Not Just a Key Tag

Greetings dear friend in Christ,

Normally I address you personally and in gratitude for your generous heart in enabling God's work through VOMC. I am grateful to be so blessed with an inspired team to which, in part, I shall now proudly introduce you.

You'll recall that a certain amount of editorial work is accomplished at VOMC under the "website" direction of our webmasters, Jim and Twyla Penner. I now share Twyla's thoughts with you. Open your heart and consider God's great handiwork in and through Hanan's story. Bless those who are in peril for Christ's namesake.

~ VOMC's CEO, Doug McKenzie

Not Just a Key Tag

I have a key tag. It's a green key tag. It's a beautiful key tag. But I'm getting ahead of myself... One of the most heart-wrenching scenarios that VOMC covers is the frequent abduction of Christian girls. They're sold or otherwise forced into marriages that often become their worst nightmare. For quite some time, I prayed that they would be released... and I stopped there. What else could I pray for? I thought the only hope for these girls would be their complete and unconditional release.

Then the Lord pointed to the children that they would inevitably have, and I started to pray for them. I remembered the Apostle Paul's admonition for women in the Bible to maintain a quiet and gentle spirit and, in so doing, hold some hope of seeing their unbelieving husbands come to Christ.

Enter VOMC's monthly publication from May 2018. As I read of North Korean women who were sold into marriages with Chinese men, I realized again just how crucial the ministry of a Christian sex slave can be. Dr. Eric Foley of VOM Korea shared the story of "MG." Although she was forced into a marriage she didn't want, shares a house with a man who sometimes treats her poorly, and lives much of her life in secrecy because she's an "illegal," MG shares Christ at every opportunity.

Then I thought of my key tag. Why my key tag? Well, I recently attended a women's retreat where we focussed on persecuted believers and how we can support them. The organizer had poured endless hours and every bit of her energy into the weekend. As part of our gift packages, we were given resin tags that were hand made by this lovely lady. Each of the tags has the name of a persecuted sister in Christ on one side, and the verse of Hebrews 6:12 (NLT) on the other side:

"Then you will not become spiritually dull and indifferent. Instead, you will follow the example of those who are going to inherit God's promises because of their faith and endurance."

We received the tag on a beautiful ribbon, decorated with bling and attached to a little beaded cross. I decided to shorten the ribbon and tie it to my keys. Well, the rigors of residing in my purse rendered the ribbon short-lived ("Sorry, Vanessa!"), and the cross is getting a little stretched. I'll be putting the cross on a simple chain to hang around my neck, but for now I've simply attached the tag to my keys. Every time I pull out my keys, it's a visible reminder to pray for "my gal." Her name is Hanan Girgis.

Hanan Girgis - Photo: World Watch Monitor
Photo: World Watch Monitor

Hanan's story struck me especially hard when I read it. I'd read about other girls who had been kidnapped and forced into abusive marriages, but Hanan's story brought tears to my eyes every time I remembered her. When I looked up her name during the weekend retreat, I realized it was no happenstance that her name was placed in my hands for prayer on a daily basis. How will I pray for her in light of everything I've learned recently? I'll continue to pray that she'll be released to her heartbroken family. I will certainly pray for her safety. I also find myself coming before God with these requests:

  • "Cause her to look into the eyes of her little ones and long to share You with them. Give her the courage to do so and wisdom as to how she can introduce them to the Gospel."
  • "I pray that her husband will see the character of Christ in her and be drawn to the One who alone can bring satisfaction and peace."
  • "Provide Your Word, Lord, whether that's in a secret place on the way to the market or in a hidden corner of the house, and then eventually in the open with her newly redeemed husband."
  • "Bring her to other Christian women who are in a similar situation, even if she meets them when being forced to go to a mosque."
  • "Give her perseverance in her faith. Please do not allow her to grow weary, but to cast herself on the power of the Holy Spirit to sustain her in the faith of her forefathers."
  • "Comfort her and let her know that she is most certainly not forgotten. She is loved. She is Your princess. Reassure her of this."

The Voice of the Martyrs Canada

A woman sitting alone on public transit - Photo: Unsplash