His heart pounds as he presses his two young daughters tightly to his chest and
darts into the freezing rain. His wife follows close behind, quietly making her
way through the darkness to the taxi idling outside the family’s home. Faruq and
Jamilah* aren’t safe here anymore; police have finally tracked them down. Faruq
knows they will soon come to arrest him.
The girls are in tears, frightened and shivering after being startled from a deep,
warm sleep. Why are they leaving in the middle of the night, and in this weather,
the driver asks, explaining that the taxi’s heater is broken. Faruq offers a flimsy
excuse and tells him to drive, warming the girls’ tiny feet with his hands as the
taxi speeds away.
This isn’t the first time Faruq has been forced to disappear, but it is for the
same reason — his decision to follow Christ.
At 18, he abandoned the Muslim tradition of his parents in search of what he calls
the “real God.” But for many Christians in Central Asia whose belief in Jesus is
born out of the ashes of a past Islamic faith, Christ’s “free gift” of salvation
comes at a high price.
Faruq’s own nightmare began not long ago. As he prayed alone late one night while
his wife and daughters slept, more than a dozen policemen slipped silently over
the walls surrounding the family’s compound. Within moments they were inside the
house. Faruq and Jamilah watched in horror as police ransacked their living room,
confiscating Bibles, Christian books, literature and videos as well as other Gospel
materials. But they didn’t stop there.
The raid was part of a coordinated sting on several suspected Christians; Faruq
knew immediately who sold him out. Earlier that evening, he had discipled a small
group of believers at his home. One brought a new friend who turned out to be a
Rounds of interrogation began as soon as Faruq arrived at police headquarters.
Why did he become a Christian? Was someone paying him to convert Muslims? Was
he paid to convert?
The police didn’t like his answers.
“I told them my testimony,” Faruq recounts. “I said, ‘There’s no money.’… Finally
one of these people who were investigating me got very frustrated. He was saying,
‘Why don’t you tell us [the truth]?’ I said, ‘… the Holy Spirit is changing people,
(Graham, “Knowing the ‘real God’ has come at a price,” Baptist Press, March 14,