God's plan for the Middle East is "working perfectly" even though the persecution of Middle Eastern Christians is seemingly getting worse by the day, a persecuted Christian woman told American churchgoers on Sunday.
The Christian woman, who is referred to by the pseudonym of "Maryam" for security purposes, was encouraged by a group of six pastors and ministry leaders from the United States to travel to America and share her family's story of persecution and speak about the dedicated faith displayed by Christians in the Middle East.
This past Sunday, Maryam visited MeadowBrook Baptist Church in Gadsden, Alabama, and shared the story of how her father was sentenced to six months in jail after he complained to police about a Muslim man who was blocking the entrance to his store, threatening to kill him and disfigure his daughters with acid.
"I will let you and your sister be orphans," Maryam said, recalling the Muslim man's threats.
Although her father tried to file a complaint with police, he was sent away and told by authorities to forgive the Muslim man. But after Maryam's father was physically assaulted, he went back to the police a second time and a case was finally filed. However, the Muslim man alleged that Maryam's father had cut him.
Instead of the Muslim man being jailed for death threats and physical assault, he was set free while the judge sentenced Maryam's father to prison.
As a whole, persecution and harassment are daily struggles for Middle Eastern Christians, Maryam said.
Maryam also spoke about a physical assault she suffered on her way to the airport to travel to the U.S. She said she was assaulted by Muslim men because she did not bow to strict fundamentalist standards and cover her hair.
"I was walking in the street and behind me there was three guys and they started to insult me and things like that. I just kept walking. They held these small stones and they started to throw it on me," she said. "They shouted in a loud voice, 'Cover your hair!' That is what I am seeing. It's daily life. Everyday we are facing situations and it is very hard."
Although Christians in the west might view persecution as a bad thing, Maryam and many other Middle Eastern Christians view persecution as a necessity to help the Church continue to grow in a hostile part of the world.
"The persecution is getting worse and worse and worse," Maryam said. "But on the other hand actually, what has encouraged me, encouraged my faith, encouraged my church, encouraged everybody Christian in [the region] is that is the Church is increasing."
Maryam explained that while some radical Muslims are brutally killing and persecuting so called non-believers and claim to be acting in the name of Allah, many other Muslims in the Middle East are starting to open their eyes and ask serious questions about the religion they espouse.
"A lot of Muslim people now, they are so confused about what is going on now. A lot of them are asking, 'Who is this God whose name is Allah, who orders people to slaughter?'" she said. "They are confused and they are asking and wondering now days about ISIS and about what is going on."
"We are talking to them and asking them 'Please, open your Quran and search what is written,'" Maryam continued.