Araj, 16, was living with her parents and three sisters in Upper Egypt. Her parents’ marriage had not been a happy one. They used to spend much of their time arguing with one another and eventually separated.
Araj’s mother, Malli, left the marriage and along with her four daughters moved to another area. The family struggled with daily life. Malli did not receive her legal entitlements, but as her former husband is a police national security officer, she could not do anything about it.
Malli went through a period of searching. She wanted to experience true faith. As a Muslim, she started to pray to Allah asking to be shown the way to him. She wanted to be convinced that Islam was true. Nothing changed; she kept searching. One day, she met with a VOM supported frontline worker who spoke to her about Jesus. She was very open to hearing about Him and listened intently as the leader spoke of Jesus’ love for her.
Malli became convinced and accepted God’s gift of salvation. She was elated that she had finally found the true God! The frontline worker met with her regularly to help her grow in knowledge and understanding and she started to grow in faith.
Malli wanted her daughters to know Jesus, so she brought them to a meeting, where Araj and two of her sisters also accepted Christ. The youngest daughter, however showed no interest.
Soon after, Malli and her three believing daughters asked the Christian worker if they could be baptised. He agreed and arranged for the baptism to be held at his church. Malli and her three daughters were very happy at the baptism service; their hearts were filled with joy.
They continued to meet with the worker regularly, to study God’s Word.
One day, Malli‘s former husband called the family and spoke to the youngest daughter. She advised him that her mother and sisters had become Christians and were baptised. The father was outraged. Later that night, he arrived at Malli’s home. He beat Malli, Araj and the two sisters; and then forcefully removed Malli’s clothing and turned her out into the street, naked. The father demanded the daughters renounce their new faith and return to Islam. They refused.
One of the neighbours heard the commotion and took Malli into her home and provided her with some clothing. Araj’s father took her and her sisters back to Upper Egypt, where the violence continued, this time at the hands of the extended family.
He then returned to Malli’s home, arrested his wife and took her to the national security office where she was interrogated, then tortured by the authorities. They demanded to know who told her about Christianity but, courageously, she refused to answer.
Malli’s former husband then went back to Upper Egypt, where he imprisoned his Christian daughters in his home and continued to violently punish them. Araj received the worst treatment as she was the eldest; if she renounced her faith, it is likely her two sisters would have followed.
Araj, however would not deny her love for Jesus. She was determined to remain faithful. While suffering at the hands of her father, she asked Jesus to forgive him. In a rage, the father beat Araj more violently and, as a result, she died.
The father, full of sorrow because he had caused his daughter’s death, arranged for Malli to be set free. She returned home, along with her remaining daughters.
Araj’s father was never charged with her death. The family lives in fear.
Since Araj’s death, the youngest daughter has also come to faith in Jesus, though she suffers feelings of guilt over her sister’s death.
Our contacts are providing spiritual and emotional support for Malli and her daughters. VOM Australia is also providing financial assistance for the family.
Please pray for this family, that the Lord will provide protection and help them overcome what they have suffered. Pray too they will grow in their faith.
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