Journey to Hope

TWR Canada President Ray Alary blogs each Thursday, telling behind-the-scenes stories and ministry updates you won't find anywhere else. Come back weekly to read the latest, or sign up to get Ray's blog delivered directly to your email inbox.

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  • May18Thu

    A Faith-Filled Father's Legacy (Part 3)

    May 18, 2017 by Ray Alary
    Filed Under:
    Central Asia, Testimonies
    I was seventeen when my father was murdered for his faith. I have always asked myself what it was about the Lord that made my father so eager to follow, and suffer, for Him? I wanted an answer to this question, so I decided to study Theology in the UK.

    Studying Theology, I found what my father had and knew that I would gladly suffer and endure hardships in a desert if God would be with me through it, so I returned home. I got married and instead of doing ministry alone (as I had planned), I serve the Lord with my husband. This is a great blessing.

    Soon after we were married, God blessed us with a special gift – our daughter. The doctors told us that our baby was dead, that she would be born dead, but we prayed. We cannot explain what happened, it was a living miracle, but God’s will is something different. Our daughter is now a vibrant young woman. She is a constant reminder for us that God has never left us.

    We led several cell groups and were evangelizing, all of which is against the law. During that time, the government went to the official churches and insisted leaders hand over all the names and personal details of those who attended. The church leaders refused and were consequently arrested. More intense persecution followed across the country.

    In light of this, my husband and I spoke about what we would do if the police discovered we were leading cell groups. Interrogators would insist we give up the names of those who attended. We decided we would prefer to be in prison than be the source of so much trouble and persecution for our church members and friends. We did not make this decision blindly.

    When our daughter was 5 years old, we were arrested. The police raided our home and found proof we were leading cell groups, evangelizing, and found Christian books and other resources. In addition to these charges, my husband was charged with apostasy. He had not been born into a Christian home as I was, he had converted from Islam, so the penalty was greater for him.

    Everything I had experienced as a child came rushing back. I knew how our arrest looked for our daughter, except she had lost both her parents not just her father. I told my daughter as they took us away to be strong in prayer every night.

    They put us in solitary confinement separately. Solitary confinement cells are very small spaces made with thick concrete and high walls. One night was especially difficult and the interrogator put a lot of pressure on me. I prayed that God would give me a sign, something so that I could understand I was obeying His will and was right where He needed me to be. Later that night, the guard brought me a radio tuned to a single station – a constant reading of the Qur’an.

    Over the years, I had listened to many TWR broadcasts on the radio and so I knew how to search the waves and frequencies to find different things. The walls made reception very weak, and I could not find anything but static. And then I heard a very familiar voice and words. It was a miracle! I had found the TWR broadcast that I had listened to for many years. The reception was poor, but I could make out the words. The radio was teaching from the story of Joseph in prison. It was a wonderful gift in that circumstance, and I was convinced that God was in control of everything in my life just as He was always present with Joseph in his confinement.

    I spent ten days in solitary confinement and then they changed interrogators. I remembered my father’s stories of being in a hotel. This was not a hotel. I experienced some of the things he endured during his 3 years in solitary confinement, but I had a secret gift the guards could not take from me. My father had given me a model of being thankful and seeking God’s wisdom and direction in every circumstance. Instead of focusing on my present situation, I learned to search out what God had to teach me through this experience.

    We were released after serving only two years of our four year sentences. Our sentence has been commuted, but we could be sent back to jail at any time. As Christians, we are considered pagans, unclean, so we cannot open a restaurant or coffee shop because we cannot touch food items, etc. Because the cases against us are open, we are not able to get government jobs, or get a permit to own a business, anything like that. It is very difficult.

    As I said before, being in jail is one thing. Living with the consequences of being in jail are another thing. We have had our passports taken several times. Our phones, where we go, who we talk to – everything is monitored and recorded and would be used to build a case against us. Whenever we are able to attend these conferences, there is a cloud over us because this could be the reason we lose our passports and our freedom to go abroad. When we visit people, there is always a risk that they will report us.

    We stay because we have not received any clear message or vision or call to leave the country. We are open to that, if He calls we will go, but we prefer to spend our life in a desert if that’s where God wants us to be. We take comfort in Revelation 6:9-11 where we are told the blood of the martyrs will be avenged. We stay because God has not called us out, but we take comfort in knowing that God sees all of what we endure. We are never alone.

    When your people remember us, please pray that God would show us what He wants us to do for Him. Pray for our daughter, for her future. Pray for the church leaders and those who serve in ministry in our country. Pray that God protects us from evil, and also pray for wisdom. As long as God’s hand is covering us, we believe that everything is under His control and nothing and no one can separate us from Him.

    Don't miss Part 1: Leaving Everything To Follow Jesus and Part 2: 9 Years in Prison

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