Originally published in International Christian Concern.
After converting to Christianity, Yasin Bakari, a father of two living in coastal Kenya, fears that he will be killed. He heard the Gospel in March and was moved enough to abandon his old faith. Now, he receives threats daily from the Muslim faithful of Mkunumbi, Mpeketoni, his hometown. While speaking with International Christian Concern (ICC), he shared his conversion story and the events that followed.
“In February, I met a pastor in Mpeketoni while looking for casual work to do. He gave me a day job at the church and during our interaction he also presented the Gospel to me [in] a way I had not heard it before. The Holy Spirit started working in my heart, but I was still hardened and did not think that leaving Islam would be the wisest thing to do”.
The pastor confirmed that he witnessed to Yasin in secret while working in the church compound. He recalled: “I was reluctant to give Yasin the work of trimming and cleaning the church compound because his friends would think that he was working with Christians. But I knew that I would get the opportunity to talk to him about Jesus Christ. To my surprise, he did not reject or bring up arguments that Muslims usually bring up”.
Yasin continued to contact the pastor for more work every week and, near the end of March, he accepted Christ as his saviour. Yasin shared, “In March, I was given some work again at the church and that’s when the pastor led me to Christ. I was fully convicted that I had no hope in Islam and I was lost in sin and that Christ is the way to God”.
After a few weeks of concealing his faith in Jesus Christ, his wife and family discovered that Yasin had become a Christian. “At first, I did not think that my wife would be unhappy with me for converting to Christianity. But I decided to hide my faith first before disclosing it to her and the children. Before I could talk to her about it, she found me on the phone with the pastor discussing some scriptures. She confronted me and snatched my phone. She informed my family and the local Muslims [whom] we used to meet at the mosque”.
Yasin’s family gathered and asked him to choose between life and death, Christ and Islam. “My father called some Muslim elders to convince me to remain in Islam or face the consequences. I told them openly that I had made up my mind and I wouldn’t change. Two days later, my wife packed her belongings together with our children and left. That same day, a group of young Muslims ambushed me at night, but I managed to escape through the window”. Thankfully, Yasin chose not to deny Christ, and God protected him that night.
Threats targeting Yasin Bakari continued to escalate until the pastor organised his relocation to a safer place. The pastor said, “Yasin came to the church to see me and told me that his house had been destroyed at night when he was away at a friend’s place for fear of being attacked. For his safety, the church elders raised some money for his fare to relocate to another place”. In addition, the pastor said, “We have also learned from Yasin that another Muslim man in Lamu Island had married his wife and that the children were staying with their grandmother. Yasin is concerned that his children will suffer and he would want to be reunited with them, but the family is not willing to let them go”.
Though Yasin is still in hiding, he has decided to continue to place his trust in Christ. The fear and pain he has gone through cannot match the freedom and love he receives from his Saviour. Now it is time that we as the body of Christ stand together and pray for him. We must learn to suffer with our brothers and sisters around the world as they suffer.
If you would like to help people like Yasin, who suffer for their faith in Christ, please consider partnering with ICC in prayer or through gifts to ICC’s Rescue Fund. Visit the ICC website for more information.