Pray for Jamilya*

June 29, 2016 by Janelle P in Asia

In the blink of an eye, Jamilya’s* life changed. Soon after coming to faith in Central Asia more than 10 years ago, Jamilya courageously visited an underground church. Growing in faith, she happily devoted herself to serving in the church as a youth leader. Her life took a sharp detour when she was kidnapped by a man who wanted to marry her by force. Jamilya’s relatives chose to leave her with him as his wife and she was forced to accept their decision.

Life with her husband Sardor* became progressively worse, far from the happiness she had known after coming to Christ. He made it clear that he did not care about her or the son she bore him; he failed to provide for them financially, and physically abused Jamilya. Though she prayed for her husband and gave him chance after chance, nothing changed. Finally losing all hope for their marriage, she decided to divorce him.

Sardor decided that he did not want to lose her and he agreed to attend the church with her, began to visit secret meetings, and professed to accept Christ. Sardor even helped his wife in her secret ministry teaching Sunday school. But the apparent change in him was all a ruse to trap his wife.

Meanwhile, he began to give information to the secret police and report members of the underground church. Raids on believers’ houses and arrests began to increase, but nobody knew who was betraying the group. One day, Sardor brought police to his own house during a secret Sunday school meeting. Jamilya was arrested, as were her mother and sister, who helped her with teaching the lesson. They were taken to the police station along with 20 children. According to their law, it is a crime for anyone even a child’s parents, to teach children any religious doctrine.

Jamilya, her mother and her sister were fined and threatened with imprisonment if they preached to children again. Her mother and sister paid the penalties, but Jamilya couldn’t do that as her fine was exorbitant, and, considered a criminal now, she was fired from her job. After his devastating betrayal of the entire Christian community, Jamilya divorced Sardor.

During the past two years she has lived with her mother and six-year-old son in the home of her brother, who is not a believer. Jamilya has been unable to find a job and has no money to pay the penalty imposed on her by the authorities. Consequently, she could be arrested again at any time. She can’t serve in the church because her activities are under the strict control of the police. She is at a loss for how to answer her son’s question, “Where is my father and why doesn’t he come to see me?” Please, pray for Jamilya—she is on the verge of despair.

Our Father, full of compassion and mercy, we lift up our sister Jamilya in the midst of her suffering. Even to us, the answers to her trouble elude us, but we pray in great faith and hope to You who hold Jamilya, indeed the whole world, in Your sovereign hands. Comfort her, Father, replacing fear and despair with great peace and hope. Equip her with all the spiritual defenses You provide to “stand against the schemes of the devil” during this difficult time. Strengthen her to stand in Your truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation, Your Word, and the power of Your Holy Spirit. We pray Your protection over her son as well. Teach him Your truth in the midst of his confusion and questions. Draw him to Yourself. And we pray for Sardor that You might break through his hardened heart to see Christ and turn to Him in true repentance. In the name of Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, Amen.

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