by an Alliance worker serving in the Middle East
“It was the best day I’ve had in my 20 years of life,” Laura* told me. That was her response when I asked if she was enjoying time with my family decorating our Christmas tree.
That day we also read the Christmas story together and played some games—a fun tradition in my family but a first-time experience for Laura. This is her first Christmas as a believer.
“A few months ago I was ready to give up on life,” Laura continued. “I figured I would wait until I raised my youngest sibling, and then I wouldn’t need to live anymore.”
As a child, Laura spent days often locked in a room protecting her younger siblings from their father’s rages. Although her family appears outwardly devout to the majority religion, inside the home, her dad, a well-known community leader, is abusive.
Many in the family have spent time in the hospital more than once, victims of his physical violence.
Because of her father’s behavior, Laura didn’t want anything to do with his religion. But she also didn’t know where to find peace.
She remembers as a kid asking her father about Jesus when she heard His name read in their holy book.
“Don’t ask about Him,” he always replied. But this only increased Laura’s curiosity.
God was faithful to open a number of doors for Laura to finally meet our family and receive her first New Testament. She read it twice in one month and returned to ask us, “What now?”
We told Laura about the peace and joy found in a relationship with Christ.
“Since I’ve found Jesus, my life has completely changed—I know God has a plan for my life,” Laura now says. This knowledge sustains her amidst the daily struggles of remaining in her violence-filled home.
Laura is thrilled to be celebrating her first Christmas. She asks for prayer that her father will allow her to join our family festivities on Christmas Day.
Read The True Meaning of Christmas, another story of someone celebrating her first Christmas as a believer.