Literacy Draws Woman to Christ
Ever wonder about the real lives and people that are being affected through Open Doors’ literacy programs? Here we meet Zohra*, a woman from Bangladesh whose life was forever changed by the opportunity to learn to read, and ultimately, read about the One who created her.
My name is Zohra, and I am 30 years old. I’m married to Mateen, a laborer, and we have a ten year old daughter, Anamika. I was born in a Muslim family in Bangladesh. Our society expects women to stay at home. Though the government strives to educate young girls, family tradition and economic limitations force them to drop out. Eventually, when they reach their teens, they are set up for marriage. Because my family forced me to stop schooling when I was very young, I thought my dream of becoming a valuable part of society would never be fulfilled. I always knew about the importance of education, and I really wanted to get a diploma.
But, true to tradition, my family married me off to Mateen when I was 15. Mateen didn’t go to school either. That was before I met Sharinah, a literacy teacher. Sharinah and I became good friends, and we shared our lives with one another. Some tears and laughter and many stories later, Sharinah sat down with me and shared the most important story of all the story of Jesus Christ. I didn’t know how to read, so Sharinah would read the Bible to me. She would read about miracles, healings, suffering and joy. She would read about Jesus’s love and sacrifice, about how He came into the world to save us from sin and death. I would listen and imagine, and cling to her every word. Sharinah’s stories were wonderful. Because of them, I surrendered my life to Christ. With that decision came the desire to proclaim my faith, and I was baptized not long after. I wanted Mateen to know Christ too, but I couldn’t read the Bible to him. I prayed, and God answered.
In January 2013, Sharinah started literacy classes near my home. In class, we would always start and end with a prayer. Sharinah, now my teacher, would show us pictures as she presented Bible stories. We would learn the alphabet, try to pronounce, spell and discover meanings behind unfamiliar words. I can read the Bible now. God truly answers prayers. I’m still a bit slow, but it is my great joy to finally be able to read all those stories about Jesus to my husband. We can manage our home better, because I’ve also learned how to add and subtract. Now, we can be more conscious of our family expenses. Spiritually, I have never been better. I praise God for how He has allowed me to savor His Word. With it, He continually teaches me to be patient and forgiving. Now, I don’t easily get upset. Peace has come into my household, because we no longer fight over petty things.
My neighbors have also noticed the change in me and my family. Other women now come to me to seek advice about family matters. I try to be a good example to them and I advise them to be patient, too, just as how the Lord has taught me.
*Names have been changed to protect the believers in this testimony.
- Pray that Zohra and her family continue to grow in their faith in Jesus.
- Praise God for Sharinah’s life and ministry. Continue to pray for Christian workers like her; that they will be diligent and encouraged in their vocation, and that more people would know Christ through their example.
- Zohra hopes that her husband and neighbors will also benefit from the literacy classes. Please pray that more programs like this will open near her home, and for the Lord to provide for them.