A crowd started to gather. The men were chanting in Arabic, “Allahu Akbar!” “Allahu Akbar!” And my father and I as I was holding his hand, we were pushed to the front of this crowd. In the center of this crowd was an Arabic woman dressed just like this. And she was tied up and she was sitting on a box. Next to her was an Arabic man and he did a traditional Islamic prayer on the floor. And he got up from the floor and from his side he pulled out this very long golden sword and he beheaded the woman. My legs are shaking and my heart is going fast. My father said, “If you don’t listen” “to the teachings” “we’re instilling in your life,” “this will happen to you one day.” “I will say to those called
‘Not my people’ 塑ou are my people’,
and they will say, 塑ou are my God.”
(Hosea 2:25) I was born and raised in a small country by the name of Kuwait, a community of 98% Muslim population. Two of my uncles are Imams and one is president of the mosque where I would hear the call to prayer five times a day. As a Muslim, the word “Yehudi” which means “Jew” was instilled in me as a bad word, as a cuss word. Jews should not exist. They should be killed. And I never thought to question why would I hate them? I never met Jewish people in my life. They never did anything to harm my family. I just hated them. Just the word brought hatred in my heart. It’s very important to learn the Quran and the Hadith and even memorize it in Arabic. I even entered a competition where you recite a long chapter in front of Islamic leaders and teachers And I came second place! I thought I did a good job but my father said, “No, that’s not good enough.” Most of my life for me it was alone, by myself. Broken person in need of love from my family, but I never received it from them. I tried to experience this love from Creator God, from Allah. In my prayer times I lifted up my hands and I cried out to Allah for help. Please have my father stop beating my mother. Please have my father stop beating me. But no help came. God is not a personable God to Muslims. God doesn’t say, “I love you”. Saddam Hussein’s forces came in the middle of the night and invaded the small country of Kuwait. And then they came to my city and they destroyed property and they looted people’s homes and they stole possessions and they killed the men and they raped the women. Then we were granted asylum status to stay in the US. My grandmother suddenly got very sick. She had a heart attack and she went to the hospital and two days later she passed away. I was devastated because I lost my best friend. And this lady approached me and asked me if I was okay, and I said “No Paula,” “my grandmother died.” And I just started to cry again. At that moment I was hurting so much only crying helped. Paula came to me and put her arms around me and she gave me a hug. Then she asked me a question, “Would you like to go to church with me?” When I walked into this church I experienced love from these people and acceptance from these people like I’ve never before. Fellowshipping together, there were men and women together, they didn’t have to be separate. No one was judging each other, and they knew I was Muslim. They were so friendly to me themselves accepting of me and loving of me, and that was really surprising to me. And for the first time in my life I heard a message from the Bible. I started reading the message about Jesus when he walked into the synagogue, he was given a scroll from prophet Isaiah, and he opened the scroll and he started reading that scripture: “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord” “is upon me” “because He is anointed me” “to preach the gospel to the poor.” “He has sent me to heal” “the broken hearted,” “and to proclaim liberty to the captive” “and freedom of sight to those” “who are bound, to proclaim” “the year of the Lord’s favor.” The first time I heard these words of freedom and healing and liberty… I’m desperate to be freed from bondage. I was held captive in Islam, and I wanted to be freed from that. I was blinded with so much hatred in my heart. The darkness broke from my eyes. The veil came off my heart. I knew the decision I was making to leave Islam is a big decision. By Sharia law, Islamic law, it’s the death penalty. But I’m desperate to know a living God. In that day I gave my life to becoming a follower of Jesus. This is the God of Israel, God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. And the nation of Israel is God’s heartbeat. And I said, “God forgive me!” “I did not know I hated your people.” I love the Jewish people because it’s their God, their Messiah that I’m following, and he told me to love them. I never knew what happened to the six million Jews that died. I never heard that in Kuwait in history. Now that I met Holocaust survivors, I know their story, and I’ve shared my story with them. Your God, your Messiah changed my heart, giving his life for me so I can have life everlasting. He rescued me, he saved me. He came and brought joy in my life again, and I’m a blessed woman! And I start crying and they start crying, and we are able to relate to each other and they embrace me and they love me and they experience some healing, I believe, when they hear my story. It is a privilege to
have that in my life. I am ONE FOR ISRAEL!