Shakeela Bibi smiled to herself as she took a pan out of the oven. Yesterday she and her husband had attended the small Presbyterian church near their home. The message had been such an encouragement to her, that she had decided to go the Monday afternoon Bible study—and she had made bread for the occasion.
Setting the bread on the counter, Shakeela took a deep breath, savoring the aroma of the hot loaf. If the bread tasted half as good as it smelled, then the others at the Bible study would certainly enjoy it.
As Shakeela wrapped the loaf in a clean cloth, she heard people shouting and the repeated sound of wood hitting another object. She thought little of it—the local boys would often use bamboo rods to play cricket and the games could get quite competitive.
Stepping out the front door Shakeela squinted in the bright sunlight and looked around to see where the boys were playing. The sight in front of her did not look like a cricket game. As her eyes adjusted to the light, Shakeela realized that there was a group of men with gun and clubs were moving towards the church.
Recognizing where the men were headed and what they must be intending to do, Shakeela dropped her bread and started sprinting towards the church—someone had to warn the believers inside!
When the group of men saw the woman running towards the church, they quickened their pace and began hurling insults at her. Hearing the commotion outside, some of the Christians in the church stepped outside—that was when the first gun shot was fired upwards and the cross at the top of the church came crashing down.
In panic, Shakeela realized that she would not make it inside of the church before the mob reached her, and froze. For a brief second, the world around her also seemed to freeze. To her left Shakeela saw looks of pure hatred on the faces of the approaching men, their weapons raised in malice. The faces of the Christians behind her were painted with shock and fear.
A blow to her shoulder brought Shakeela back to the present. She fell to the ground as a second bamboo club slammed into her back. Rolling over, she tried to put up her hands to shield her face, but the next blow hit her arm so hard that she heard a cracking sound and an immeasurable amount of pain came shooting up her arm. Without even her hands to protect her face, she was at the mercy of the man standing over her.
But no mercy was extended.
Over and over the man beat her head and face. With each blow the world became darker. Each time the bamboo hit her, the pain became greater. The taste of blood filled her mouth, stars exploded before her eyes, and screams echoed in her ears.
Then in a moment it all stopped.
An hour later, a man knelt on the ground next to a body. With gentle hands, he wrapped the lifeless form of his wife in a clean cloth, and quietly carried her away, tears streaming down his face.
Please remember Shakeela Bibi, a brave Chistian martyr, and her family in your prayers.
Accross the Muslim world, converting to Christianity from Islam requires real courage. Isolated, shunned and sometimes killed for abandoning their Muslim faith, Christians live with a great need for the support of Bibles, training in leadership, and lasting community development. You can send light to dark places in the Muslim World.