Clara* raised her sons, Dias* and Jeengul*, on her own. Her husband left her for another woman twelve years ago. In a moment of desperation when Clara was first left alone with two teenagers, she attended a service at the Protestant Church for the first time. The pastor was teaching the parable of the prodigal son. She was captivated by God’s love. Since then, Clara’s life has changed dramatically. Clara and her children began attending the church and she began to teach her sons about this new-found love. “Despite the fact that we were left by our father, our mother replaced everything and everyone to us,” Jeengul shared. “She surrounded us with so much love that we literally grew up in love.”
Everything changed when Dias found a job. In the beginning, he was bringing money to the family and they were able to survive on his earnings. After a while, he stopped visiting his Bible study group at the church and began skipping Sunday services. He was no longer spending time in the Scriptures and his relationship with the Lord stopped meaning anything to him.
Dias soon began dating a Muslim girl named Alisha*. Her grandfather was an imam in one of the mosques in Kazakhstan. After Alisha’s parents found out that she was dating Dias and that Dias was a Christian, they told him that unless he rejected his Christian faith he would not be allowed around their daughter. And so Dias rejected the faith of his mother.
Dias seemed to become a completely different person. When he came home after work he was very irritable and rude. A couple of times he didn’t even show up. He shouted at his mother and sister when they asked where he had been. One night, Dias came home and started packing his stuff into a suitcase. When Clara asked him what he was doing, he said he was leaving with no plans to return. “I did not recognize him,” said Jeengul. “This young man who looked like my brother was like a stranger to me. Wrath and rage was in his eyes. When our mom tried to stop him, he began beating her. He slapped her face a couple of times and then he pushed her so she fell down.”
Dias was screaming, “You made a mistake by taking us to church. It is not our religion. I’m no longer a Christian!” Then, Dias took a knife and began threatening Jeengul. “If you want to be a Christ follower, be assured that someone will cut off your head!”
“We were crying together and prayed for Dias throughout the whole night,” said Clara with tears in her eyes. Recently, an OD worker met with Clara and Jeengul to hear their story, to pray for them, and to help them financially. Clara continues, “I still love him, no matter what; he is my son and my prayer is that God will turn him back to the path of righteousness and truth. He listens to the evil one, that is why he refused Christ, but my heart is the heart of a mother and as such holds out hope that he will return to Jesus.”
Clara, like the father in the parable of the prodigal son, is waiting for her son to come back home.
*Names and photos are representative for the safety of persecuted Christians