“Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story—
those he redeemed from the hand of the foe,” - Psalm 107:2
** For safety reasons, Fatima's real name and photos are omitted from this story**
For many Christians, the freedom to worship God openly and share their faith is a blessing. That's why it's remarkable to hear the story of a young girl who grew up in a different faith and is willing to risk everything to follow Christ. This inspiring story tells of Fatima's journey of discovering Jesus Christ through our village outreach and her determination to learn more about the Bible.
Some of the Rising scholars with the kids in the village.
In 2016, the Rising started reaching out to villages, with a special focus on children. In 2017, we expanded our mission to include adults, offering literacy classes, skills training, and Bible studies. Our fellowship continued for months until we felt called to reach out to the youth as well. Last year, we successfully launched lifegroups.
During this time, Fatima (not her real name), who was raised in Islam, became curious about our fellowship. She joined Raymond's lifegroup, which consisted of young mothers and teenagers. Fatima was captivated by God's story and asked Raymond if it was acceptable for a Muslim to be part of the group. Raymond assured her that everyone is welcome and that no one is judged here. Fatima didn't realize that the Lord was already working in her heart. Raymond's answer deeply touched her: "After all, no religion can save us, but only our faith in Jesus Christ."
The faithful fathers and mothers in the village, the pioneering members of our lifegroups.
IN SEARCH FOR ANSWERS
Raymond's response stayed with Fatima even when she got home, making her determined to find the truth. Questions like "What does it really mean to have faith in Jesus? Who is Jesus?" kept running through her mind, urging her to seek answers.
Despite the risks involved, Fatima faithfully joined us every week. She found encouragement and inspiration in hearing the Gospel.
"I keep coming back for more. That's why I'm always excited for lifegroup, and I prioritize dropping all my other tasks for the day. I don't need any support pack because what I truly want is to hear the Word of God," she said.
Everyone has witnessed Fatima's remarkable growth since last year. Her dedication and passion for God are evident. She testifies about God's goodness whenever she gets the chance to share.
The Rising staff Steph and Janice handing out slices of watermelon to the people in the village.
Fatima encountered Jesus, the Savior of the world, and discovered the power of the cross to cleanse us from our sins and transform us into God's children.
"Through my lifegroup journey, I have seen the power of sin and how our choices may seem right at first but lead us to destruction in the end. However, I know that Jesus' power is greater than the power of sin, and I realize that I should rely on Him rather than on my own understanding," she explained.
Learning about Jesus' life and sacrifices made Fatima regret her previous judgments of other Christians.
"When I understood the message of the Gospel, I began to appreciate the sacrifices of Jesus for humanity. It deeply impacted me that the Christian life isn't easy, and I shouldn't have made fun of other believers."
"The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God." - 1 Corinthians 1:18
Pastor Weng, sharing the word of God to the village men during harvest season.
Jesus is Worth it All
Now Fatima understands why Christians are willing to be considered fools in this world to follow God's will. Despite the immense risks involved in turning away from her family's deeply ingrained beliefs and traditions, she has unwavering courage to follow the Lord,
Fatima is risking her life by secretly joining our fellowships. However, her fear vanished when she experienced the presence of the Holy Spirit during worship.
"My parents have no idea what I'm doing. I always pray to God about my family, and I truly believe He hears me," she shared.
When asked why she's taking the risk, Fatima's answer is powerful:
"Having Jesus in your life makes all the difference. There's a peace that surpasses all understanding."
"I have experienced many hardships in life, but I'm not giving up because I truly believe that Jesus will take care of me," she added.
The Ate Gina passionately shares the gospel to mothers in the village.
For Fatima, the Christian community she found in lifegroups is her greatest support. She feels seen, heard, and loved by people who are also vulnerable and open about their struggles in their Christian lives.
Fatima is an inspiration to all of us in lifegroups. Her zeal for the Lord motivates us to continue our work in the village and to be prepared to share the gospel. She is a shining light in her group, and her faith is contagious.
During our Family Day, Fatima shared her life story and concluded with a heartfelt prayer. Her prayer focused on dedicating her life to serving God and her hope for divine intervention in her family. We humbly ask for your support in praying alongside us, that the Lord will protect Fatima's life and fulfill His plan in her journey.
"Dear Lord, be with me as I embark on a quest for truth and strive to live a righteous life. I implore You to shield me from the grasp of evil and safeguard me from the cunning strategies of the enemy."