Elida’s parents kept her locked up at home until she was 18. The reason they gave was that they wanted to protect her against boys. Many staunch Islamic parents do things like this in Albania. It’s also common for parents to marry off their daughters to husbands they don’t even know. It happened to Elida.
“Given the rules of our religion, I couldn’t refuse the marriage,” Elida explains. “They thought he was the right man for me, period.” All too soon, Elida experienced how wrong her parents had been. “My husband had problems with alcohol and gambling, and when he’d lose money, he’d come home and beat me up,” she recalls.
Even her husband’s aggression found justification in Islamic law, which allows a man to beat his wife. Elida’s pregnancy didn’t change the situation. Her husband kept mistreating her. “I went through hell while I was with that man,” she reveals with horror.
Two years ago, when the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, Elida and her family were without food because no one could leave the house. Her Christian neighbor advised her to call a nearby church that had obtained special permission to go out and do relief work. “I hesitated,” Elida admits. “I thought no one loved me, not even God.” However, when the situation became too tight, she finally called the church. “They answered immediately and said they would come to bring food,” she remembers.
Elida was deeply impressed by the care the pastor and his co-workers showed, as they came weekly to supply meals. But there was more. “They also talked to me about the love of God,” Elida continues. “We studied a booklet from Bible League titled Who is God?, and I understood that sin separated me from God. I decided to give my heart to Jesus.”
When the pastor prayed with Elida, a heavy burden lifted from her soul. “For the first time in my life, I experienced love—the love of God!” she beams.
Now 24, Elida lives with her daughter, separate from her husband. She still faces opposition from her family. “They say I have betrayed their faith,” she points out, “but I pray they will one day understand the Truth.
“Thank you so much for the Bible,” Elida concludes. “It brought me out of my misery into the light of Christ!”