Sunday marked World Refugee Day, the annual day to celebrate the strength and courage of millions of refugees who have fled their home countries.
World Refugee Day is annually on June 20, the date wherein 1951 a Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees was held.
This year's theme for World Refugee Day was "the power of inclusion."
In an article for The Christian Post, a Pakistani Christian told her refugee story. "Martha," as she is called in the article, told the news outlet that she and her family were forced to flee their home. Martha's son, a Christian, had met and married a Muslim woman in Pakistan, but when the woman's family found out, they did not accept the marriage, even after she became pregnant.
Martha says people threatened to kill them, so they left their home and traveled from city to city to avoid being captured. Finally, they left the country for Thailand.
When they crossed the border, Martha, her husband and her son were unable to provide identification. They had no money and did not speak the language. They were all arrested and jailed for about a year.
In 2014, Martha, her husband, and her youngest daughter were granted refugee status in the U.S.
Martha's son and daughter-in-law were also released.
Martha said she misses her home but gives "thanks to God" for her freedom. She says her family attends church in their new city.
Martha also joined Peace of Thread, an organization that helps employ women in vulnerable populations as artisans. The women produce purses, bags, and other accessories.
Peace of Thread also gives employees access to counseling, medical care and ESL classes.
Pakistan is ranked as the fifth-worst country in the world for Christian persecution, according to Open Doors USA's 2021 World Watch List. The U.S. State Department says the country is of "particular concern" for violations against religious freedom.
Photo courtesy: Muneer Ahmed Ok/Unsplash
Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.