South Asia

Miriam: A Woman of Courage

The older I become, the more I realize how relentless God is in His pursuit of us; how much He loves us; and the extraordinary circumstances He orchestrates so that we may know Him.  Such was the case for a young Muslim girl named Miriam.  Here is just a segment of the marvelous journey from devout Muslim to a woman fearlessly waging battle in dangerous places all for the cause of Christ.

     By Deborah Bundy-Carpenter

Before she was even ten years old, Miriam had proven herself as a devout Muslim by memorizing the entire Koran.  She wanted to learn all she could about God and so she became a strict follower of the rules of the Muslim religion.  However, as a young teen of only fifteen she was sexually violated with the result being a pregnancy.  Pregnant with no husband constituted a horrible sin in the Muslim world, with dire consequences.  As a result of this “sin” Miriam was publicly given 100 lashes in the town square and sentenced to two years in prison.

The combination of prison life and suffering from malaria took its toll on Miriam’s health.  She prematurely went into labor at 7 months into the pregnancy.  She passed out in her cell and awoke in the hospital.  Here, in Miriam’s own words is what happened next:

“My premature baby girl was not expected to live. Because of her condition I was put under house arrest for two months.

Next to our home was a rented house and during this time a man named Dan lived there. Afternoon tea is a community affair in my country and one always invites his neighbors to attend. Dan came to tea and we spoke English together.

When I returned to prison, Dan sent me a package. All mail was inspected and given a prison stamp, but somehow this package had been unopened. Inside I found a Bible. I stole matches from the cafeteria intending to burn it, but I felt a need to read it first. I hid in the bushes and the pages opened to, “I saw your unformed body in your mother’s womb, and I knew the very first day of your life before that day was . . .”

Nine months later I had a dream. I was in the dark, but in the distance was a bright light. I began walking toward the brightness until I came to a radiant narrow door. I had to choose the darkness or enter through the door. I chose the door. What light! I then felt a hand on my head and a voice said, “From this day onwards I will be with you, and I will never leave you.” I was released from prison, but two years later I was imprisoned again for my faith. After international intervention I was given asylum in Europe.

I lost my nationality, my family and have suffered, but knowing the love of Jesus, my Savior is worth it all! Also, my daughter  is now grown and perfectly normal!”

Today Miriam reaches out to her people and all nationalities with the love of Christ.  She currently serves in South Asia to the largest concentration of her countrymen outside their native country.  She is translating the Bible into her native language, writing and broadcasting radio programs, opening her home to travelers from far and wide who come to South Asia for medical care, conducting Bible studies in her home, and many other services for her people.

Miriam’s passion is to return to her people and establish a group who can worship together in their own language.  Miriam is a modern day Esther, recognizing the need and bringing salvation to her people regardless of the personal cost.  Until All Hear………….

Deborah Bundy-Carpenter is a member of the International Women’s Ministry team.


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