Lina was 13 when she first discovered Christianity but her desire to go to church meant her own family persecuted her.

Lina is originally from Kano State, Nigeria and was first drawn to church when she heard children singing in her language in a nearby church. The music was praise and worship coming from a Sunday school which met in a thatched shelter outside a church building. She sat and listened as they sung songs with beautiful words.

The next week the singing was there again and she soon joined in, hearing amazing stories of Jesus, who shows kindness, loves children and accepts them all as his special ones. She never missed a church meeting, but didn’t tell her family, as they were Muslim.

Her father soon found out where she was going each Sunday morning and beat her severely, commanding her to never go back. She obeyed for a short time but couldn’t resist and remembered the words “there is something here that makes me come into your presence, my Helper” so she continued to attend.

When her father discovered she was back at church, he again beat her before relocating the whole family to another village where there was no church.

If this wasn’t punishment enough, less than two weeks later, at just 14, Lina was forced to become a child bride and was taken to the home of her new husband. The bride price had been paid, the contract between her father and husband, settled.

Lina was terrified and given no chance to escape. She refused to eat and would curl up in a ball crying for her mother. Her mother eventually convinced her she had no choice but to co-operate and so began a year of repeated rape and abuse. She often ran back to her mother but each time was returned to her husband.

Finally, in desperation, Lina fled to the church in her old village. The pastor and his wife immediately brought her to Jos, to the safe house at VOM’s partner, Christians Faith Ministries (CFM), risking their own lives.

When she first arrived, Lina was still traumatised but with gentleness and care, especially from the on-site nurse, Comfort, Lina began to recover. She now sings the songs she once loved and is settling well in discipleship classes. School resumed in September and she is now learning literacy and numeracy while spending her free time playing with other children in crisis care.

“He shall cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you shall take refuge” Psalm 91:4

If you would like to financially support the work of Voice of the Martyrs, please go to:vom.com.au/donate

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