In Saudi Arabia, leaving Islam to become a Christian is so fraught with danger that many believers keep their faith secret. A man who knows this well is Adam. He has faced imprisonment, flogging and death threats since becoming a Christian, and this Sunday (30 May), he is again due in court. He urgently needs your prayers and encouragement. All names mentioned in this article have been changed to protect identities.
Christians living in Saudi Arabia – where the official religion and law is Islamic – can expect to encounter severe opposition to their faith
As far as Eve’s husband and his family were concerned, there was one man for the job. It was 2018 and Eve had become a Christian, and the family needed someone to convince her to change her mind. So they asked her brother-in-law, Adam, a Muslim man in his 40s admired for his gentleness.
But little did they know that Adam had also begun exploring the Christian faith. Instead of getting Eve to change her mind, Adam was inspired by her faith and later gave his life to Jesus. To many in Saudi society, the two of them had committed one of the biggest sins a Muslim can commit – leaving Islam.
Eve’s life was in perilous danger. Family members tried to have her killed, but miraculously she survived. In Saudi Arabia – which is number 14 on the World Watch List – the consequences of converting to Christianity from Islam is mostly keenly felt by women and girls, reflecting their inferior status in Saudi society. To live safely and freely as a new believer, Eve had to escape the country.
However at the time, women needed the permission of a male member of the family to travel. Thankfully, Adam was able to help Eve and her children to flee to safety. (The law changed in August 2019, allowing women to apply for a passport without the approval of a male member of the family.)
Unsurprisingly, Adam’s bravery has proved extremely costly. The family brought a court case against him for his role in Eve’s escape. The case is ongoing. The family also accused Adam of stealing money, but in April 2021 the charge was dropped due to there being no evidence.
Adam has also faced threats to his life by Eve’s husband. “It has to do with the eye-for-an-eye culture,” shares Latifah, one of Adam’s friends. “‘You stole my wife and children, now I will harm yours.’ That is what the people think.”
“Adam is a strong believer,” says Rasheed, another friend. “He put himself in danger for the sake of others when he helped Eve to flee. He is open about his faith. He wants other people to know Jesus, too. He is very active in publicly sharing his faith. Sometimes he leaves Bibles behind in the great mosque. He goes to the mosque to pray to Jesus.”
Sadly, Adam’s passion to share the gospel has resulted in another separate ongoing court case. “In a restaurant, he shared about Jesus to a group of friends, but one of them betrayed him,” Rasheed explains. He is being charged with trying to convert Muslims to Christianity. As with many countries across the world, taking the step to tell others about Jesus in Saudi Arabia carries enormous risk.
In total, four charges have been levelled against Adam in recent years. He has been in prison several times, totalling around four months. As well as the charges brought for helping Eve escape, theft, and proselytising, Adam has also been convicted of importing and distributing Bibles, and sentenced to 900 lashes. In April 2020 – by which time Adam had received 400 of the lashes – the Supreme Court of Saudi Arabia abolished lashing as punishment and replaced it with imprisonment and fines.
Adam and Rasheed are part of the same house church in Saudi Arabia. On the day he was due in court to face the charge of stealing (which was subsequently dropped), Adam sent a text to Rasheed. “He expected that it would be his last day in freedom,” Rasheed says. “He texted, ‘Know my brother that I am praying for you. That you will continue to spread the gospel, to tell others about Jesus. Go on with that. Don’t worry about me.’”
Adam’s miraculous acquittal in April 2021 was a massive encouragement to him and his house church. However, in a stark reminder of the lengths family members will go to pressurise those who become Christian, Adam’s wife, Hope, was tricked into believing that her mother was ill after receiving a Covid-19 vaccination. On arriving at her family’s home, Hope was locked in and not allowed to leave. The family said they believed her husband would soon be sent to prison and it'd be better for her to stay with them. Thankfully, in answer to prayer, the family have since allowed Hope to be reunited with her husband.
"I want to say thank you to my brothers and sisters who raise their hands to the Lord Jesus for my sake and for my wife and children" Adam
However, Adam is afraid of what might happen to his wife and youngest son if he is imprisoned. “He is under a lot of pressure,” Rasheed says. “Last week, he joined us during our meeting as a church. We laid hands on him, prayed, wept. It was a long time of prayer. I believe it went on for three and a half hours. He fell on the ground and cried and cried. We comforted him and then he started praising and worshiping God.”
“It was a great moment for all of us,” Rasheed continues. “Many of the church have also been rejected by their families. They all understand what Adam is going through.”
Adam is next due in court on Sunday 30 May. As he awaits the outcome of the two cases against him, he is finding hope in the suffering. “We must know that all the pains that we encounter and pass through are but a gift that we present to Jesus,” Adam shares. “The suffering and the difficult and tragic experiences are nothing compared to the reward that we will receive. I try to realise that our suffering will lead to others being blessed in their faith and trust in God. Human suffering makes others know and realise the meaning of life.”
“Even though we sometimes get tired of the frequent pleading to God to help us or fulfill our requests, we must not give up,” Adam continues. “If we persevere in prayer, we show that we sincerely desire to see Jesus' hand in our lives. We also learn to discern how He responds to our supplications.”
Adam knows others are persevering with him and his family in prayer – and it means so much to them. “I want to say thank you to my brothers and sisters who raise their hands to the Lord Jesus for my sake and for my wife and children,” he says. “I am proud of you and I am proud that I have brothers and sisters who suffer for me. It is an honour for me to be a member of the family of Christ and an honour for me to sacrifice my life and the lives of my children and all that I have for the sake of my faith in the Lord Jesus.”
Would you like to encourage Adam and his house church even further? You can write them a message of encouragement. They’d love to hear from you!
You can personally tell Adam and his house church that you are praying for them by writing them letter. It would encourage them enormously!