Open Doors, 8 April 2021
Naida doesn’t celebrate Ramadan in the same way anymore. As a Christian from a Muslim background in Central Asia, she knew that leaving the practices of Islam behind would expose her to exclusion and discrimination from angry relatives and friends.
Naida, now in her 70s, came to know Jesus through her children. When they first became Christians in the ‘90s, Naida was angry and upset: “I was so worried for their safety because we had a lot of relatives and they were all Muslims. I thought my daughter and sons could be beaten or even killed by their Muslim father and uncles.”
Naida came to know the Lord herself when God healed her after a period of ill-health. Her children prayed with her, and that’s when she chose to invite Jesus into her life. “Since then, my life has completely changed,” she says.
For several years after becoming a Christian, Naida didn’t celebrate Ramadan – a festival which used to mean so much to her when she would visit neighbours and relatives, cook many traditional dishes and host a lot of guests in her house during Ramadan.
When she stopped celebrating Ramadan, her relatives were angry. They stopped inviting her to their homes and wouldn’t come to her house. She was upset and worried. It was important for her to reach her Muslim sisters and brothers, cousins and other relatives with God’s love.
After a lot of prayer, study and advice from her pastor, Naida decided to celebrate Ramadan in a completely new way. Naida cooks different traditional dishes and invites her Muslim sisters, brothers, cousins and neighbours. In this way, she shows them her respect for their religious traditions and values, and at the same time she is able to share the gospel. She has found these celebrations really fruitful and an effective way to reach her Muslim friends and family – while remaining true to her faith and to Jesus.