As a part of the Global Advance mandate to carry the burdens of our brothers and sisters in Christ (Galatians 6:2), our Alpha Relief initiative supports some thirty-three undercover missionaries world-wide. One of these missionaries runs a rescue center in Ethiopia. Just a short time ago, a twenty-one-year-old woman came to this center in desperate need of help, on the run from her father, brother, and uncle. She had become a Christian, and the “shame” she had now brought upon her Muslim family, in their minds, made her no longer worthy of living.
Here is her story…
Zemzem (name changed for her protection) grew up a Muslim. In fact, her father sent her to a Quranic school where she was brilliant enough to memorize the entire Quran, even though she could understand little of it. One special day, Zemzem was celebrating her thirteenth birthday with a party when a beloved family member joined the celebration. He arrived by car, accompanied by another man Zemzem had never met. After witnessing some hand shaking between this man and her father, and some crying from her mother, Zemzem was told to leave this festive occasion in the car with this relative and stranger. This extended family member had always been so loving and kind to Zemzem, she had no apprehension whatsoever in agreeing to this request from her father.
Upon arriving at the stranger’s home, Zemzem was now informed that she had just become this man’s wife. Zemzem was thirteen. It was her birthday. Zemzem had little understanding of the concept of marriage, and no understanding of what was expected of her in this new role. This was the beginning of what Zemzem described in a drastic understatement as “a sad journey.” While she served this man for many years as his wife, Zemzem never considered herself married. Zemzem had three children and was “divorced” by him once he grew tired of her, while she was still just a young woman.
It was in this time of despair that a different stranger, one with different motives, introduced Zemzem to Jesus Christ. Out of desperation, Zemzem had returned to her parents’ home to live, and this gospel messenger warned her not to tell others of her new-found love for Christ, as repercussions would certainly follow. But, in short order, Zemzem’s family noticed the change that had taken place in her. When Zemzem’s father asked about her transformation, she could not hold back from speaking the gospel message of salvation to her family. From that day forward, Zemzem never spoke with her father again, as she barely escaped his presence with her life. Her family has now vowed to hunt Zemzem down and execute her.
Today, Zemzem, a new believer, is on the run. Thanks to your support of Global Advance through our Alpha Relief initiative, Zemzem has a place to which she can run – a refuge from those who hunt her.