Published on September 24th, 2014
Shamil was in trouble at school. The teacher of his class in Central Asia wanted him to memorize verses from the Quran, which is the Muslim holy book.
But Shamil and his family are Christians, even though most of the people in their country are Muslims. They became Christians after his mother, Laila, found a crumpled piece of paper under a bench. She unfolded it and saw that it was a newsletter that told stories of Christians.
In her search for more stories like the ones in the newsletter, she first discovered a relative who was secretly interested in Christianity. Then she visited a church where she heard and accepted the good news of Jesus. Soon the rest of Shamil’s family also trusted in Christ.
Shamil’s school used a textbook called Introduction to Islam. (Islam is the religion of Muslims.) When Shamil did not recite Quran verses well, his teacher hit him on the head with the book!
Shamil did not tell his family about the incident for a while, but the beatings at school grew more serious. In addition, other children in the village pointed at Shamil and his brothers and yelled, “Christian! Christian!” as an insult. The youngest brother had scars on his head after Muslim children threw rocks at him.
Laila talked to the parents of the children who threw the rocks. But the parents said it was fine for their children to bully Laila’s kids, because Laila’s family worshiped “another God.”
“Christ is worth it!” Laila said of her family’s hardships. “Blessings follow suffering. After we suffer, we receive new blessings from Christ. We follow Christ’s example. He suffered, and so we will also suffer.”
To protect their identities, the names of some of the people on this website and some identifying details have been changed. Some of the quotes and stories have been edited and paraphrased from the original sources for clarity. Some faces are covered to protect the identity of Christians at risk.