A New York City pastor recently offered to pay for Christian Sudanese mother Meriam Ibrahim and her family to fly home to the United States and to shelter them upon their return.
William Devlin, pastor of Manhattan Bible Church, traveled to Khartoum in Sudan where he met with Ibrahim and her husband, Daniel Wani as well as the country's Foreign Minister.
"I, along with another brother in the Lord, were able to go to the Safe House where this persecuted family is currently living in Khartoum and minister to them for over an hour," the pastor told the Associated Press.
"The Devlin family has offered to bring this family back to the USA from Khartoum and have them live with us. I have been interviewed by the U.S. State Department in Washington D.C. and I have also met for three hours with the U.S. Ambassador to Sudan here in Khartoum - and his senior staff," he continued.
"Furthermore, because of my long term friendship with the Foreign Minister of Sudan, I have met personally with him and asked him to advocate for this family - and have the Sudanese authorities release this family to me to bring them back to U.S.. I have offered to pay for their flights (the four of them) to America and to house them indefinitely in our home - and to provide for their needs."
Currently, Ibrahim and her family are living in the U.S. embassy in Khartoum and awaiting permission to fly to America.
Earlier this year, Ibrahim was sentenced to death by a Sudanese court for marrying a Christian man and refusing to renounce her Christian faith. Ibrahim told the court that she was "always a Christian," as she was raised by her Ethiopian Orthodox Christian mother and has identified as a Christian her entire life.
After the international community protested, an appeals court revoked the sentence and Ibrahim was released from prison. As she and her family attempted to leave the country, however, Sudanese officials re-arrested them, alleging their travel documents had been forged.
Last week, Ibrahim's Islamic relatives dropped the lawsuit against her seeking to prove that she is a Muslim, which may allow her and her family to finally leave Sudan.
While in prison, Ibrahim was forced to give birth while shackled to the floor of her cell. Because she was unable to open her legs while giving birth, Ibrahim feared her baby daughter, who she named Maya, would be disabled. A doctor who inspected the child says he believes she will be fine, but noted that an ultrasound will be needed to confirm that she will be able to walk.
In his letter to the Associated Press, Pastor Devlin recalled the emotions he felt when meeting with Ibrahim and her family.
"I had the joy of asking Meriam if I could hold little Maya (who was crying at the time) and my eyes welled up with tears as this little girl, born in prison, fell asleep in my arms as I rocked her. At the end our time together, I was able to lay hands on this family and pray for them in the Name of Jesus."