One day. That’s all it took for one woman’s life to change forever.
To keep her identity safe, we’ll call her Sascha.
Sascha waved goodbye to her husband as he traveled down the path to pick up supplies at the store. When he disappeared from sight, she went back inside to clean her home and take care of their five children.
She smiled as she heard the children laughing as they played. Their giggles rose over the sound of the birds chirping.
Then, another sound drowned out the giggles.
First screams. Then gunshots.
For a moment, Sascha wasn’t sure what to do. But the gunfire was getting closer.
She called the children in. They weren’t laughing anymore, and their eyes were full of fear. She told them to run to her relative’s house a few villages away. She promised she would follow as soon as she could.
Sascha’s heart pounded as her children joined the stream of fleeing people. She quickly gathered a few things to take with her.
Loud footsteps approached her doorway, and she panicked for a moment before she heard her name. It was her husband. Thank God, he was safe.
The two of them joined the growing procession of neighbors escaping, but before they were out of sight of the village, there was trouble.
Armed Muslim radicals ordered the group to stop. The women could leave, they said. But the men would have to stay behind.
Sascha begged to know what they would do with her husband and the rest of the men. Her question was answered as they killed her neighbor right in front of her.
Sascha screamed. She clutched her husband and kissed him. She pleaded with the men to forgive them, to let her husband live. With tears in her eyes, she begged them to spare him for his children’s sake.
But the men responded by tearing him from her arms.
One gunshot, and her husband fell to the ground.
Sadness and horror paralyzed her for a moment. But then she heard the voices of others.
Madam, run away! It is too late! Do not stay there. They are going to kill you, too!
So Sascha ran. She ran for her children, who were waiting for her, safe in the next village. She ran for her husband, whose body she would later find mutilated by his murderers. She ran because she knew that God had a plan for her that extended beyond that moment.
Sascha has never forgotten that fateful day two years ago. She doubts she ever will. But she has strength that is greater than her suffering … because Sascha is a Christian.
She now knows the people who killed her husband and many others were targeting them for their faith.
But her trust in God is greater than her fear and anger.
“It is by the grace of God that I and the children live,” she said. “Only God is enough.”
Stories like Sascha’s often go untold. Countless Christians are persecuted for their faith every year. But we rarely hear about their suffering.
Telling these stories is one way to honor those who are persecuted. As the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church approaches, you’ll hear more stories like Sascha’s on our blog and discover how to pray for people like her. You can learn more about the International Day of Prayer and follow these stories here.
You bring awareness to suffering believers like Sascha by sharing their stories. You remind them that the world cares. Join us Nov. 5 in praying for persecuted believers on the International Day of Prayer. And don’t stop telling others about them.
One day is all it took for Sascha’s world to change. And one day is all it takes for Christians to come together and support Sascha and others like her all over the world. You can be part of that support.