After Suraida came to faith in her 60s, she has been sharing God’s love with her family, and she has seen God move in miraculous ways – particularly during the month of Ramadan. Although she and her husband face persecution for their faith, they are continuing to share the gospel. Please pray for them this Ramadan as they tell others about Jesus. All names in this article have been changed.
Suraida came to faith about seven years ago, when her seven-year-old granddaughter invited her to a prayer meeting. “When I heard about it, I immediately was against it, because I knew that their belief was different from my religion,” she says.
At the meeting, someone gave her a Bible. Although she was surprised to find that it was written in her local language, she never bothered to read it and kept it in a cabinet.
But one day, she became seriously ill. Her granddaughter advised her to go to the nearby medical facility, that also happened to be run by Christians.
She went and received medicine – and someone prayed for her. “Someone prayed for me, but not how we Muslims pray,” Suraida recalls. “She prayed that Isa Almasih (Jesus) would heal me.” When she got home, she opened the Bible, and as she read it she was healed!
“On that day, I became a Christian,” she says. “God has been good to me ever since He came into my life. He has given me everything I needed.”
Since that day, her love for God’s Word has grown. And, thanks to your prayers and support, Open Doors local partners have given her biblical training, where she has also been taught how to lead Bible studies for others. Now she teaches the Bible to others in her own home.
Suraida’s sister-in-law told her ‘she wanted to follow Jesus’
Suraida’s nephew also became a Christian. They would pray, worship and study the Word of God together – which angered his mother, Suraida’s sister-in-law.
But last year, Suraida’s sister-in-law became unwell during Ramadan. Suraida took the opportunity to visit her and explain the gospel. She even sang the hymn ‘How Great Thou Art’ in her local language. “I did not know the tune and even the lyrics very well, but I was able to sing it to her,” she says.
Her sister-in-law cried when she heard it, and received Jesus into her heart. She passed away peacefully that same day. “I am thankful she told me she wanted to follow Jesus Christ,” Suraida says.
Suraida’s husband has a dream during Ramadan
Last year, during Ramadan, God was also at work in Suraida’s husband, Jimmy, who told her that he would be fasting for Ramadan. Suraida replied that she would not be fasting the way she did before, as she is now a follower of Christ.
But three days later, Jimmy became unwell. He was unable to fast, and instead he slept. He had a dream where a man told him to not follow what he had been following before, but to ‘follow the woman’, because it could save him. “Then he told me maybe the woman the man was talking about was me,” Suraida says.
Jimmy went with Suraida to a church service. That Sunday, while walking to church with her family, she thanked God that He had answered her prayers. “After the service, my husband told me that he would stop fasting because he has decided to follow Isa Almasih and to join me in my faith. He is still growing in His relationship with the Lord,” she says.
Persecution won’t stop Suraida reaching out with the gospel
Sadly, their new faith has led to persecution. As they walk to church, some people shout at them and mock them. Others in their community are angry with Suraida and Jimmy for leaving their traditional faith. In one recent incident, during an argument with a neighbour, he brought up the fact that the family were now Christians and started brandishing a knife. The man was about to stab Suraida when Jimmy stopped him.
Jimmy’s hand was wounded, but he says, “Even when problems like this happen to my life, I do not give it a thought. I know in my heart that Jesus is my Saviour and that He is my Lord.”
This year, during Ramadan, Suraida and her family will pray for others to know Christ. Their home has become a place for Christians to gather for worship and fellowship, and thanks to the training your support has provided, Suraida has the confidence to lead others as they study the Bible.
Please join them in praying that many more will come to faith in Jesus in the Southern Philippines during Ramadan this year.