Story Sri Lanka | 04 July 2024

Sri Lankan believer risks death for Jesus


Show: false / Country: Sri Lanka /
In 2018, Hussain’s wife was sick. She felt weak and had issues with her hands and her feet. The couple knew the problem was spiritual—witchcraft.

This kind of practice is common in Sri Lanka, where the couple lives. The majority religion is Buddhism (with strong Hindu, Muslim and Christian minorities), and witch doctors using black magic is fairly common.

Hussain tried everything to heal his wife. Because they were Muslims, they first went to the mosque. “I took her to all the religious places to seek healing,” he remembers. “At the mosque, they chased us away, saying we were unclean. This happened at every religious place.” Frustrated with his religion and the mosque for rejecting them, Hussain reached a level of disappointment that led him to thoughts of ending his life—and his wife’s.

The couple was also struggling with their finances. But then, a friend told them about a place where they might find healing. “He told me to go to the church, and my wife would be healed,” Hussain says. “To my surprise, unlike other places, they accepted us, and my wife received healing. That day, we accepted Christ as our Lord and Savior.”

Hussain knew he could not reveal his faith to his family; it could have brought harm to him and his wife. And so, the couple lived as secret believers in Hussain’s parents’ house. “To avoid suspicion, we went to church and the mosque; we prayed and conducted Muslim rituals, too,” Hussain says.

That’s how they lived for several years.

But by the beginning of 2024, Hussain was not happy with his double life. “I could no longer hide my faith, and I told my parents that we were Christians,” Hussain says. Just as he expected, his parents were shocked—and furious. Opposition began immediately.

“We lived in the same house, but they didn’t talk to us,” Hussain recalls. This silent treatment went on for about three months. In March 2024, Hussain’s younger sister was bound by an evil spirit. Hussain’s parents, relatives and neighbors, who were all Muslims, gathered at the house to conduct Islamic rituals to free Hussain's sister. But none of these rituals worked.

“As the last option, I prayed for her in front of everyone,” Hussain says. “She was delivered, and everyone saw this.”

But what happened next startled Hussain. Instead of being happy that the girl was freed from the spirit, everyone was furious with him for converting. News spread that Hussain would be dead soon. The threat grew even more real when his uncle, a notorious underworld figure who has killed many people, told Hussain the punishment for conversion. “He threatened me, saying that I will be whipped and killed for converting,” Hussain says.

Living with his parents was not safe anymore; Hussain and his wife decided to leave the house. He rented a separate house and tried to ensure his relatives would not find him and his wife, who is expecting a child. Hussain faced additional financial pressure as he had to handle the rent and all his expenses.

When Open Doors’ local partners spoke to Hussain’s pastor, the pastor shared that he is willing to help the couple monthly. But since Hussain still lives close to his relatives, it could pose a risk to the church and Christian community.

Open Doors partners immediately rented the couple a new home near the pastor’s house. This is now a place which is safe and accessible for the pastor to continue to stand with and support the couple as they endure the abuse and risk

Hussain and his wife show us the danger of following Jesus in so many places around the world. His story reveals how risky it can be for people in some contexts to reveal their faith. But Hussain’s story also shows how other Christians can come alongside at-risk believers and support them! Your gifts and prayers have reached out to give hope and healing to a young family that has lost so much because they follow Jesus.

please pray

Our local partners ask us to continue to pray with Hussain and his wife. Here’s how:

  • Pray for the safety of Hussain and his wife in their new home. Pray that Hussein’s relatives would not find them and bring harm to the family.
  • Hussain’s pastor says that Hussain is actively engaged in church. Pray that Husain will continue to be salt and light in his community.
  • Let’s join Hussain in prayer, as he wants his family members to know and accept the Lord. Pray that the Lord would open doors to his family, so they can see the truth, hope and love of Jesus.
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