It is rare to find stories of true courage. This is one of them. It is discovered in an unlikely character.
The character doesn’t fit the bill. When you hear the word “Pastor”, what image comes to mind? Let yourself go there for a few seconds. What do you see?
My guess is your imagination isn’t projecting an image of a pastor who is:
- 18 years old
- a refugee
- living at home with mother and siblings
- a citizen of a majority Muslim state
- a female
Can you picture this pastor, now? She is the central character of this story of courage.
She lives with her mother and siblings in a refugee camp. A year ago, she came to faith in Jesus through a ministry who serves the people living in the camp. She has a name and a photo. I have seen both, but can’t share them with you. It would jeopardize her safety.
Her new faith took hold quickly. A fire for God burst into flames in her heart. She took every opportunity to deepen her relation to God. She jumped at the chance to attend a pastoral leadership meeting every three months.
Every 90 days, she left camp and her family on a 125 mile journey to and from training. I can’t say what the conversation in her home was like before she left. I can only write what I know happened when she returned to her mother and siblings. Upon re-entering her home, she walks into a fit of rage. Her older brother punches her so hard she faints from the pain. Her mother uses whatever stick she can find, big or small, to inflict serious blows. Scars and open wounds are visible all over her body.
Despite the beatings, she continues to attend the trainings. When asked why, her answer is:
“My knowledge in the Bible was shallow before I started attending the training. My faith was also not very strong. Now I know my Bible really well and my faith has grown as a result of this. The local underground house-church I lead is also growing. I don’t mind the beatings as long as I am learning and teaching others about the Lord.”