Zena: making a choice

I met "Zena", a young Sudanese woman, through Sister "Emily." Zena shines in her desire to serve God. I asked about her life, and the following is her amazing story.

Zena was born in Sudan in a strict Muslim family in which several family members are Imams (Muslim leaders in mosques). One day, when she was still a young girl, Zena had a vision of the cross. She shared with her mother what she had seen, and her mother was convinced that someone had cast a spell on her with this "evil" dream. Emily explained, "Muslims believe in the possibility of people casting spells on others to make their lives harder." There are people who are known to remove curses from Muslims, so Zena's mother brought her to one such person, and the matter was forgotten.

Not much changed for Zena. She remained in the Islamic faith, married a Muslim man, and gave birth to a son. Her family moved to Cairo because of Sudan's economic crisis and civil wars, but her life continued much the same.

About eight years ago, while pregnant, Zena and her husband got into an argument. He beat her, as he often did, but this time she told him, "I would prefer to follow Christianity; at least Christians don't beat their wives." At the time, she didn't mean that she really wanted to be a Christian, but that same day she had a dream. In her dream, Zena saw someone. She asked him, "Are you Jesus, son of Mary?" He answered that he was Jesus Christ, and that he gave her the gift of a child and that the child was sealed/protected with the cross. That day, she started studying Christianity. She didn't share her decision with anyone, and she was afraid to go to church because of the problems that would create with her Muslim family.

After this change, Zena did not participate in fasting and reciting the Islamic prayers during Ramadan. Her husband noticed, and jokingly asked her, "Why did you stop fasting and praying? Allah forbid, have you become a Christian?" Her answer surprised him. Zena told him she had become a Christian. He was outraged and started beating her. Zena ran to the balcony, where she planned to throw herself off and end her life, but then she heard the voice of Christ telling her not to harm herself.

Zena felt God prompting her to be baptized, go to church, and declare her faith, but she was still afraid. One day, while she was sleeping, she had a dream and spoke to Christ about her fears and doubts. He said, "I am salvation, freedom, and healing!" When Zena woke up, she was surprised to see that everyone was around her. Her husband had recorded all that she had spoken while dreaming. They made her listen to the recording, and it was exactly as she remembered in the dream.

Her husband asked her again, "Are you a Christian?" She courageously told him, "I am a Christian and will not back down or return to my old life!" He was very angry with her. He closed the door, with her children outside the door, and he beat her, and threatened to kill her. The whole building could hear Zena screaming and her husband's death threats. Neighbors rushed to the apartment.

Zena believes that this was God's army coming to her rescue! Among them was the building owner, and a neighbor who was a lawyer. Because these prominent men were present, Zena's husband pledged not to lift a finger against her ever again. Zena knows that God saved her that night; it was all God!

After everyone left, Zena's husband came to her with two choices. He placed before her the Quran and the Bible, and when he asked her to choose one, she chose the Bible. Then, the choice became more difficult. Her husband forced her to choose between the Bible and their two children. Once again, she chose the Bible. He immediately kicked her out of the house and asked for a divorce. Zena wasted no time in finding a church and was promptly baptized!

These days, Zena is helping Sister Emily with her ministry to Sudanese refugees. Though she is still deprived of her children, she is able to find joy in her relationship with Christ. Her ex-husband still threatens her from time to time, but she fears more for her children than for herself. On a few occasions, she has encountered their children in public. When this has happened, in order to punish Zena, he will beat the children.

I cannot imagine being forced to choose between my children and Christ, yet this young mother knew in her heart that following Christ is the best choice for her and her children. Please pray for Zena and her children. Pray they may be reunited. Pray also for her ex-husband, that he may encounter Christ in a life-saving way, and that he will understand that apart from Christ, he is lost.

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