As Christians, we react to news of a brother or sister being killed for their faith with mixed emotions. On one level, it is a gut-punch of horror to hear the report. On the other, we know that God has a plan and a special place for those who have died for their faith.
But what happens to the family of a martyr, especially when he or she is a church leader?
Below, we share one family’s story as Open Doors walked with them through the nightmare of losing a husband and father, as well as a daughter and sister.
June 3, 2006
Emilyn remembers peeking nervously through the window, hoping to see her father and sister walking up. Her father, Pastor Mocsin Hasim, 47, and her older sister, 22-year-old Mercilyn, had gone to a wedding where their father was officiating.
It was a normal occurrence. Officiating at weddings was one of her father’s duties as a pastor. But today, June 3, 2006, had started with trepidation—a text threatening her father’s life: “Pastor, you will die today.”
Mocsin was accustomed to receiving death threats. In Zamboanga del Norte in the Southern Philippines where he, his wife and four children ministered, Mocsin boldly reached out to the Muslim tribes around them to share the gospel, showing the JESUS film wherever they went. So when this threat came, he brushed it off. He and Mercilyn, who often accompanied him to do ministry, left for the wedding.
Emilyn, 18 at the time, waited for their arrival with her mother and three siblings. But instead, a friend from church knocked on their door. The friend told them what had happened. On their way home, both Mocsin and Mercilyn were gunned down by Islamic extremists. Mocsin was shot 19 times, Mercilyn five times. There were no known witnesses.
“My mother fainted,” Emilyn says, remembering the day. “Then the bodies of my sister and father were brought to our house. She went to them, hugged them, and then fainted again. There were bullet holes in their bodies.”
It was hard to recognize their loved ones.
Emilyn’s brother, Junjun, 12 at the time, grew hysterical. “I was insisting that it was not them; I was no longer thinking straight,” he shares with us. “I didn’t know what I was doing. I went wild, and my friends were trying to calm me. I even damaged some of our belongings. I really felt angry. I wanted revenge for my father and sister.”
The family’s youngest child, son Junex, was too young to understand what was happening. He would learn the details of his father’s and sisters’s deaths years later when he turned 13.
The Hasim family before June 3, 2006: Mocsin and Evelyn holding baby Junex; back row (l-r) son-in-law Jayson, Emilyn, Mercilyn and Junjun.
‘I want to remember my father’s advice’
Rather than uniting the family, Pastor Mocsin’s death sent his family off reeling in different directions—so often the case in the unexpected death of a parent who died for his faith.
Emilyn tried to draw on the good times and remember the lessons her father taught her.
“It still hurts that they died at the same time,” she says. “I miss our bonding. We were very happy before. I miss those times when we would go to church together as a family. It was then, during church services, that we were complete. Our family would lead the praise and worship, then my father would preach. Sometimes we joined him in his ministries to Muslim areas to share the gospel. I miss that.”
Despite the lingering pain, she still thinks about her father and sister.
“I want to remember his advice: That we should always serve God. He reminded us all the time,’” she says, reciting the verse he often said: “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord (Josh. 24:15).
“He told us we should continue to serve God, even without him.”
Emilyn dug deep and forgave her father’s and sister’s killers. “I forgave them because I believe that justice is with God, even though they did something to my father who did no wrong. I prayed for them. I told the Lord that whoever killed them, I offer them to Him.”
Later, she found out one of the suspects had been killed. “I felt relieved. I know it is not right to feel that way, but it was as if God answered my prayer, and justice was given to my father and sister.”
Junjun, Emilyn, Evelyn and Junex at the memorial service.
‘I got angry with God’
But Junjun took an opposite path. “I got angry with God. I questioned Him as to why those things happened to us,” he says. “I said, ‘We never stopped serving You! Every day we prayed to You! Why did you allow these things to happen to us? I am not yet ready to not have a father, Lord. Why did You take him from us like that?’”
He rebelled and took his rage out on the world. He had previously wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a pastor, but no longer. He committed every felony possible. He fled his hometown, fell in with friends who led him further astray, and was eventually imprisoned.
“It was as if God was no longer in my heart,” he said. “I was very far from Him.”
Junex, the youngest son and a baby at the time of the murders, remembered the day when he was 13 and his mother told him what had happened to his father and sister. He was hurt and enraged because he’d grown up without a father. “I was very angry, and so I assured myself I would avenge my father’s death,” he said. “But God was always reminding me that everything has its purpose.”
