In May of 1992 I accepted Jesus Christ into my heart. When I repented I had two sons (one 12, another 11). My husband wanted to divorce me, because we were muslims. He used to say that he doesn’t need a Christian wife. Amongst Muslims, divorce is considered a shame for a woman. That is why before I became a Christian, by all means, I tried to keep our marriage. But despite everything his character was horrible. He had been an orphan since his childhood. His relatives were abusing him. He had a very bad nervous system. Because of that it was very difficult to live with him.
When I repented, the woman that brought me to Jesus said, "God will help you." And, I believed her. She and I prayed for my husband, and after 5 years my husband repented. Later he had admitted to me that he wanted to kill me because I became a Christian. So after my husband had repented my marriage started becoming better. Then we had another son. Now I have the best husband ever. Three wonderful sons, two amazing daughters-in-law, and three sweet grandchildren. Because of Jesus, my family is saved. I have the best family ever! I thank you for this conference. I got here without any problems. I needed God’s fire and I received it.
G. - from the UK - an Arise ministry team member
It was with a real sense of anticipation that I waved my husband off at the airport and to the 'Arise' Women's Conference. It was lovely to be coming for a second time, to feel less apprehensive about knowing no one, and more aware of what I was coming to. The hotel, literally on the sea shore, gave us the most beautifully peaceful and sunny setting, and as our 130 women were almost the only guests we felt as if the place was truly ours.
I know of no other conference that is so bathed, soaked, flooded and immersed in prayer as this one is. It is a conference that is all about God and the immensity of his love for women; women from Central Asia who, young and old alike, have been brutally wounded by their life experiences. It is heart-rending to hear their stories; to hear of husbands and fathers who kick and punch and beat them, who burn and cut and rape them, who scream profanities and abuse at them, and encourage their sons to do the same. To listen as they tell of intimidation, of children hiding under shelves and in cupboards, and of waking in the night to find yourself in bed with a man your husband has 'sold' you to, to pay his gambling debt. It is heart breaking that some of these men are pastors!
These are women for whom the idea of God as Father and Husband and Brother holds little joy or promise of comfort. There are simply no words I know that can adequately describe what it's like to see God reveal himself to their hearts as the one who loves them with a perfect, pure, blazing love and who treasures them beyond their wildest dreams.
One woman had tried to burn herself to death. She was visibly disfigured, and on the first day it was hard to see her hanging back and sitting alone. Each time I saw her, I gave her a beaming smile and said, 'Hello' in Russian and Tajik ( I am quite the linguist!), and on the third morning, when I went down for breakfast she saw me coming. A look of recognition spread over her face - a look that said, This is my long lost sister - and she literally jumped out of her seat, ran to me and embraced me in a hug that almost took my breath away! And all I had done was smile...Truly, she was a woman whose heart had been touched by God's love in a remarkable way.
So all 130 of us laughed and cried, we hugged and danced, we played and sang and worshipped with increasingly full and free hearts. As the women gave their testimonies on the final evening they spoke of their determination to take what God has said to them and share it with their sisters in their home countries. They are AMAZING women! I am humbled and awed by their love for Jesus and their unflinching determination to be true to Him, and to serve Him no matter what it costs.
Please pray for them as they return home; that the knowledge of who they truly are in Christ will not leave them, and that they will continue to experience, despite the circumstances of their lives, the joy that is their constant companion.
I ask if you or your church would prayerfully consider sponsoring a woman (or 10!) to come to next year's conference. My Tajik friend, abused for 2 decades by her pastor-husband, and divorced last year as he left her for another woman, earns $130 a month as a teacher - it doesn't even pay her rent. She begged me to help her to come again next year. But there were many, many women who wanted to come this year for whom there were simply not enough funds. It is exceedingly difficult to turn them away.... Please pray!