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“They told us to deny Jesus and become Muslims. My mother and I were about to die.”

06/14/2023 DRC (International Christian Concern)In 2021, at just 17 years old, Mary was kidnapped along with her mother and father while tending to her farm in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). For three days she was held hostage by her captors, the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), an ISIS-affiliated terrorist group that for years has staged attacks on Christians in Eastern DRC. Here is Mary’s story in her own words: 

When I was seventeen years, my mother and I we have been kidnapped by the ADF rebels when we were in our field as our life depend on farming. We were taken to the forest far from our home. We spent three days in the forest with those rebels.  

They abused my mother and me for three days successively. They told us to deny Jesus and become Muslims. My mother and I–we were about to die. With wounds and fatigue, we were crying and weeping. With weakness in our bodies, we couldn’t walk with them in the forest.  

They decided to shoot us, but their chief said to tie us to different trees. They left us tied up in trees in the forest. Without food or water to drink, we faced the fear of the forest animals which could devour us.  

By the grace of God, my mother was able to untie herself, and then she untied me. We couldn’t walk easily because of the pain from the gunshot wounds. We spent two days until we reached a refugee camp. Since then, my grandfather has taken us in. It is not easy. This life has its realities, but God is God. My prayer is that one day, God would bring back my daddy –I don’t know if he died or if he is still alive, but God knows. 

Sadly, Mary’s story is common among adolescents in the DRD. Not only have thousands of Christian youths had their family’s taken from them, but they have also had their homelands destroyed, including their source of income that helped fund their education. If they survive, most live as refugees in towns foreign to them and are forced to beg for unwanted jobs for income. 

For Mary, while her life was changed forever, her goals grew stronger, and she prayed for the ability to pursue a medical degree. Her dream? To provide medical care to young girls and women who face sexual abuse at the hands of the ADF. 

Thankfully, ICC heard Mary’s story, and she was enrolled in our Generation Transformation program. For the last two years, ICC has fully funded her education and will continue to do so until she reaches her career goals. 

“I am expressing my genuine gratitude and sincere thanks to ICC for sponsoring my studies–buying clothes, shoes, blankets, and food for me for my first year. It was a miracle for me because I couldn’t be as I am according to my background. I have chosen medicine to make a real difference in people’s lives by helping to alleviate pain and suffering as I have experienced. Medicine is a respected profession; it has become my career. May God be with you members of ICC and bless you forever and forever,” said Mary.  

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