Faith in the Face of Persecution
“There were threats, insults and opposition. One man started throwing stones at me. He said I was a traitor for changing my faith and started cursing me. Another time, four or five men approached me and started calling me hateful names.”
When Sevdalina Markucheva, 58, known as Sevda, began sharing the gospel in her local community in Bulgaria. She was threatened, abused and shunned from her community. But Sevda had discovered the Truth and she was determined to share the gospel with everyone she met.
At 21 Sevda was forced into an arranged marriage to a Muslim man who lived 150km away. She was removed from her home and all that she knew. 10 years into that marriage, with 3 children, she was desperate to leave and return home. In the isolation and sadness, Sevda found Christ. She was drawn to the people who showed deep and sincere love. Never experiencing this before, she pursued this new concept of God and faith. Not long after receiving the new testament, Sevda gave her life to Christ.
New Found Faith
She was eager to tell everyone in the Turkish Suburb about her new faith and she would invite anyone she saw on the street to her homegroup. People were curious about this woman. She spoke like them, looked like them and yet was sharing about a different God.
Many people wanted to silence her voice. But Sevda refused to waver. Slowly more and more people came to her home group and eventually it formed into a Turkish speaking church. A church that now partners with Mission Without Borders.
The threats and insults did not stop Sevda – but then her persecutors began targeting her husband.
Sevda said, “People told my husband to stop me. They said they would beat us and drive us away from our home if he failed. ‘We are Muslims and will not allow you to turn us into Christians,’ they said. In fear, my husband started to abuse me; he beat me.
A Turning Point
But God is faithful and He never abandons His work.
“One night my husband had a dream. He was heavily wounded, there was blood all over him and I carried him in my arms to the hospital. At the entrance of the hospital, he saw an angel who touched his body and all the pain and blood disappeared.”
“He woke up in his bed, and in the doorway, he saw a dazzling angel – enormous and shining so strongly that he couldn’t look at him. The angel told him, ‘If you don’t allow Sevda to work for Me, I will paralyse you.’
That was the turning point – my husband immediately woke me up and started hugging me explaining all that had happened, ‘Sevda, I will not stop you anymore. You can do whatever you want.’
“Until the end of his life, he kept his promise and even allowed the church to gather in our home for a couple of years when we had no other place to meet.”
Stand With The Church This Easter
Today about 90 people gather at this church - both young and old. Since our partnership began with Sevda’s church in 2012, they have been equipped to grow their ministry and reach many vulnerable people in their community through the Soup Kitchen program. Others have been enrolled in MWB’s Family Sponsorship program.
Together we are outpouring tangible and transformative support through the resources and kindness given by you, our incredible supporters.
Your financial gift and your chosen bible verse will reach churches and pastors like Sedva who are building the church in hostile and difficult communities. Empowering them to provide support to vulnerable people all while sharing the Hope of Jesus.
It is your support that allows stories like Sedva's to be heard and to create the opportunity to continue transforming the lives of those around them.