When 12-year-old Bristy went to school she was mocked. Teased. Even spat on. And all because she was a Christian.
“They did not want to sit with me because I am a Christian,” she recalls. “Life at school was hard. I was very frustrated, upset every day.”
Her parents had converted to Christianity from Islam. In Bangladesh, like so many places around the world, that meant a life of persecution.
“I just knew my parents are Christians. It is because of that, people mistreated me and my brothers,” she says. “People hated us; they persecuted my parents. My father was beaten up several times. We had to flee from the village, with no place to go. We passed many nights without sleeping, without food. We did not have shelter; we did not have money. We were moving from one place to another.”
No home. No safety. No friends to play with and no one to share their sadness. In such circumstances, it’s hard to raise children to be strong in their faith.
Things have changed for Bristy.
In partnership with local churches, Open Doors supports foster care centres so that children like Bristy can be cared for, sheltered from persecution, given a proper education and helped to grow up strong in their faith in Christ.
Bristy now stays in one of these centres. She says, “I have a wonderful life now. Every day I study, work, play, go to school, do worship and prayer, eat together with many friends. I am very thankful to those supporters who are praying for us. I always pray for their safety and progress.
“Nobody mistreats me, nobody mocks me, but everybody loves me. If I did not come to this home, I would never have such a nice life. My life would be full of suffering and hardship. I would not know much about Jesus Christ either.”
And she has dreams for the future. “Now I know He has a plan for me,” she says. “I found my dream, I want to become a doctor in the future.”