“The 12 Faces of Persecution” are real accounts of persecuted Christians who are standing strong as they suffer for their faith.
“But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God.”
— 1 Peter 2:20
Azni doesn’t know who she can trust any more.
Her father? He kept her locked up for three months after finding an old, worn copy of the Old Testament in her bedroom.
Her mother? After telling Azni she wished she had never been born, her mother gave Azni’s brothers permission to “do whatever was needed” in order to remove this Christian influence from the family.
Azni’s own husband? He regularly beats her, calling her a curse.
Yet, somehow Azni has managed to keep her focus on God and continues sharing her Christian faith and passing out copies of the New Testament. This, despite the fact that she has been terribly mistreated by both family members and religious zealots in her hometown.
|Accused of being filled with “evil spirits”
In Chechnya, where she lives, it is an unwritten law that people should not read the Bible. City officials recently took her copy of the New Testament, burned it and sent her to an Islamic medical center, where mullahs read the Quran to her over and over in a futile attempt to exorcise the “evil spirits.”
What was Azni doing all this time? Fasting and praying. A friend later said Azni told him that she felt God protecting her and experienced peace in her heart.
But how much can one woman be expected to endure?
Once, she escaped Chechnya with her children. But her family found them, kidnapped the children and brought them back home. Fearing she might never see her children again, she returned home and was promptly locked up — again!
Another time, she called her friends in another region to tell them of the threats against her life. What she didn’t know was that her phone had been tapped! Later, her brother called these believers back, furious with the Christian influence they had on his sister.
In a fit of rage, he threatened to ruin their lives if they did not leave Azni alone, complaining that “having a Christian in our family causes us many problems.”
Azni’s friends wouldn’t back down. But they haven’t been able to reach her — and fear the worst.