My youngest daughter’s Godmother was raised in the Middle East in a Muslim home. She would witness here mother getting beaten by her father with the birth of each of her Sisters. He wanted a boy and blamed her mother for not giving him one. Eventually her brother was born.
One time she herself was struck by her father for questioning the Quran. She was a teenager at this time.
She was eventually arranged to a Muslim man who was also abusive! If she put too much salt on his food, she would be beaten. If she put too little salt on his food, she would be beaten. One day she fought back, which resulted in him beating her worse. Losing the will to live, she eventually tried to take her own life (which makes me really sad, because if you knew her now, she is so full of life, love & joy).
While in the hospital after downing a bottle of pills, she had a vision of a man with a beard and blue eyes (she associated blue eyes with compassion, because her mother had blue eyes, which is more rare in her Country). This man was reaching out to her to pull her from flames, which she described as very painful. The man in this vision told her that she would be free.
After being released from the hospital, a friend of hers helped her go to the Immigration Center. The line was hours long. By the time she got close to the window, everyone left was instructed to come back tomorrow, because they were closed for the day.
Going back to her husband was not an option and going home to her father (who was very upset with her for bringing shame upon the family) was also not an option. She ended up sleeping on a bench. The next day she got in line and the women at the window recognized her from the previous day and smiled, “You’re going to America!” She was so happy, but could tell no one. Her father would be furious! She did go home to her family to see them one last time. That night she hugged her brother and just sobbed, one, because she might not see him again and, two, because, she thought about how he will probably grow up to be like most of the other men in her culture.
She ended up stealing her husband’s dowry and got on a plane to Russia, from Russia to New York, and from New York to a small vacation town in the United States, where she would work, knowing only two words in English, “Yes sir” and “no sir.”
The owners of the hotel took her in as their own. he refers to them as her “mother” and “father” now. While cleaning her “Grandmother’s” room she noticed the elderly woman praying her Rosary. They would talk a lot and one day Dilia asked “Grandma” where they go on Sundays. She said that they go to Church and asked if she would like to go. She did indeed! Before she met “Grandma,” no one had told her about Jesus.
When they entered the Church, she noticed the man on the Cross. She turned to “Grandma” and said, that’s the man from my vision! Grandma just smiled, because she knew that is who had rescued Dilia.
Dilia has been paying back the dowry she took (I don’t know that I would have). She was recently engaged and Married a guy that she met while in College, which she recently graduated. A local businessman from our Church offered to pay for much of her schooling, which she is beyond grateful and gives glory to God.
Dilia does miss her Mother and her siblings. When she first landed in Russia or New York, she did call her Mom to let her know that she is in a safe place and not to worry, but she could not tell her where she was going, out of fear that her Mother would be beaten.
When she was in college she had a woke teacher who kept talking about a “war on women” in the United States. Dilia was like, Let me tell you my story about being a woman in the culture that I grew up in : )
Dilia is one of the most joy-filled people I’ve ever met. Her English has gotten really good. She is now a great elementary school teacher, wife, and mother to a beautiful baby girl. She loves Jesus and is thankful to Him for making her truly free. She once went sky-diving and on the palm of her hand she had written, “I Jesus!” This is the kind of free-spirit that she has become, trusting in Him.
I just visited with her this past weekend to celebrate Christmas and she told me that she got to speak with her Mom and Sisters recently on the phone and this made her so happy. Keep her in your Prayers. I believe she is still seeking asylum. I wrote a letter to the immigration judge about a year ago, sharing with him what an amazing person she is and how any community would benefit to have her as their teacher, neighbor, and friend. Her trial was postponed for a second time, giving her an extension on her visa. If a new trial has not already taken place, I Pray that God will do whatever He knows is best for Dilia and her Family.