Blessed Are The Persecuted

Jan 9, 2019 | Sports Friends Africa, Sports Friends Malawi

17-year-old Suzeni is in some deep waters: persecution from her own father.

Suzeni’s father believes in African traditional religion. His daughter follows Jesus, and she knows that she is a daughter of the most high God. But her earthly father is angry about this other “Father” that Suzeni loves so much and constantly talks about.

Suzeni came to know Jesus 3 years ago through her Sports Friends netball coach. Just like Jesus came for us, her coach came to her; loving her, walking through difficulties with her, and pouring out God’s word into her life. But, as those who follow Christ know, this life is full of troubles.

It came to a head when Suzeni’s father forced her to stop attending her local church and tried to make her renounce her trust in Jesus. He said that she must be obedient to her first father (him), by practicing magic and witchcraft. The pressure and persecution was great, but Suzeni did not give in.

Suzeni testifies powerfully about how she has clung to Christ and her relationship with Jesus continues to grow in the midst of all these challenges. As her cup overflows with the joy of the Lord, her earthly father has made her a target of ridicule and has cut off all his parental support for her. She receives no benefits from him. No school fees. No love from him.

Though her earthly father has separated himself from her, Suzeni continues to grow in faith. She knows what it means by, “You will be hated by everyone because of me” (Matthew 10:22). Yet she continues to go to the only fountain that brings life:  Jesus Christ.

When her netball coach got married and moved away to another town, Suzeni was ready and willing to take over the role of being the coach. She now leads and brings the netball team into times of worship to enable the girls to encounter the love of God for themselves.

We praise God that He has already breathed new life into many of the girls on Suzeni’s team. Please pray for Suzeni, for her father, and that many others would come to know that they have a wonderful Father in heaven who sent His Son Jesus to be their Savior.

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matthew 5: 10-13