Our ministry partner, Shakaib traveled to the Thar Desert where he met Khiya. Shakaib learned that Khiya’s father had arranged for her to marry a well-educated Hindu man. Women do not choose whom they will marry, and Khiya knew little about her future husband except that he was educated. Because he was educated, she thought she could convince him to accept Christ.
After they married, Khiya and her husband lived with his parents, and Shakaib did not expect to see her anytime soon. But when Shakaib returned to the Thar Desert to Khiya’s family’s village, he was surprised to see Khiya with a look of profound sadness. She was so sad that she did not even feel worthy to sit with the others, pictured here, who gathered to hear the stories of the Bible. Instead, she sat off to the side away from everyone and waited until the meeting was over before she talked to Shakaib.
Khiya painfully and tearfully said, “If you had not come to my village, I was going to kill myself.” Her husband was forcing her to leave Christ and threatening that if she did not leave Christ, he would leave her. Khiya continued, “He would beat me and tell me to worship his gods and goddesses.” Despite the beatings, Khiya stood firm in her faith, declaring Jesus as her Lord saying, “I’m not bowing down to your gods and goddesses.”
Khiya continued to love and serve her husband and his family, but he continued to threaten her with divorce. A divorced woman in Pakistan, especially in the small villages of the Thar Desert, lives in disgrace. Divorce is taboo and a woman is considered “damaged property."
Khiya stated: “I felt like killing myself when I refused to go to his temple. He continued to beat me each time.” One time, Khiya did take an overdose as she did not see any other way to escape her nightmare. Finally, Khiya’s husband sent her back to her parents – the ultimate disgrace for a woman.
Shakaib listened intently to Khiya’s story and encouraged her in her Christian faith. Her love and commitment to the Lord amid the beatings she endured were remarkable. Her spirit was renewed as she listened to Shakaib's words of encouragement, and she learned the Bible stories quickly and demonstrated great ability in storytelling. She is now surrounded by believers and sharing Christ with others.