Persecution by Poisoning: Uganda’s Victims of Faith
By Nathan Johnson
01/04/2018 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – Ayub Maate was a Muslim before he converted to Christianity. He practiced his faith daily, even sounding the trumpet three times a day, which would call fellow Muslims to prayer. However, in 2011, his mother heard the Good News and believed in Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior. His father, who is a sheikh in Bundibugyo, was furious with his wife and children for converting to Christianity.
“When my mother received Christ, she witnessed to us [her children] and we all believed in Jesus Christ and converted to Christianity,” said Ayub. “Dad was not happy with us. He started mistreating my mom. His attitude towards us changed and he eventually burnt my mom’s business and our clothes and chased us away. We had no other alternative apart from moving from Bundibugyo to Kasese town where we lived in the streets. We had nothing to eat and nowhere to sleep.”
Rev. Johnckson Murabyo, who helps converts from Islam, heard about Ayub and his family and took them into his home. “He took us to his home and taught us on Christian living and Muslim evangelism. He took us to Church and we felt really loved. [I then realized] Islam was bondage,” Ayub acknowledged.
When Ayub’s father discovered that his family was in Kasese and a church was hosting them, he sent a letter disowning them. Ayub remembered the letter. “It said in part, ‘If my wife dies, let her be buried like a dog for she is a Murtad Fitri. She is no longer my wife. Let my children be stoned to death too. According to Islam, they are all Murtad Fitri and should be killed by stoning.’”
The family grew in faith and started reaching out to other Muslims in Kasese, a move that irritated Ayub’s father even more. “When my father learned about this, he conspired with local Muslims to kill my mother. One day while she was in Kasese for some casual work, she took tea from a local hotel, not knowing it had poison. She died before getting to the hospital. We were devastated. We lost hope, but we never thought of converting back to Islam.”
“We were devastated. We lost hope, but we never thought of converting back to Islam.”
While speaking with International Christian Concern (ICC), Rev. Johnckson of the Anglican Church of Uganda said, “The burden of raising Ayub and his five siblings was very heavy. I had to enlist the help of four Christian families where the children were taken care of.”
Ayub admitted, “The families helped us to know Christ more and our faith in God was being rekindled further. We also got well-wishers who paid our school fees to go back to school after dropping from studies for a year. I have now finished university and I am looking for employment. Some of my siblings are still in school.”
Ayub is now a bold ambassador of Christ to his Muslim friends and he does not shy from spreading the Good News. He shared, “Since I know what Muslims teach, I am in a good position to reach out to them without much hassle. I always receive threats, but I am careful and prayerful. If I ever get killed for being a Christian and an evangelist to the Muslims, then so be it.”
His desire is to see the light of Christ shining in his family, his father, and the people who poisoned his mother, whom he has forgiven. “I thank God for saving my family. I know my mother is in a good place. I hope to see her at the end of the earth. I have forgiven the person who put poison in my mom’s tea and I always pray for salvation for those who were involved in killing my mom. May God save my father whom I have not seen since 2011.”
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