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Miriam’s Story: 3 years in captivity and still faithful!

March 13, 2023 by Tim Dustin in Persecution updates

After extreme persecution and three years in captivity with a group of Islamic terrorists, you might expect Miriam* to be filled with anger and fear. She was abducted, along with her two young daughters, forced into a Muslim marriage, and gave birth to an Islamic extremist’s baby before she miraculously escaped. When she returned home to her village in Burkina Faso, she had to pick up the pieces of her life and reunite with her husband, and she desperately wondered whether she would be accepted, along with her new baby.


And yet: She sings praises to God and points to His goodness.

Terror at home

It was a Sunday when Miriam was kidnapped.

She’d gone to church, just like every Sunday. But that evening, terrorists surrounded her village while her husband was in another town. “Some of them pointed guns at us and brought us into the compound, and the others surrounded the yard,” she remembers.

Miriam prayed frantically as the terrorists entered the compound. Miriam’s pastor, who lived in the same compound, was tied up, blindfolded and led to the church. Once there, the gunmen took every Bible, then returned to the compound. They let most of the Christians go—but they kept Miriam, her two daughters, and the pastor and his family. They put the believers on their motorcycles and sped off.

Miriam knew the terrorists were Islamic extremists. Groups with ties to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group are active in her part of Burkina Faso and are known to target Christians. “They said their holy book tells them to kill all [non-Muslims],” she says. “They said that only those who believe the Quran will be able to see God.”

At the terrorists’ camp, Miriam saw the brutality of the extremists firsthand when others were killed for refusing orders. And then, Miriam was given to one of the men as his wife. She was so horrified that she fainted.

Over time, she realized she was pregnant. “I was very sad—I did not know what to do,” she remembers. But she trusted that God’s will would be done, no matter what.

Miriam shares her story with GCR

Miriam shares her story with GCR

After Miriam gave birth, she made plans to escape with her daughters. They waited for the right moment, and finally, one night around 9 pm, they fled. They walked through the night, then found a place to hide in the bush where they could rest. They walked for five days before they found someone to take them home. They spent nearly three years in captivity, but they were finally free.

Praise God, Miriam’s husband accepted the baby. And now, even as she bears the scars of her kidnapping, she focuses on God’s promises. “God is the one who created the heavens and the earth, and He is going to take care of everything,” she says. “God kept me in life, saved me and brought me back to my family; in the same way, my future is in His hands.”

Today, Miriam and her family receive critical life-giving support from our partners on the ground—along with spiritual encouragement and presence ministry.

What you need to know: Burkina Faso

Even a decade ago, Burkina Faso was known for being a nation where different faiths were tolerated. But increasingly, Islamic extremist groups have targeted and murdered scores of Christians, plunged the country into political chaos and created a massive humanitarian crisis.

In 2021 alone, Human Rights Watch reported that more than 350 civilians—some of them Christians—were killed by these extremist groups. The Associated Press estimates that more than 2 million people have been displaced. As a targeted group, many Christians are among the displaced. In a recent instance that the organization Aid to the Church in Need reported on, radicals took control of a town, gathered everyone in the mosque and demanded they convert to Islam. The Islamic militants told the people: “Jesus has come, but His mission is over. He promised He would be followed by a successor, and that successor is Mohammed.”

Stay connected to your persecuted family!

Read updates on believers in Burkina Faso, receive prayer requests and more by downloading the new Global Christian Relief prayer app today

Download here

Stand with your Burkinabe sisters and brothers in prayer

– Pray for Miriam and her family, that they will continue to find peace and healing.

– Pray for God’s people who are driven out of their homes. Pray for safety.

– Ask God to bring political stability to Burkina Faso.

– Pray for peace and understanding to return to the country.

– Ask God to give ministry leaders wisdom to encourage believers who’ve lost everything due to persecution and extremist attacks.

*Name changed to preserve security

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