In October, American special forces killed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, a notorious ISIS leader who inspired his followers to murder many Christians, making them modern martyrs. These Christians demonstrated radical faith at a time when many see how religion — especially among the younger generations — is in decline. Some reports have found that Christianity has fallen to a historically low 65% of the population.
But there’s another narrative at work besides the one of Christianity’s decline. Consider the story of Kayla Mueller, one of the most famous Christian martyrs in Syria, who was also an American. I pray that her faith will show a new generation that there is a different way to live — a way that puts first God and neighbor, whatever the cost.
Kayla was a young, idealistic millennial who was abducted by ISIS while volunteering to serve the Syrian people. During her two-year imprisonment, she endured untold psychological torment, including repeated rape by al-Baghdadi himself. She is thought to have been killed in 2015, though the exact details of her death aren’t certain.
Some of her fellow captives who are now freed have recounted the strength and boldness of Kayla’s faith, how it inspired and comforted them. When Jihadi John, the British-born ISIS fighter infamous for videotaped beheadings, lied and insinuated to them that Kayla had converted to Islam, she dared to openly contradict the terrorist to his face.
At one point, Kayla was housed with several Yazidi girls who planned an escape. Despite their pleas, she refused to go with them. She did so because she knew being an American made her a valuable hostage. Her ISIS captors would do everything they could to find her, making the girls’ escape unlikely. Her faith in Jesus inspired her to put the well-being of those young Yazidi women before her own. The Yazidi girls eventually made it to safety.
Despite the trauma and horror she endured, Kayla demonstrated bravery through her unwavering faith in God. It was this love that motivated her to serve overseas in the first place — a love she demonstrated even after being taken captive.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Nick Hall