Sacrificing Income for Jesus

Woman in the Middle East stops selling cigarettes

May 25, 2020

Maryem with her Bible-based Literacy materials.

Maryem, a 38-year-old wife and business owner in the Middle East, found herself in a difficult situation.

She and her husband own a small retail shop where they sell groceries and cigarettes. Maryem attends church weekly, but one day something significant happened. “It was different than any other time because God called my heart,” she says. “There and then I prayed and accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior. I decided to stop selling cigarettes in my store.”

When she told her husband about her decision, he refused. Cigarettes were their best seller and the primary means of their income. “There was an inner struggle inside me on what to do,” she says.

Maryem joined a Project Philip Bible study at her church, and with each meeting, she prayed about the struggles with her husband.

“Each time I attended the meeting, I felt that my life was changing,” she says. “When we prayed together, I felt comfort and peace.” She began to realize that her decision to stop selling cigarettes was the right one, so she stopped selling them even though her husband disagrees.

She also realized that her illiteracy was hindering her from studying the Word of God. “When the Project Philip Bible study leader announced that a Bible-based Literacy group was starting in the church, I was very happy and didn’t hesitate to join,” she says. “We have already finished the first 17 lessons, and I feel that God has heard my prayers and has taken me out of darkness to His light.”

A sample of Maryem's writing.

In the past few days, her assignment was to write 1 and 2 Corinthians to help her remember the verses. She was able to write seven chapters, which was a huge challenge for her, but praise God she finished! She asks that we pray for her son who is serving in the military and for her husband, that they would both accept Jesus into their hearts. Also, pray for Maryem and her family's livelihood since they have stopped selling cigarettes. Pray that God would bless them through her obedience.

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