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Family Kept Apart by Laws

Malaysia
Priscilla and Naomi

Priscilla and Naomi are sisters. Their parents, Felipe and Rose, love God, and they also love Priscilla and Naomi.

But the girls do not get to live with Felipe all the time. Felipe is a Malay, a member of the largest people group in Malaysia. The government says all Malays are born Muslim and cannot legally be Christians. People who are not Malays can be Christians.

Felipe became a Christian when he was a boy. Later he married Rose, who was a Christian and not a Malay. But the government in Malaysia does not allow Muslims to marry Christians, and they consider Felipe a Muslim. So in the eyes of the government, Felipe and Rose are not married. They cannot live together as a family in Malaysia, so Rose and the girls live in another country.

In some places in Malaysia, men and women who are not married have to pay a fine if they sit too close together on a park bench. Strict Muslim areas do not allow men and women to stand in the same grocery store line.

Trusting God for Wisdom
Rose and the girls now live in the country where Priscilla and Naomi were born. The law in that country honors Rose’s marriage to Felipe.

Felipe and Rose are glad they did not have to follow Muslim customs when Priscilla and Naomi were born. As soon as a Muslim baby is born, an adult whispers the Muslim call to prayer in the baby’s ear. The words of the call to prayer remind Muslims to pray five times a day. Instead, Felipe and Rose are teaching their daughters about Jesus.

Felipe still lives in Malaysia, but he spends as much time as he can with Rose and the girls. God has called him to teach other Malays about Jesus. He and his family hope to all live together in Malaysia someday. But it will not be easy. Since Felipe is Malay, people will expect them to be Muslims. “I know there will be difficulties in raising my children when they come to Malaysia,” Felipe said. “But I am trusting the Lord for his wisdom when that time comes.”


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