITH US FOR MARIA AND HER FAMILY!
Father, we pray that You would work in powerful ways to give Maria’s grieving parents peace and comfort. Be with this young girl and her family. Lord, we don’t know where Maria is but You do. We pray for her. Give her wisdom, strength, comfort and Your peace. We ask that You would powerfully meet her at this moment and bring justice to this situation. We also pray for this traumatized community reeling from the shock of the judge’s ruling and grappling with feeling like they’re in a hopeless situation. And for the neighbors who witnessed and reported Maria’s abduction.
We pray for these girls who walk to and from the factories every morning and evening. Please protect them, God. Give them discernment and Your insight. And we pray for our partners who are working on the front line and behind the scenes to advocate for Maria and others like her.
Finally, we pray that what was done in darkness would come to the light, that Your truth would set her free. And that what Satan has meant for harm, you will use for good and for Your glory. We thank you for what you are going to do and for what you are already doing that we cannot see.
In Your name we pray,
STAND WITH PERSECUTED BELIEVERS TODAY
Today, Christians all over the world are abducted, kidnapped, attacked or killed for their faith. Through your gift, you can be part of God’s big work in the lives of our persecuted family, providing them with critical support and emergency relief. Give today and join the largest on-the-ground network of support for persecuted Christians in the world—because we are one Church, one family.