ETHIOPIA — Like so many believers in Ethiopia, when Khalid became a Christian he was excluded by his Muslim relatives. Forced to leave he was left with no food, shelter or source of income. But persecution charity Open Doors stepped in to help him establish his own business.
“Persecution is tough. You are separated from your family. You feel sad and helpless. My relatives are Muslim and pray five times a day. When I accepted Jesus Christ I stopped praying with them. They told me that I defiled the culture.
“In fact, they said that I betrayed them and their faith. They forced me to leave the house. They refused to give me food and shelter. They even threatened to kill me.”
It is a sad, but familiar story for Christians in East Africa, who convert from a Muslim background.
Often deserted by their families believers like Khalid struggle even to survive.
“When I lived with my family life was comfortable. But when they kicked me out life turned dark. What helped me to stand strong was the Word of God where it says, ‘I will not forsake you.’ Thanks to Christians in that area I survived. I did feel down for some time, but when those Christians and I became friends they gave me food and a place to stay.”
But Khalid struggled to get a proper job in his new town and he didn’t want just to rely on the good will of others. The with help from Open Doors, he received a loan from his local church and opened a small convenience store. He can now provide for his family and he has used the profits from the shop to pay off the loan and to expand.
These days Khalid also rents a plot of farmland where he grows onions and maize providing employment for others too.
“The loan changed many things in my life. I often try out new merchandise to see if they yield a profit. I have built relationships with the wholesalers. They allow me to buy merchandise on credit, which helps me to buy more stock. The number of customers that come to my shop keeps growing. My shop has expanded. I bought a TV. I bought a fridge. I switched from traditional cooking to a modern oven. I provide for my family and more besides.”
And as well as providing for his wife and children Khalid has since been reconciled with his Muslim relatives who now come to spend time with him.
About Open Doors UK
Open Doors is a non-denominational mission that supports persecuted Christians in over 70 countries where Christianity is socially or legally discouraged or oppressed. In their work, they provide vital support, training, and resources to those facing persecution or discrimination.
Resources that they provide include distributing Bibles and literature, running leadership training, assisting with socio-economic development and intercessory prayer. They also help victims of violence and disaster, including widows and orphans, with practical support such as relief aid, livelihood support, and community development projects.
Their vision is of a world in which every Christian who is persecuted is remembered and supported by other Christians. They pray for a world where there is no persecution.
Source: Global News Alliance, Khalid’s Story: Ethiopian Christian Excluded by Muslim Family