“I grew up in a Muslim family. There were constant problems between my father and mother. My father used to insult and beat my mother in front of me and my siblings—constantly. There was no love between them. Our family was a broken family. The constant problems that were between my father and mother put me in a bad state. I was so depressed that I thought of running away. Ultimately, they divorced.”
She describes her life before Christ as being, “gloomy, dreary, dark and very boring. I did not feel inner peace. I was blind and I lived in complete darkness, I didn’t know what love meant.”
While being raised in a home of strife, she remembers witnessing a Christian family living near them. They lived a life the complete opposite of what she had experienced at home. The husband treated his wife with respect and kindness, and they all had peace. This undoubtedly sowed a seed in Salwa’s life.
During Salwa’s postgraduate studies, she researched monotheistic (the belief in only one God) religions and the status of women in those religions. She specifically compared women in Islam and Christianity. “All the Islamic Sheikhs and Imams who appear in TV programs say that women have a great place in Islam, and Islam has honored women, but when I was reading the holy books, I found passages where women are very humiliated in the texts and have no value. There were many verses that felt degrading and objectifying, like we were only to be used by men for their purposes.”
But when she studied the Bible, she says she found that women were highly valued and honored. She references scriptures like Ephesians 5:25 (“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her”) and Ephesians 5:28 (“So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself”).
Salwa talks about how Christ loved and honored women, and that women inherit as well as men. Marriage isn’t a contract in the Christian faith, but a covenant with God. This greatly touched Salwa and she began to passionately read the Bible, even bringing her to tears. “It was the first time I had heard these great teachings of Christ (love for enemies, forgiving and praying for those who offend us), which I had not found in any book before. In contrast, I had been raised in a context that preached revenge. I realized that I was not living before that. I was smelling the sweet aroma of Christ in the words of the Sermon on the Mount.”
Even though Salwa’s life has been changed by Christ, her family still doesn’t know about her new faith. She says if they knew she was a Christian, they would have her killed. For her personal safety, she lives apart from her family and acquaintances.
“The biggest challenge is that I had to leave my entire past: the people in it, all my circle of acquaintances and my family, for the sake of my new life with Christ… There is a possibility I could be killed at any time because of my faith. But my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ helps me persevere and dispels any fear inside me.”
However, Salwa desired to marry, but she didn’t know who would want to marry a converted girl. She continued to pray and stand in faith. God responded.
“God answered my prayers and opened the doors. He sent a good man who stood up for me, encouraged me and helped me to be baptized. I got married to him. We had to marry out of the country, but we have returned to Egypt. He is a man of faith. We pray together. He loves me so much.”
Salwa’s story reminds me of Matthew 6:33, where Jesus says, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” She went through many difficulties, but God added to her a good husband and family of her own.
God took a sad little girl from a broken home and completely transformed her into a whole woman of faith. “My faith in the Lord Jesus Christ turned the depression and anxiety that I was feeling into peace and joy. I wish I had known Jesus a long time ago … I was living in darkness before accepting my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I’m very thankful to the Lord for changing my life. After accepting Christ, my life has completely changed. My stone heart has turned into a heart of flesh, with feeling and love.”
Salwa requests that you pray for the protection of her and her family, as well as the salvation of her Muslim family. Join me in praying for our sister in Christ.
Lord Jesus, we thank You for the amazing transformation of Salwa’s life. We ask that You would protect her, as well as the family she grew up in. Have an encounter with her family just as You had an encounter with Salwa. Transform their hearts. Thank You for Your miracle-working power and love that touches lives across the world. Amen.
*Representative name and photo used to preserve security
About The Author
Tim Dustin is a staff writer for Global Christian Relief, a nonprofit Christian ministry that works to strengthen persecuted believers and raise awareness regarding Christian persecution. For more information, visit our website at GlobalChristianRelief.org.