My name is Lydia and I was born in Glasgow, Scotland. I was brought up in Cairo and Kuwait. At the age of 9 I moved to Qatar for a period of 6 years then on to the United Arab Emirates where I now reside. For most of my life I have lived a ‘difficult double life’ because my father was a Muslim and my mother a Christian.
I went to a private British School in Cairo. Being registered as a Muslim I had to take part in Islamic Studies which included learning the Koran, studying the lives of the Prophets yet even at that time I knew about Jesus. At that early age I recognised that the teaching of Islam was wrong.
During these early years my mother was allowed to take us to church every week. She taught us to believe in Jesus, to pray and to live by faith.
I was converted to Christianity at the tender age of four in Kuwait. I was sitting on the bed talking to my mother about the Lord Jesus Christ. She asked me if I wanted to be saved and when I said ‘yes’ we prayed together and I believed.
On moving to Qatar at the age of 9 I was still unable to speak Arabic. Although Dad spoke to us in Arabic the language of the home was English.
Dad decided to take me out of Private schooling and into a Government run Public school where the language of teaching was Arabic. This changed my whole life as I had to relearn all my subjects in a foreign tongue.
Teachers were unsympathetic and very strict, often punishing me with stick beatings because I struggled so much with the language. My Religious Studies teacher loved humiliating me in front of everyone. She knew the great difficulty I had with the language yet she persisted in embarrassing me by making me stand up in front of the class telling me to read the Koran out loud in Arabic.
My teachers delighted in bullying me, some even slapping me on the face simply because I was not a ‘true’ Muslim in their eyes. I hated this time in school because my experience with the teachers made such a negative impact on me.
At the age of 12 I remember coming to the Island of Lewis in Scotland for a holiday and for the first time in my life I revelled in true Christian fellowship.
God always provided His grace and encouragement to me when I most needed it. He always seemed to step into my life at the most appropriated times, meeting the exact needs of my soul.
Over the next 10 years it was much of the same as far as everyday schooling was concerned. Mum encouraged me often by telling me that the Lord would one day use my horrendous experiences to help other Christians who would go through similar times as I had done. I also gained the knowledge of the reality of the Islamic religion and I am able now to tell others in the West that the true nature of Islam is corrupt beyond question.
I went to study Computing at the U.A.E University and some of my closest friends were Lebanese, Palestinian and Syrian. To some extent they were devout Muslims and this for a time influenced my dress, my mannerisms and my behaviour. They presented to me the ‘attractive’ side of Islam namely the modest apparel, the expectation of the women and their daily mode of self righteous behaviour.
The Lord however had a stronger grip of my hand that I did of His and I was awakened through a rebuke which showed me that I had to make a decision – Christianity of Islam. I had no difficulty in making my choice.
Two of my best friends Uncles at this time were suicide bombers. I became aware of a growing love and burden for God’s chosen people the Jews. I had witnessed the evil that Islam had against Judaism while at the same time I marvelled at the way in which God had ‘kept’ this chosen nation throughout the centuries.
On leaving University I thought that all my difficulties lay behind me. I was so wrong! New trials and greater difficulties lay ahead.
It was the done thing for a woman in her early twenties to get married. My Dad and his friends tried their utmost to find a match for me but I was having none of it. He thought that he was doing his best for me by trying to provide a suitable husband. Little did he understand how this used to break my heart and cause me no end of deep anxiety.
My Dad’s attempts at marriage fixing lasted the best part of 8 years. Now it seems that I am beyond marriage and Dad has given up trying to find a match for me. In his eyes and in the rest of society I am a hopeless case because I choose to remain single.
I do this in obedience to God’s Word which demands that we be not unequally yoked together with unbelievers. If the Lord Wills then He will unite me in marriage with the man of His choosing and in His time.
The Lord has blessed my obedience as I seek to put Him first in all aspects of my life. This last year He has opened doors of opportunity that I could never have dreamed of before.
I am now a secondary school computing teacher in the Middle East. At the beginning of this year I had such a yearning to serve God more fully that in frustration I cried out to Him, ‘Am I the only Christian in this place?’
From that time on He has brought one Christian friend after another into my life. Some were teachers I had worked alongside yet did not realise that they were believers, some were students that I had taught and some were neighbours.
There now seems to be a new Christian contact coming into my life each day. I sometimes feel overwhelmed with the joy and excitement of these new opportunities to witness and have fellowship with others.
This is only the beginning. My desire is to serve the Lord each day that I live and I am open to His leading. He does all things well. I will close now with a heartfelt plea that my brothers and sisters in Christ would learn to love the Muslims, but not their religion. They live their lives as captives in great darkness. Only God can set them free.
Pray also for God’s people in Islamic lands because the penalty of converting from Islam to Christianity is death by beheading! Them that honour me I will honour.
Any correspondence for me may be sent via Iain whose email link is located below.