She became a Christian some time ago, when she saw how different Christians were from other people. For Y Bi to accept Christ meant that, in the eyes of her community, she was betraying her tribe and ethnicity. By worshiping Jesus instead of her ancestors or animistic gods, she was immediately a target for her village. Even more tragically: She was also a target for rejection from her family.
That was when Y Bi started to cry.
“There was a day in 2018; it was in the morning and I was cooking the rice to prepare the [morning] meal,” Y Bi remembers. “The people from the village came in and took the furniture out of the house so they could demolish the house.”
After discovering her faith, the villagers had come to Y Bi’s house to destroy it and to kick her out of the village. Her faith in Jesus meant she was no longer welcome in her home, and that the community and tribe no longer considered her one of their own.
It also meant her husband no longer believed her worthy to be his wife or the mother of their children.
“The village gave me money to move; and I said ‘no,’” Y Bi remembers, tears flowing freely. “They pulled my hair and they dragged me out of the village. My child was crying; they took her so she could not see me.” She tells the story in a soft voice. The images are stark: A child, screaming for her mother, dragged away as Y Bi is pulled from her home, loudly arguing with the other villagers.
These are images that transcend any cultural divide—these are images of a mother and child being ripped apart, a pain any parent would do anything to stop. I thought of my own young kids. What would they do if they saw me or my wife, being pulled out of our home as they watched?
The pain is unimaginable.
“[The villagers] said they did it because I followed Christ and also because when I followed Christ I was different than the other people, so they cast me out,” she says. “The police came over to stop the fighting, and they asked me to come to a new village.
“I didn’t want to go with [the police]; I told them my husband and child were in the village and I didn’t want to leave,” she says. “Because I insisted [I would] not go out, the police tied my legs up and put me on the back of a motorbike and drove me out of the village. I jumped off the bike—and the police told me I would be killed and should wait for them to solve the problem.”
The tears continue as Y Bi remembers that trip—tied up on the back of a motorcycle, cut off from her tribe and from her family, listening to the screams of her daughter fade into the distance. She chose Jesus, and following Christ has cost her everything.
Support and maybe even a little hope
After she was taken out of her village, Y Bi was taken to a community of Christians—where her sister lives. Y Bi’s sister is also a Christian, and she had come to this small community made up of other Christians who had been forced from their homes after deciding to follow Jesus.