Halim lived in a small apartment in a poor area in Cairo but made a modest living as a street vendor. He sold various tools and toolkits. He would walk for miles with his goods in his wheelbarrow, looking for customers. He made enough to provide for his wife and son. But then he suffered a health issue that pushed him to want to open a permanent shop to sell his goods.
He found a shop located near his home, but Halim didn’t have the funds to pay for it. He asked his friends, relatives and even his church to help him buy the shop, but they were all unable to help supply the needed funds. Then a local shop owner named Abrax* offered to help.
Abrax offered to lend Halim the funds to buy the shop and even some initial stock. Halim agreed to the loan the man proposed and that he would gradually pay the man back over time. Halim was grateful for Abrax’s generosity, but even more grateful that his dream of owning his own shop was becoming a reality. He signed the loan document, but interestingly, the document didn’t lay out the timing or payment plan the two men had agreed on.
Shortly after Halim opened his store, Abrax arrived and demanded Halim pay him in full what he had borrowed. If Halim refused to pay, Abrax threatened to take him to court and have him imprisoned.
Halim was in shock. He knew he couldn’t pay the man back. Yet, Abrax continued to threaten, “I need my money back—now—and if you don’t pay me my money, I will imprison you.” But then came a new offer: Abrax agreed to forgive Halim’s debt in full if he would abandon Christianity and officially register as a Muslim.
Over time, the threats from Abrax didn’t stop. The pressure continued to mount. Halim says, “I felt I had no choice.” He agreed and officially converted to Islam.
Halim’s debts were forgiven, but his life was changed forever. His wife and son left home. He lost his church family. And although Halim desires to return to Christianity, it’s illegal to do so; it would be labeled “apostacy” and come with it prison time or worse.
Halim is filled with deep regret and asks for prayer: “I lost my family and the church in which I lived my life. I lost my friends, relatives and loved ones. It has been very difficult to find enjoyment in life. Please pray for me.”
As we think of Halim, we’re reminded of 2 Corinthians 12:9, which says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Although Halim has lost so much, God’s grace is still more than enough for him. And God will never abandon of forsake him. Join us now in prayer for Halim.
Lord, we want to judge and say we would never convert from Christianity, but we’ve never been in Halim’s situation. We ask that You comfort him during this time—be graceful to him. Allow him to feel Your love and compassion. And guide his steps, that he might find the boldness to step out as a Christian once again. Amen.
*Representative names and photo used to preserve security
About the authors
Girgis and Tim Dustin write for Global Christian Relief where they share stories of discrimination and persecution out of Egypt and the rest of the world. Get the latest blogs and prayer requests at GlobalChristianRelief.org