A Christian couple visiting a young mother at her home in eastern Uganda last month decided to pray for her before leaving – triggering an immediate response from her Muslim husband.
“In the middle of the prayers, my husband walked out and began calling Muslims and mentioning that infidels were at his house,” 25-year-old Janati Kyoleka – who had secretly put her faith in Christ in December – told Morning Star News. “When my friends saw the Muslims approaching the homestead, they took off.”
The mother of children aged five, two and five month from Nakisimi village, Pallisa District, had started following Christ when her second child received healing prayer at a Christian hospital on December 14.
On the afternoon of the visit from the Christian couple on January 19, Kyoleka said that her husband, Jafari Biisa, returned home with the Muslim villagers.
“My husband began questioning me whether I had embraced Christianity,” Kyoleka told Morning Star News. “I kept quiet. He started beating me with sticks, and my five-month-old began crying.
“Before the arrival of the neighbours, my husband had already poured acid on me, and I lost all consciousness.”
Kyoleka regained consciousness in a hospital bed in Mbale. She had acid burns on the right side of her body, from breast to thigh, including her genitalia, she said.
“Before leaving the hospital, the chaplain shared Jesus with me. I then accepted to be prayed for to receive Christ as my Lord and Saviour.” – Janati Kyoleka
Members of the church that Kyoleka had secretly attended took her children into their care. Two weeks later, the Christian couple transferred her to a hospital in Kapchorwa, some 120 kilometres from Pallisa. She received treatment for another week before mounting medical costs forced her to leave.
The Christian couple is trying to help her recover at their home, where the three children have rejoined their mother.
“The responsibility of taking care of Kyoleka and her three children is not easy, but God will give us sufficient grace and providence,” said a member of the Christian family, whose identity is withheld.
Kyoleka is receiving medical check-ups at the hospital in Kapchorwa.
“I know my marriage with my husband is over,” Kyoleka said. “I am grateful to God that my children are with me.”
In December she had taken her two-year-old to the charitable missionary hospital at the suggestion of the Christian couple, after he became seriously ill with swelling of his head.
“At first I was hesitant, but the deteriorating condition of my son made me to assent to her suggestion,” Kyoleka said.
Having spent $300 on previous medical treatment without results, her husband agreed to try the Christian hospital, Kyoleka said. At the institution’s regular morning devotional time, the hospital chaplain prayed for her son.
“My son was first prayed for in the name of Jesus, and immediately his health condition improved and continued getting better and better, such that upon seeing the doctor my son was far better,” Kyoleka said.
“Before leaving the hospital, the chaplain shared Jesus with me. I then accepted to be prayed for to receive Christ as my Lord and Saviour.”
Kyoleka said she will not report the alleged assault to police as it could open possibilities for Muslim relatives to take custody of the children.
The alleged assault was the latest of many instances of persecution of Christians in Uganda that Morning Star News has documented.
Uganda’s constitution and other laws provide for religious freedom, including the right to propagate one’s faith and convert from one faith to another.
Muslims make up no more than 12 per cent of Uganda’s population, with high concentrations in the eastern areas of the country.