Women like Precious face a double threat of persecution—for being a Christian and for being a woman.
For some time, Precious* had been reading the Bible and feeling her heart opening to the words of Jesus:
“I am the gate; whoever enters through Me will be saved...” (John 10:9)
“Very truly I tell you, whoever hears My Word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.” (John 5:24)
Precious grew up in one of 13 Muslim tribes living in the southern Philippines. Hers is a proud tribe, believing they have descended from royalty.
Yet she couldn’t stop thinking about Jesus’ words, so different from what she had been taught to believe: “As a Muslim, I believed that after you die, you will enter first into purgatory, and then, if you have not followed the requirements of Islam, the angels will punish you.”
But it seemed to Precious that every word she read from the Bible was food for her soul.
Women like Precious face double persecution—for being Christian and for being female.
The persecution of Christian women is different than what men might face. It can be more complex, violent and hidden, and often includes rape, forced marriage and sexual violence. In the part of Southeast Asia where Precious lives, the low status of women makes the risk greater, and the violence worse.
When Precious accepted Jesus, it felt like freedom. But when her family heard about her decision, they threatened to kill her.
Still, Precious felt God calling her to return and share the gospel with her tribe.
“I said, ‘Lord, Lord, I don’t want to go! No, Lord! They will kill me!'" Precious says. “But the Lord kept on calling me.”
Today, Precious shares the gospel with other Christians from a Muslim background in her region, well aware of the risks she is taking. She shares, “I love Jesus more than my life, more than anything in the world. I love Him so much that I will take risks.”
Sarosa* lives in Marawi, a city in the southern Philippines. She is one of the women who Precious told about Jesus.
She first heard about Jesus a few years ago when her personal life was in turmoil. Devastated by her husband’s womanizing, she had decided to end her life and her children’s lives.
“I cooked rice and poisoned it,” she says. “I wanted me and my children to die, to no longer live on this earth. At the time, I really believed there was no God, because if there was someone, why was life so difficult? I loved my husband. But why did he leave me for all these other women?”
That same day, her friend Precious went with her to the market and shared Jesus’ love for her. Sarosa’s heart was touched by Christ, and she confessed to Precious what she had done.
They immediately ran back to Sarosa’s home to save the children from eating the rice. Thankfully, none had eaten and all the children were still alive.
Precious and Sarosa would soon face more tests when ISIS invaded Marawi, and many panicked residents were forced to flee. Sarosa’s family was among them.
After they reached safety, Sarosa received a call from her friend Precious. Precious told Sarosa not to worry, that their pastor was looking for local believers who had been scattered.
“On the second or third day after we arrived in the nearby town, relief goods came,” Sarosa says. “We received financial aid, several pairs of clothes, rice with canned goods, toothpaste and soap. We were provided completely with everything.”
Sarosa shares with happiness, “Jesus is real, because His help is real to us, to me and to my family. I will never forget it.”
Christian believers like Precious are risking everything to share the gospel in some of the darkest places in the world, where women face double the risk of persecution because of their gender. Through the ministry of Open Doors, persecuted believers around the world—men and women alike—receive critical help when they need it most, like:
Crisis relief aid
*Names and photos have been changed to protect identity.