Persecuted for Faith
To Sabbath School teachers: This story is for Sabbath, February 26.
ina, panting and sweating, ran up to the Seventh-day Adventist pastor’s house and pounded on the door in a village in Laos. The 14-year-old girl had managed to untie the ropes that her parents had used to bind her hands.
Kina’s parents beat her, and her older brother punched her in the face and kicked her body.
The girl’s life was turned upside down because she had decided to be baptized into Jesus Christ and had joined the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Her once loving and caring parents turned against her and started to beat her in an attempt to force her to return to their traditional religion.
Kina, however, stood firm and refused to give up her faith.
Her calm courage in the face of suffering was astonishing. Her new Adventist friends did not offer her any special privileges. They were a small group of believers, mostly women, comprised of impoverished peasants, gardeners, and laborers struggling to make ends meet.
Perhaps Kina was touched by their love. Perhaps Jesus through the Holy Spirit blessed her with an inner peace and hope that gave her strength to stand boldly against the pressure and persecution from her own flesh and blood. Something about Jesus impressed her so much that she was willing to risk everything for Him.
But how long could the girl hang on? How long would she be able to endure the beatings and abuse from the hands of her parents and brother? Where could she go for help and shelter?
Kina had nowhere to go and was too afraid to return home. She couldn’t go to other relatives for help because they also thought that she should give up her faith in Jesus and return to animism. She couldn’t go to the authorities because the village chief also was a relative and thought that she, as the daughter, should obey her parents in all things.
Obeying one’s parents is a good and sensible thing to do. It is the normal thing to do in Laos and is even biblical. Ephesians 6:1 says, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right” (NKJV). But to what extend should a child obey his or her parents?
With her body covered in ugly black-and-blue bruises, Kina fled to the pastor’s home. But she could not stay there long. The pastor quickly sent her away to stay with one of his trusted relatives before her parents came looking for her.
Five days later, Kina was still hiding from her parents. She could not go back home. She was afraid to return because her family members had beaten her so many times. The last time, her father even took out a gun and fired a loud shot over her head.
Although bruised physically, the impact of the threats and beatings on Kina’s state of mind remain unclear.
Pray for Kina. Pray that she will have the strength to endure the hardships brought on by her own family. Pray that she will be protected by the angels of the Lord and be safe from severe injury. Pray for her parents and other family members, that their hearts will be softened and that they will see the light of the gospel, or that they at least will allow their daughter to have the freedom to follow her conscience. Pray also that church members will be able to find a way of escape for this girl. Perhaps she will be able to get a passport and study at an Adventist boarding school outside the country. Pray for wisdom so that church members can deal with these tragic situations with wisdom.
Part of this quarter’s Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help open a school where girls like Kina can study in Laos. Thank you for your Sabbath School mission offerings that help spread the gospel around the world.