Mina

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Several months ago, I received a phone call from Rose, a family friend in Brazil. Rose told me that a young lady named Mina, living in Mozambique, had contacted her on the internet. Mina, who is in her 20s and has a little boy, asked Rose to help her because her husband Tony threatened to harm her. As it turns out, Mina recently started attending one of the SDA churches in Maputo and was receiving Bible studies. Her husband, a member of a different faith, had become furious and threatened her. Rose asked if I could help Mina. Yes, of course.

When I called Mina, I found out that she was excited about the new Bible truths she was learning. And I learned that her cousin Lisa was also receiving Bible studies. The two young ladies live close to each other and visit the SDA church in their neighborhood. Mina truly enjoys fellowshipping during Sabbath School and church each Sabbath. Sadly, after Sabbath each week, Mina comes home to find her husband Tony extremely upset with her for attending another church. Her husband’s Sunday church forbids women from reading the Bible, and she feels oppressed by the leaders. Tony yells at her and sometimes hits her. I gave her encouragement through Bible promises and promised to pray for her. She asked me to keep in contact, so I started texting her Bible verses and devotionals every day.

One evening a few weeks later, when Mina returned home, Tony’s threats became a reality, and he savagely beat her until she was able to escape. Lisa then took her to the hospital to get treatment for her injuries. The situation at home had become dangerous. I asked our local prayer group at church to pray for Mina and Lisa. I also called the elder of the church that Mina attends and asked him to help her. Then I visited Mina and gave her a Bible and some religious study materials. A few days later, her husband apologized for what he had done, and Mina returned home.

By this time, Mina had begun calling me “mãe,” which means mother. She enjoys phoning me and praying with me whenever she has a problem. Imagine my joy when one day Mina called and told me excitedly that she was going to get baptized the following Sabbath! She was inviting me to come to her baptism. Oh, how I wished I could have gone, but she lives seven hours away. Mina promised to have pictures taken of her baptism and said she would send them to me. I asked her if she had spoken to her husband about her plan to be baptized. She was afraid to tell him because she knew he would try to prevent her. He had already threatened to throw her out if she got baptized. But she agreed to tell him.

Mina was baptized as Lisa watched. It was a joyous time for her. But when she got home, Tony, who was seething mad, had already packed all her belongings into a box, and he unceremoniously returned her and her son to her family.

Mina’s family began pressuring her to give up her new faith, become an obedient wife, and return to her husband. They were used to receiving monetary support from him, persuading them to side against her. Many family meetings were held, trying to force her to go back. But she remained firm that she wanted the freedom to worship God at the church that keeps the Sabbath holy.

Finally, after two months, Tony agreed to allow her to attend church on Sabbaths if she returned to him. So Mina, based upon that promise, went back to live with him. Not long after that, Tony moved her far from the city to a remote shack without electricity or phone service. She had to say goodbye to Lisa and her church family, where she had become a Sabbath School teacher. Now, only occasionally is Mina able to read my daily text messages of encouragement. And she cannot call me very often to pray with me. There is no SDA church anywhere close to her new home, but she did find a group of SDA believers who meet on Sabbath under a mango tree—even though it is a very long walk.

The forces of darkness are trying to snuff out the tender faith of Mina and Lisa. Tony is resisting the light, but we pray that Mina’s faithful witness will touch his heart. God loves them all. Thank you for joining us as we lift them in prayer.