It was a day like any other for Peninah in Kenya. She went to the market, leaving her phone behind, not expecting any calls. But then she returned home.
And everything changed.
Peninah’s phone was full of missed calls. Her husband, Paul, a lorry driver’s assistant, was on his way home from the Somali border when the lorry was stopped by al-Shabaab militants. They lined up everyone from the lorry and demanded that each person recite the Shahada, an Islamic creed. Paul didn’t know it and, as Peninah relates, he ‘told them he could not deny Jesus’.
“If you want to kill me, I’ll remain in Jesus,” Paul told the attackers. “And if you let me go, I’ll still remain in Jesus.” He was shot dead.
Paul and Peninah are just one family. But throughout the world, there are many Christians whose faith leads to violence, brutality and even death. There are fathers, mothers, widows, children left to grieve. And to doubt.
“I lived a life full of questions,” Peninah shares, now 26 and a single mother to four-year-old Steve. “I almost lost my faith.” Instead of supporting the young widow as custom dictates, her in-laws abandoned her. Peninah and her son were alone. They struggled for food.
It’s here that you came alongside Peninah, paying for courses in dressmaking, tailoring and computer studies, and enabling her to attend training for persecution preparedness and trauma awareness seminars.
“The training helped heal my wounds,” she says. “What’s stayed with me is that the hardships we pass through don’t happen because God has left us but because there’s a reason. Talking to people and growing in my faith has restored my joy.”
Now she wants to help others. “I want to call my shop Fadhili za Mungu (God’s favour) or New Fashion Designers,” she explains. “I’d like to make clothing more accessible to people in my village.”
But sadly, just as Peninah was to sit her final exams, Kenya went into lockdown. It was a blow, halting her dreams of providing for her family. Thankfully, Open Doors partners provided her with emergency relief aid and a sewing machine so she can earn an income.
“I’d like to say thank you,” Peninah says. “You’ve played a great role in my life. I cannot pay you with anything but I pray that the Lord, who has given you a heart to give, will be gracious to you.”
The latest World Watch List has been released. Discover the places where it costs the most to follow Jesus, and how you can come alongside them in prayer and support.
Your support helps persecuted Christians continue to courageously follow Jesus.
Together, we can reach those where persecution hits hardest.