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Persecuted Christian in the Ivory Coast endures spiritual warfare

September 26, 2023 by Tim Dustin in Persecuted Christians in Burkina Faso

In some rural parts of Africa, it is not uncommon for people to worship idols, utilize witchcraft and participate in human sacrifice. Before Awa became a persecuted Christian in the Ivory Coast, she and her husband initially practiced a tribal religion in which they worshipped an idol called Togosenbla.

One morning in 2012, Awa awoke and went to work on the family’s farm. When she returned later that day, she found her young daughter had suddenly died. The death of her child deeply wounded Awa’s heart. In her own words, “I felt alone and there was no one to help me.”

A short time later, still reeling from the loss of her daughter, Awa cried out, “God, if You really exist, come and help me. My burden is too heavy.” A strong voice responded, “Come to me.” Then, a great light filled the bedroom. “God revealed Himself to me. Jesus came into my mind,” Awa recalled.

Awa went to her husband and asked for permission to be a Christian. In anger, he responded, “If you give your life to Christ, don’t come back in my house.” But Awa kept thinking about Jesus and the miraculous encounter she had.

A month later, Awa visited a local pastor and shared her story and interaction with Christ. While talking with the church leader, she surrendered all to Jesus. Today, her Christian faith is the one thing she cherishes most: “My faith means so much to me. It opened my heart and mind.”

When asked how Jesus compares to the idol she used to worship, Awa says, “When I gave my life to God, I found that Jesus is infinitely more powerful than this idol, which is powerless before Him.”

After giving her life to Christ, Awa returned home and told her husband. He responded with, “Don’t touch anything in my house ever again.” He stopped providing for Awa, even when she was sick. Days later, Awa’s husband called a family meeting. He said, “I will stay married to you if you abandon Jesus. Otherwise, you will leave my family.” But Awa refused to recant her faith.

Then her brother-in-law and father-in-law brandished knives, threatening to take her life. “We came now to kill you,” they uttered. Awa immediately fled and sought refuge in another believer’s house.

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A short time later, her brother-in-law was in a motorcycle accident and broke his foot; he couldn’t walk for three years. One day, he approached Awa in desperation and asked if Jesus could heal his foot. Awa brought him to her pastor and they prayed over the injury. Within three months, he was healed completely. “He gave his life to Christ,” Awa shares. “We went to church together every Sunday. Praise God! He even invited his sick sister to come receive prayer at our church.”

Though Awa began to see transformation in her family, her husband remained defiant and would not accept Christ. He and Awa’s non-believing relatives attempted to curse her through idol worship and witchcraft.

To ensure her safety, Awa and her children left the Ivory Coast and moved in with their extended family members in Burkina Faso. The church welcomed them with open arms; the congregation even rented a house for them to stay in upon their arrival.

Recently, Global Christian Relief and our partners on the ground in Burkina Faso provided emergency relief and food kits to persecuted Christians in Burkina Faso. Awa was one of the grateful recipients of this aid. Speaking of the generous donors who made this possible, she says, “Thank you very much. You have proved your love of Christ in your lives and in your actions, by sending us these food packs. I received food from you at the right time. I was really in need, and God used you to meet my needs, even though you did not know me. Once again, thank you.”

Awa’s 4-month-old little girl, Sarah.

Awa’s 4-month-old little girl, Sarah.

When asked how her struggles have shaped her, Awa says, “This persecution has only grown my faith in Christ. It transformed my life and gave me courage to follow Jesus without fear of anything. It’s helped me to learn more about God—how to trust in God by lifting my eyes to Him in every situation.”

As a persecuted Christian in the Ivory Coast, Awa compares her faith walk to the story of David taking on Goliath. Her favorite Bible verses are 1 Samuel 17:45-46: “David said to the Philistine, ‘You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands.’”

Awa continues by saying, “David loved God. He asked and God gave him His power to win the battle. In the same way, I asked God in my prayers for the same armor and power against my Goliath. God brought me victory. Today, I am free from Togosenbla [the idol] as the Israelites were freed from their giant.”

We rejoice in Awa’s victory! Please join us in lifting her up in prayer now.

Father God, what a powerful testimony. We’re so grateful for Awa’s spiritual transformation. Thank You for protecting her from her persecutors in the Ivory Coast and allowing her to lead her brother-in-law to Christ.

Now that she has relocated to Burkina Faso, we see her needs, Lord. We ask You to continue to make Yourself known in her life, that she will see You working in all things. Protect Awa and her children. Bless her with a job so she can provide for her family and live an abundant life. Hear our prayers for our sister, o God. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

*Please note: Awa’s name has been changed to ensure her safety, security and anonymity.

About the author
Tim Dustin is a staff writer for Global Christian Relief. Each day he uses his gifts to share the way God is working in the persecuted church. Learn about Christian persecution on our website and read the latest stories at GlobalChristianRelief.org.

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