Jesus Found Me
Among the 85+ million Christians in China, there are only a few thousand Muslim background believers (MBBs). The few thousand MBBs living in western China are of the most persecuted groups in China. On one hand, the government imposes tight control over this sensitive region in order to defend from terrorist attacks and reiterate its position of anti-Islamic extremism and anti-infiltration of religious issues by overseas forces. On the other hand, they also face persecution from their own family, friends, and neighbours. Conversion to Christianity is seen as a disgrace to a Muslim family and treason to the community. If Christians are discovered, they run the risk of being disowned by their families and thrown out of their homes.
“I felt that my life was meaningless. I was so lost,” Bermet shares, “but Jesus found me.”
A friend shared the gospel with Bermet and told her that there was a new and better way to live. “I wanted to be like her, to have peace and joy,” remembers Bermet. This friend took Bermet to an underground church meeting. “My friend didn’t tell me where it was and I didn’t know it was a church until I was there,” Bermet laughs. “Jesus is the way, the life, and the truth.”
With all the joy and excitement she had found in Jesus, Bermet couldn’t wait to tell her parents. Her dad immediately hit the roof and scolded her: “If you choose Jesus, you will no longer be our child.” Her mother tearfully added, “You will be a traitor to our family. Come back to us! I will pretend it never happened.” Bermet was shocked by her parents’ reactions. Soon the news spread all over the village. People spit on her when they passed her on the street. One of her brothers was an alcoholic and he once threatened to kill her when he was drunk. “I was scared and hid in my friend’s house,” Bermet said, “but one night some people threw stones at my friend’s house and two windows were smashed.”
“Sometimes police came to search my house for evidence,” she continues. “Some people reported to the police that I was converting people to Christianity. Fortunately, they never found out where I hid my Bible.” Soon, Bermet was tired of hiding and living under such pressure. She ran away when her brother threw things at her and cursed her.
After fleeing her home, Bermet was introduced to a Christian training center which allowed her to continue learning and growing in Christ. A few years later, she felt God calling her to go back to her hometown to serve children. “God doesn’t ever leave me, but stays with me all the time,” she says. “I still have a heart to share gospel with ‘my folks’ (people in her ethnic group).”
“Are you afraid of going back to your hometown to face your parents and brothers?” Open Doors China staff asked her. “Yes, to be frank. But my faith is stronger. I can’t run away all the time. I have to face what’s coming to me next,” Bermet replies with a firm voice.
Open Doors China keeps searching for the most persecuted Christian groups in China despite the fact that Christians in most parts of China have been gaining more freedom to worship the Lord in recent years. Open Doors China provides persecution related training and Christian materials to help strengthen the faith of these most persecuted Christian groups so they might gain encouragement and spiritual support.