Print this Page

ideologies + wars + persecutions

While some were speaking of the temple, how it was adorned with noble stones and offerings, he [Jesus of Nazareth c. 30 AD] said … “See that you are not led astray. For [ideologies+] many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he!’ and, ‘The time is at hand!’ Do not go after them. And [+wars+] when you hear of wars and tumults, do not be terrified, for these things must first take place, but the end will not be at once.” Then he said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences. There will be terrors and great signs from heaven. But before all this [+persecutions] they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name’s sake. This will be your opportunity to bear witness. Settle it therefore in your minds not to meditate beforehand how to answer, for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict. You will be delivered up even by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends. Some of you they will put to death. You will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance you will gain your lives.” Luke 21: 5-19
On 8 January 2014, Angela was at home with her three young children in Aleppo, Syria, when she received a phone call. It was from Islamic State (IS) calling to tell her that they had beheaded her husband, Minas, and her father-in-law.

The two men had gone out to work one hot summer’s day in 2013 and had never come home. It was a fortnight before she got an earlier call telling her that IS had kidnapped them from the ice-making factory on the Aleppo airport road where they worked. The caller was very frightened. He himself had been held captive by IS alongside Angela’s husband and father-in-law, but had been released after a ransom was paid. Although a Muslim, he had felt a bond with his Christian fellow-prisoners, and agreed to smuggle out Angela’s phone number and contact her to tell her where her loved ones were.


‘Never expect to find this world anything better than a wilderness.’ (Jonathan Edwards, preacher and missionary, 1703-1758)
Angela learned that a Muslim worker at the factory had betrayed the owners, telling IS that there was a Christian factory in operation. IS fighters came to the factory and seized Minas. The shock was even greater because Minas and his father had always cared for this particular worker, buying him clothes every year and treating him like a son. When his father arrived later and saw what had happened, he begged IS to take him instead of his son. IS took them both.

The caller also told Angela it would be no use offering a ransom for her relatives. “IS don’t need your money,” he said. “They want something else – a penalty.” Two months passed before IS themselves began to phone Angela, threatening that they knew where she lived and where her children went to school. A neighbour living in the flat below Angela’s was “one of us”, they said, and was reporting every movement to IS.

Then came the call to say that her loved ones had been beheaded and telling her to collect the bodies. A DVD of the be-headings was delivered to her. Shortly after IS told her that they had given Minas a Muslim burial. 

In February 2014 Angela joined the Widows of War programme in Aleppo. Set up by a Christian doctor and his wife this now – at the present time - helps 92 young Christian widows and their 186 children. When she joined, Angela had been raging against God, asking why He had let this happen to her godly husband, who was so faithful in prayer, and to her father-in-law, who read his Bible every day despite failing eyesight.

The spiritual ministry of this programme in Aleppo gave her a fresh perspective as well as practical help. “I got peace in my heart,” she recalls. “I realized it was not a punishment but the love of God to keep me and my children in this situation.”

But IS did not leave her alone. “Your husband was buried as a Muslim,” they said, “therefore he is now a Muslim, and therefore you belong to us.” 


‘Persecution is the legacy bequeathed by Christ to his people.’ (Thomas Watson, preacher and writer, 1620-1686)
Eventually, Angela and her children fled to Armenia, where they now live in safety. “Previously I had a gloomy future,” she says. “Now I have trust and faith that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ is with me. My future and my kids’ future are 100% in His hands.” [From Barnabasaid magazine January/ February 2017] 

“By your endurance you will gain your lives.”

Sinner Syvret

Email this newsletter to a friend
*All mandatory fields must be filled in

Friend`s name
Friend`s email address *
Your name
Your email address *

Send comment
*All mandatory fields must be filled in

Your name *
Your email address *
Your comment *