HALIMA STORY"Those who once beat me are now my friends."
In the summer of 2018, I drove a few hundred miles through the desert of Kenya to a small village. My team and I arrived at what felt like the middle of nowhere. Chickens, goats, and children quickly surrounded us in curiosity. We were among the Waata tribe of northern Kenya, a remote area with deeply Islamic people.
We had come to meet a Christian named Halima whose reputation as a missionary among her own people had reached our ears. We were ushered into her dimly lit hut and served chapatti (bread) and hot tea and then we heard her story.
Halima’s father was a hunter and, at the young age of 8, her job was to take the meat and sell it at the nearest village market.
One Sunday she heard people singing in a church. She was so moved by the worship that, instead of selling the meat, she entered the church. Once the service was over, she sold all the meat to the congregants. They were all so welcoming and loving that she returned Sunday after Sunday.
One night Halima had a dream. In her dream, Jesus held a Bible open in front of her. She asked him, “How do I get to you, Jesus?” Jesus replied in the dream, “Leave all you know and follow me.” That night, she put her faith in Jesus as her Savior, but she kept it a secret for fear of her family.
At that time she was promised in marriage to a much older man and soon she would be forced to go and live with his family. Thus, she decided to run away to the church where she had found love and acceptance.
However, upon hearing her circumstances and fearing the retribution of the community, the pastor would not allow her to stay. Alone and scared of what may happen if she returned home, Halima went and lived in the bush for a week, even sleeping in a tree to avoid the wild animals that roamed the territory.
Halima wept and cried out to God, “You called me! Where are you now?” In response to her prayer, she felt led to return to her father’s house.
When she arrived, her father bound her hands and feet with rope and locked her in a room to keep her from running away again. After an agonizing week of weeping and no food, she prayed again:
“God you have called me; open this door and get me out of this house.” At that moment her ropes were loosened and when she went to the door, it opened for her.
This was the first of many miracles and trials Halima experienced. It strengthened her faith to know that God heard her cries. In God’s providence, she did not have to marry the older man, and she eventually met a church leader in the region who invited her to participate in Live School. She leaped at the opportunity to learn more about the God who loved her so deeply and answered her prayers.
“In Live School I learned that Christ saved me because he loves me. Isaiah 43:1-5 says that I am precious and chosen by God. In spite of everything in my childhood, God called me,” Halima said. “In fact, God used the difficulties of my childhood to equip me for his purposes.”
Live School not only taught her the love of God but also ignited her to share his love with all around her. Through Live School, Halima began memorizing Scripture and Bible stories and was equipped to travel to remote Waata villages and share the gospel in culturally understandable ways. Through her witness, many Waata men, women, and children have put their faith in Jesus.
However, being a witness has been extremely difficult. Halima faced much rejection to her message. She has been beaten by community leaders, sometimes severely and near the point of death.
“The Islamic Waata say Christians are ungodly people, and they don’t like the Christians,” said Halima. “They don’t want to hear about Christ, only their prophet Mohammed. They don’t want change.”
“However, God’s love gives me a love for my people that sustains me,” Halima explained. “Live School encouraged me and gave me the courage and strength to face and endure the persecution of my Islamic community.”
As a result of her persistence and unwavering faith, Halima’s love has opened up hard hearts. She is now accepted and invited into homes and village communities and is even protected by many Waata leaders.
“Those who once beat me are now my friends,” Halima said.
There are hundreds of believers like Halima who live in unreached tribes, peoples groups, and nations who are waiting and ready to be equipped as missionaries who know God and desire to actively make him known.
Your gifts to World Mission Centre enable us to go to remote places all over the world to train believers and release them to reach their own people in ways that you and I could never do. We believe that all Christians have a call on their lives to fulfill the Great Commission through making disciples, praying for the lost, and giving to God’s missional work around the world.
Would you consider partnering with us to disciple more fruitful church planters and missionaries like Halima? Right now we are working in 112 countries, in 13 languages, training thousands of indigenous believers. But we want to train more! And, we must train more to reach all those who have yet to hear the good news of Jesus Christ.
Until all have heard,