Unfortunately, Mocsin’s widow, Evelyn, eventually married a Muslim man. She forgot all about their ministries and her service to God, and it seemed she would refuse to believe in Him again.
The hands and feet of Jesus
When Mocsin’s sons Junjun and Junex were at their lowest, a special ministry came alongside them and offered the deep help and acceptance they needed.
Open Doors supports a ministry called Timothy’s Crib, a haven for children who have been abused, neglected, orphaned or otherwise suffered trauma. The founding pastor and his wife offer children a place to stay and mentor them spiritually, even adopting several.
Evelyn approached them for assistance in guiding her sons. Her youngest, Junex, stayed with them for three years. There, he learned to do household chores such as laundry and cooking, how to manage finances, and was bolstered in his faith. Eventually, with what he learned there, he was able to reach out to his brother Junjun, inviting him to come to Timothy’s Crib, as well.
But Junjun wanted no part in it. He no longer had any desire to serve God, and he knew the people there did. Still, Junex insisted. Eventually, Junjun gave in to his brother.
The experience at Timothy’s Crib was nothing like what he’d expected. “I got a taste of what it is like to have a family there,” Junjun says. He shares how everyone treated each other as family, and they managed to remain faithful to God. “I enjoyed our bonding and the training we did in the Crib. It’s overwhelming, how much the Crib has helped me.”
Through Timothy’s Crib, God turned Junjun’s life around. The pastor and his wife became like second parents to him. Praise God! He has never returned to his rebellious life. Instead, Junjun has rekindled his relationship with Jesus and is now aspiring, once again, to be like his father and lead a church. To that end, he is studying theology in Bible school.
The turnaround was so profound, it even helped renew Junjun’s mother’s faith in God when she learned of her once-rebellious son’s intent to become a pastor. Evelyn accompanied Junjun to the bus station on his way to Bible school and wished him well. She was a source of motivation for her son until her death in 2021 from COVID-19, following chronic kidney disease.
Emilyn, now 34, married a devout Muslim man, but that has not stopped her from raising her children with the stories of Jesus ringing in their ears, and she witnesses to her husband daily. She fervently hopes that one day he, too, will come to Christ. She also is part of Christian church, teaching Sunday school and ministering to children in her community. Her oldest daughter is the worship leader at her church.
This year, Junjun is expected to graduate as a pastor. He attributes that success to what happened to him after his brother persuaded him to come to Timothy’s Crib.
“They helped me a lot in my growth,” Junjun says. “There, I felt the Lord calling me again. I was reminded that I should always pray and serve God.”
After their father’s and sister’s deaths, Junjun and Junex found their way to healing and back to faith as they participated in trauma care in a local ministry called Timothy’s Crib.
An eternal legacy
When Pastor Mocsin and Mercilyn died, Open Doors stepped in to offer immediate assistance, providing monthly financial support until the family could once again support themselves.
“They helped us a lot,” Emilyn says. “We had no one to sustain us. Open Doors gave a livelihood to help my mother and us.”
Through our partnership with Timothy’s Crib, Open Doors has supported the family both emotionally and spiritually in the years that followed June 3, 2006. The direction and encouragement both Junex and Junjun received made a life-changing difference in their direction and faith. But it took years of daily work with the pastor and his wife, ongoing discipleship, and special focus on the trauma they had gone through. That’s what Timothy’s Crib does best. And that’s why Open Doors partners with these kinds of local ministries to walk with families through the pain and long-term impact of losing a parent.
Every day, an average of 13 people are killed for their faith, and their families are left to grieve and often suffer because of their absence. When you and I, as God’s Church, come alongside families like Mocsin’s, we not only follow God’s command in His Word, we also build the Kingdom for years and decades to come. The people believers like Junjun, Junex and Emilyn will share Christ with and disciple are part of our spiritual legacy.
Pray with us for Pastor Mocsin’s family
- Pray that God will lead Emilyn as she sets an example for her children and husband, and that he would come to know Jesus as his Savior.
- Pray for Junjun, now 31, as he continues his journey with God as a pastor. Pray he can be salt and light to families who are not followers of Jesus, and that his family’s story will bring many to believe.
- Pray for Junex as he grows up. He is 18 now. Pray he is protected from worldly temptations and stays strong in his faith. He is working in youth ministry. Pray for wisdom as he reaches out to others.
- Thank God for local ministries like Timothy’s Crib and those who work so hard with young people in the Philippines and throughout the world. Ask God to provide for the staff in these ministries, encourage their hearts, and bring more strong believers from their doors as they mature and overcome obstacles.
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