Anora’s happy childhood crumbled. At just six years old, her father passed away.
“Just wait,” her father used to tell his friends. “When Anora grows up, she will turn mountains around and show you all how life is to be lived!”
Strong and determined from a very young age, Anora’s father loved and believed in her unconditionally. He nurtured these qualities within her, even though they didn’t fit with the typical persona of a girl growing up in a Muslim culture.
But when he passed away, her sense of security and identity was suddenly shaken. She feared what else might be taken from her unexpectedly.
Today you can help young women, who have spent years struggling with their identity, find hope in Jesus.
Anora’s mother did her best to provide for the family. But with three young children, it wasn’t easy. Her older sister struggled with severe seizures, and her mom would often wake Anora up in the night to help or even perform CPR. Due to brain damage, her sister would also experience bouts of aggression—putting a pillow over Anora’s head and trying to choke her when they played.
Her insecurities over growing up without a father in a “dysfunctional” family intensified. She worried about her family’s reputation in the community. She hated being labeled as an orphan and poor.
The family’s economic hardships only intensified when her older brother moved to Russia for his education. Her mother was forced to take out a large loan, and the family began raising cattle to help pay off the debt. Anora’s mother was determined, and together they made ends meet.
But the challenges drove Anora’s insecurities even deeper within her. She simply didn’t fit in with the other Muslim girls who wore nice clothes, came from nice families, and didn’t have to farm in the city. As a teenager she faced even more heartache when the wealthy young man she hoped to marry moved on and married someone else.
Our faith-building resources, including biblical counseling materials, help young adults discover the truth of Jesus while overcoming grief and trauma.
Anora finished college and began her career. Feeling she didn’t fit the traditional mold of an Uzbek woman, she sought happiness in making lots of money—providing for her mother and partying with her friends.
“Finally, my childhood dream of having a fancy car and driving around with my fancy sunglasses on came true,” she shared.
But the fun that came from drinking with girlfriends and pursuing short-lived relationships didn’t last. Anora’s life was empty. She came to America seeking her MBA degree—not realizing the school she enrolled in was a Christian university.
As a nominal Muslim, she had little interest in knowing more about Jesus. But at an off-campus event, she met Dmitriy, who was also from the former USSR and happened to be working for the University she was attending.
He was unlike the other young men she’d befriended over the years. Humble, pure-hearted and honest, she was puzzled by him. He saw through Anora’s tough exterior and began inviting her to Bible study and church. It wasn’t long before she responded to the Gospel.
A day earlier Dmitriy gave Anora her first Bible with her name written inside. And the day she trusted in Jesus was the day when, 12 years earlier, the first young man she had ever fallen in love with married someone else.
“What an attention to detail from our Father,” Anora said.
Looking back, she can now see God working throughout her life—even when she was far from Him. He was orchestrating events, protecting her, and preparing her for all He had planned.
“I was never fatherless—nobody is! I was never unworthy; I am a child of God! I was never unlovable; God loves me to the point of the cross!” she said.
“I was never a misfit, a mistake, an abnormality; I was not created to fit in the mold society imposes on Muslim women. Christ came to set us free from sin and manmade norms to live as free people!”
A year later Anora and Dmitriy were married. And although the struggles with her family continued, she had a different perspective. Her brother moved to the United States. For a while, her mom lived in the states too.
When Anora’s mother flew home to Uzbekistan in 2010, their family had no idea that it would be the last time they saw her in person. A few years later, her mother passed away unexpectedly.
Anora was devastated. She began to wonder how she could make a difference in the lives of Muslim women living in her home country.
Today Anora serves as a Country Liaison for Global Heart Ministries’ outreach in Uzbekistan. She works closely with the local Connect Center team as they engage seekers and share the truth of Jesus. She wants young women—who struggle with cultural norms and feel like they don’t fit in—to experience God’s perfect love for them.
There are millions of young adults across the Middle East and Central Asia who are searching for hope. Through innovative technology and digital media, Global Heart Ministries shares the message of Jesus, provides faith-building resources and connects people to the Underground Church where they can develop relationships with other believers.
Would you give today so other young women and men can hear about the hope of Jesus and discover their purpose in Him?
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