When the threatening phone calls began Sabeen and Nadira didn’t realize the callers would go so far as to kidnap their husbands. Their husbands, who worked together in ministry, were active in spreading the Gospel through the radio. They also led food distribution programs in the community and school and shared their faith boldly with members of the Muslim community.
Sabeen’s husband was the head pastor and the main teacher. Nadira’s husband was his assistant and was an elder in the local church. He was publically known as Sabeen’s husband’s driver. It was their boldness that brought attention to them and their lives were added to the long list of those with Christian persecution stories.
Christian Persecution Stories: How They Became Widows
It was after their husbands’ faith was discovered that the threatening phone calls began, presumably from either extremists or local government agencies. The callers told the pastors that they needed to stop ministering to the Muslim community or else they would be killed. However both pastors continued to preach with boldness.
Two or three months after a guard in the army expressed interest in Christ, the pastors were kidnapped and held for a ransom of 3.5 million dollars. Sabeen and Nadira’s families were not wealthy and couldn’t pay the ransom. As is sometimes the sad outcome of Christian persecution stories, the pastors were murdered.
Both wives conveyed their suspicion that the local government was “in” on their husbands’ abductions and murders, but no significant evidence will likely ever be produced. The basic fact of the matter is that the pastors were targeted and ultimately murdered because of their outspoken Christian ministry.
Christian Persecution Stories: What Happens Now?
The threats did not stop after the two men were martyred. In fact, their wives continued to receive threatening phone calls and their extended family fled the area in fear. However, Sabeen, Nadira and their children stayed in the communities where their husbands once ministered.
The widows and their children continue to suffer, as the breadwinners—their husbands—are gone, and now there was no source of consistent income. The education of their children has stopped because of the lack of income. Nadira has tried to make the best of her situation. Not willing to be a victim of these Christian persecution stories she found a job as a security guard and is going to school to get her degree as a social worker. Sabeen, however has several health issues which leave her unable to work or financially contribute to the care of her family.
Please pray for Nadira, Sabeen and the three children who were left with just one parent when their fathers were martyred for their faith. While to us, theirs may just be one of many Christian persecution stories, to them suffering for Christ is a daily reality. Pray for them to be encouraged and for the Church to meet their needs. Pray also that in their suffering and the death of their husbands Jesus would be glorified. Pray that their courage and love would be a testimony that would draw those in their surrounding communities to Christ’s saving grace.
BY WILLIAM STARK AND COREY BAILEY