In a city located in the North Caucasus, less than a hundred miles from the Caspian Sea, a woman named Eliiza and her family live in an apartment building. Like others, Eliiza and her family live in this building with other families but unlike others, Eliiza’s neighbor is an informant for the police who tells the police everything that happens in the building.
After Zayan, a Crossover Global Church Planter, and his team arrived at Eliiza’s house, her neighbor went to the police and told them the Christians had arrived. The neighbor also went to all of the residents of the building and told them Eliiza had Christians over and they would gather together in Eliiza’s apartment. As a result, police and radical Islamists would wait for our team near the apartment building as they went to visit Eliiza.
One day, Zayan and Eliiza set up a time to gather and study Scriptures. As he and the team were on their way to meet with her, they called to see if she was ready for them to come and she responded, “Do not come here. They are looking for you.” She told them not to come to her apartment building until things calmed down.
A short time later, two policemen came to Eliiza’s home and ordered her to pack up and follow them to the police station. She had to leave her two small children with a neighbor. The police brought her to the station where they first threatened her verbally and then began using electric shocks on her. Eliiza lost consciousness four times. When she came to, she found a large bump on her forehead where the police had hit her while she was unconscious. This wasn’t enough for the police, they decided to show Eliiza to the whole city on the local television program accusing her and others of sorcery and fortunetelling.
After several trials, beatings, and other things done to humiliate her, Eliiza was allowed to go home. When she arrived, her friends and some of her family, particularly her 20 year old son, began harassing her by constantly calling her names, ridiculing, threatening, and shaming her. Eliiza did not know where to go from the nightmare that her life had become. She became broken, fearful, and deeply depressed. She trembled with every knock at the door and was also afraid for her husband. In the part of the world were Eliiza lives, it is not uncommon for someone to be taken for interrogation by the police or for them to simply go missing.
Shortly after all of this happened, Zayan reached out to her and was able to help find a temporary place for Eliiza and her family to recover. While there, they were able to relax both mentally and physically. It was a great time of renewal for their family. Once they returned to their apartment it was necessary for Eliiza to limit her interactions publicly with other believers because of the informers, surveillance, and pressure from the police. Even in the midst of these difficulties the local community of believers reached out to Eliiza to encourage her in her faith.
This story was provided by leaders at the Crossover Global Caucasus Base who work directly with our church planters in this area of the world.