Naomi*, a young Deaf widow, had a hard decision to make. Year after year she saw and understood the truth of the gospel as she participated on an IMB Deaf translation team. Naomi believed Jesus was the Son of God and only He could save her from her sin, but as a Muslim, she was afraid her family would take away her nine-year-old daughter if she professed her faith in Christ. Who would tell her daughter about Jesus if they were separated?
When COVID-19 hit Naomi’s city in Indonesia, she lost her job and had to return to the remote island where her family lived. While stuck at home, she watched the Bible stories she and others had filmed for the Deaf of Indonesia. Through the testimony of these videos, Naomi sought the Lord and then surrendered her life to Christ. Immediately, she called her church back in the city to tell them the good news.
Now that Naomi was a follower of Christ, she did not waste any time. She started sending videos of her sharing her faith to her Deaf friends on the island via Facebook. Through Naomi’s faithful witness, three other people on her island have given their lives to the Lord.
Naomi’s strict Muslim father learned of her newfound zeal to share the gospel. He imprisoned Naomi in his home and beat her daily for a month in an effort to make her return to Islam. Despite this persecution, Naomi’s faith continued to grow. While her family and community shunned her, Naomi found comfort in spending time with her daughter and sharing the hope of the gospel.
A few weeks later, in December of 2020, Naomi felt very weak, was in a lot of pain and couldn’t breathe. She passed out in her home and didn’t wake up until after she had been taken to the local hospital. There the doctors determined something was wrong with her heart and told her she needed an emergency heart transplant.
Because her local hospital could not perform the operation, they sent her to a bigger city hospital, more than six hours away. While she was on the way, Naomi’s daughter called her mother’s church leader, Nikko*, and said, “I know your [God] listens to your prayers, please pray for my mama!”
Nikko called the church and International Mission Board (IMB) missionaries and asked them to pray for Naomi. A prayer request then went out to the IMB missionaries’ prayer partners, and hundreds of supporters in the U.S. joined in prayer for Naomi.
When Naomi arrived at the hospital, the staff rushed her to surgery. The doctors said she had heart failure, and they found blood in her chest cavity from a torn artery. This meant that Naomi didn’t need a heart transplant, but emergency surgery.
After the surgery, Naomi sent out a video thanking not only her church but also the IMB missionaries and the churches that had prayed. When she was released from the hospital to recover at home, doctors told her uncle that this had happened because her body had been under extreme stress. Naomi said that her father and mother have been really quiet and are embarrassed for beating her. Despite all that Naomi has endured, she continually gives glory to God.
Pray for Naomi as she lives with her family on the remote island. Pray Naomi can find a job back in the city and take her daughter with her when she moves. Thank God Naomi’s daughter has been able to see God work in her mother’s life.
To find specific prayer requests for the Deaf affinity, visit imb.org/deaf/.
*Names changed for security
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Catherine Finch is a writer for IMB.)