Aissatu (I Sa’ Tu) is joyful, full of life, and vigor. She is a Muslim background believer in Jesus from Guinea Bissau,(GB) Northwest Africa. Her testimony is a story of sadness and pain to joy and fearless love.
At three years old, she was orphaned and taken in by her aunt. Aissatu was treated by them as a second class citizen, a level above a slave. Growing up she knew very little love. As a Muslim she was taught about Allah–he was the supreme being and demanded obedience. Muslims aren’t taught the sacrificial love (Agape) of Yahweh (God of the Bible)–it’s not taught in the Qur’an and unknown by Muslims.
Aissatu married a Muslim man and bore four children. Her husband was a hard man who would beat her and withheld food and money from her and the children. Aissatu had to forage food for her family to survive. Finally, he threw her and the children out. He divorced her and married two other women.
[Living as a single mom in Guinea Bissau, Africa is difficult. In July 2006 the World Bank reported GB the sixth poorest nation in the world. Nearly eighty percent of its citizens make less than $2 a day. The life expectancy is 48 years old. There’s no central electricity, water, sewer, and trash services. There’s no central banking. The roads and the floors of homes are dirt. One day during our visit it took five hours to drive 60 miles in a Toyota Land Cruiser. The eastern part of Guinea Bissau is 90% Muslim population. We were told, by our contact, that there are over 1000 villages and only 100 of these have seen the Jesus movie or heard any proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ.]
Aissatu found a job repairing roads under the hot African sun. She had to break rocks into smaller pieces and patch pot holes. In 2001 she was at a breaking point. She was starving, grueling under heavy work, and faced the daily difficulties of raising four young children. One night after exploding in anger at the children she ran out of her shanty home, onto the road, and threw herself to the ground. She cried out for help to the only God she knew, Allah. Suddenly she heard an audible voice say. “Go to the Christian leaders and they will help you.” The next day she sought out a pastor. He gave her a bag of rice and a Bible. He explained how the bag of rice would soon be gone but what she needed for life and eternity was a personal relationship with Jesus. He would never forsake her. That day Aissatu gave her life to Christ.
When the pastor would pick her up for church, Aissatu would lie on the car floorboard in fear of persecution from other Muslims. It took several months before she overcame her fear. She began to work as a cook for a Christian couple. In the beginning she was a timid, frightful person. The first night after she cooked and served their meal, she went out back to eat by herself. Immediately, the couple invited her in to eat with them. She felt unworthy. The Christian couple explained how we are all equal before God. That night they ate together. This was a turning point for Aissatu. She saw God’s care for this couple. If God, truly, loved all people equally then He would take care of all her needs too. God’s love dissipated her fears.
The Scriptures declare in II Timothy 1:7-8 “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God.”
Today, Aissatu testifies to the fearless love of Jesus Christ. She shares her faith with Muslims at great cost and risk. The love of Jesus has given her boldness. She is a living witness of love conquering fear. Spirit of Martyrdom (SOM) was able to give her a portable DVD player to show the Jesus movie. She visits Muslim homes for personal viewings. Once, she was booked two months ahead with families who had requested a viewing. Until this year she had to walk many miles to visit Muslim homes. This year she received a motorcycle to reach more Muslims. This spring she showed the Jesus movie to a small Muslim village. They wanted to know more. When she brought back a pastor, who shared the gospel, over half the village responded to receiving Christ by faith. Many Muslims she has prayed with for salvation have been kicked out of their homes. To help these new believers she asked God for a field to plant crops so she could feed the persecuted Christians. A chief in the area heard she was helping the poor and wanted to help–he gave her a plot of land.
Last year, a man stole from her property. He was caught, but instead of pressing charges Aissatu hired him to harvest the fields. She said, “if he was that desperate to steal, then he needs a job.”
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