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Mauritania: Not Easy for Christians to Get Married


Ethan and Kalila loved each other and wanted to get married, have children, and teach their children about Jesus. But their parents did not want them to marry each other. Their families went to extremes to keep them apart.

Ethan grew up in a Muslim family in Mauritania. His father was a Muslim religious official. Muslims believe that Jesus was a good man, but not the Son of God. They worship Allah, who they believe lets people into heaven if they have done enough good works. But no one knows how many good works are “enough.” Christians know that people can be saved only by the grace of God through faith in His Son Jesus.

While Ethan was visiting another country, he learned the truth about Jesus. By the time he returned home to Mauritania, his family had already heard the news that he had become a Christian. “Is it true?” they asked him. “Yes,” Ethan answered.

His parents told him he had two choices. He could stop being a Christian, or he could stop being their son. “I will stay a Christian,” said Ethan. His parents said he was no longer their son. They told him not to try to get a job, a wife, or friends, because they would tell everyone bad things about him.

It is against the law to own slaves in Mauritania. But, sadly, many people still work for masters who do not pay them.

Kalila came from a poor family of people who had been slaves. She met Ethan while working as a cook. Kalila also decided to leave Islam and follow Jesus. (Islam is the religion of Muslims.) She and Ethan wanted to spend their lives together.

Kalila’s family knew Ethan was a Christian. His family had spread the news about him, as they promised. Kalila’s relatives realized that she, too, was a Christian. They decide to stop the wedding and force her to return to Islam.

A Rough Engagement
Kalila’s relatives tied her hands and feet with wire so she could not walk, move around, or leave the house. They kept her tied up for seven months! She was untied only to wash or use the bathroom. The wires were so tight that they left scars.

One day Kalila’s brother tried to hit her when she was tied. Kalila rolled away from him, but her face struck an iron bar. She now has a scar on her face, too.

Kalila did not stop loving Jesus or Ethan. Her family finally let her go, and she and Ethan got married. Her mother and father died within five years of the wedding.

God is Everywhere
Kalila and Ethan have two children. They are teaching them the truth about Jesus and His faithfulness to His children. (See the photo of Ethan and the children above.) “God said, ‘Everywhere you have been, I have been with you,’” said Kalila.

Praise God for encouraging Ethan and Kalila through their struggles. Pray for other Christians in Muslim lands who are persecuted for their faith.

(From the Kids of Courage archives.)