By the time Lukia Khalid, mother of three and nearly seven months pregnant, was baptized on March 30, her Muslim husband had already forced her out of their home in western Tanzania for becoming a Christian.
That was a week after the 38-year-old Khalid and her husband, Kassim Khalid, received a visit to their home from an evangelist (name withheld) who told them about eternal life and the remission of sin for those who put their trust in the death and resurrection of Christ. On that day in Ujiji, near Kigoma, March 23, Khalid put her faith in Christ for salvation; her husband did not.
After the evangelist left, Khalid’s husband threatened to kill her if she did not recant her newfound faith, she said. She took the threat seriously.
“My husband asked me whether I had left Islam, to which I said ‘Yes,’” she said. “He threatened to kill me if I was to stay with him. I then decided to escape that night with my three children to a neighbor’s house.”
Jamila Khalid, 13, Mjibu Khalid, 6, and 3-year-old Madua Khalid followed their mother out the door.
“We left only with the clothes that we were wearing,” Khalid said. “The command was so urgent that we could not wait any longer. We had to leave immediately.”
Ujiji is a predominantly Muslim area in the otherwise Christian-majority country. With a population that is 34.2 percent Muslim, Tanzania is 54 percent Christian; most of the rest of religious adherents hold ethnic tribal beliefs, according to Operation World.
Muslim families in the Ujiji area tend to shun members who leave Islam. As antagonism toward those who leave Islam can be fierce, Khalid was baptized by a regional coordinator of the evangelist’s organization on a remote shore of Lake Tanganyika – far enough away from Ujiji to avert any hostile reactions.
“She is emotionally stable, but what is worrying her at the moment is meeting the basic needs, especially food and clothing,” the regional coordinator said. “Taking care of the children is a big burden to her. Three young children are wondering why they had to leave their home, especially now that they are out of school.”
No longer supported by her husband, Khalid does not have money for school fees and supplies, sources said.
“This new convert needs a lot of support and counseling,” the Christian organization’s country director said. “Her two children were schooling but now are out of school because of her inability to support them.”
Only the small team planning to plant a church in the area is providing assistance to her, with the evangelist who proclaimed Christ to her renting a house for her family; a heavy burden on him, as he has his own family to support.
Ujiji claims to have the largest Muslim population of any town in the Kigoma Region. The rented house for Khalid is located in Ujiji, 10 kilometers (six miles) from Kigoma, where she continues to live in spite of threats from Muslims.
In spite of her losses and the risks of proclaiming Christ, Khalid has continued to attest to the joy of knowing Jesus, sources said.
“She at the moment needs physical, educational, moral and spiritual support,” a source said. “We are appealing to our brothers and sisters to remember the family in prayers so that God may meet their needs.”
(Morning Star News)