A devout Muslim from a remote region of Africa who hated Christians embraced the faith he once despised after coming across John 14:6, where Jesus says, "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me."
Persecution watchdog Open Doors USA shares the story of Elias and Adam, two cousins living in a Muslim-dominated community in East Africa.
Elias was the first to convert to Christianity after reading the Bible and understanding that truth is found in Christ alone. However, his newfound faith didn't sit well with his Muslim family, who shunned and rejected him.
One family member particularly angry about Elias' faith was Adam, who believed Islam was the only acceptable religion.
He recalled: "One day, when I saw [Elias] in town carrying his Bible, I confronted him. He showed me the verse, John 14:6, where Jesus says, 'I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me.' I was so insulted. I threw the Bible on the ground and stomped on it. I even tried to attack Elias."
Shortly after the encounter, Adam met up with a friend who happened to be a devout Muslim: "He reprimanded me saying. 'This book you are jumping on is actually the Truth,'" he recalled.
Unable to get the words of Jesus out of his head, Adam approached a local evangelist, who taught him about Jesus from both the Bible and the Quran. Adam's eyes were opened, prompting him to give his life to Christ.
"Afterwards, I went to Elias and apologized for what I did," he said. "Thankfully he forgave me. Today, we are worshiping Christ together and love each other more than we ever did."
Furious, the cousin's family threw them out of the house and urged them to leave the community - or be killed.
By the grace of God, Elias and Adam found a safe community of believers who have similar experiences as they did and received training with Open Doors, which helps new converts survive social pressures by finding ways for them to earn money.
According to Open Doors, which works in over 60 countries, the persecution of Christians is on the rise around the world, with more than 7,000 Christians killed for their faith between Nov. 1, 2014, and Oct. 31, 2015.
The group found that over 3,000 more Christians were killed for faith-related reasons during its reporting period for the 2016 World Watch List than it found during the reporting period for the 2015 report. Additionally, over 2,400 churches were attacked, damaged or destroyed during the reporting period, which is more than double the number from last year.
The European Commission's special envoy on the issue, Jan Figel, told Premier Christian Radio, "it's getting worse because up to 75% of the world population" is not granted freedom of faith.
"Therefore, those who believe that humanity should prevail can, and should do, much more for freedom of religion."
Figel added: "We are witnesses of a systematic and mass murder, martyrdom and persecution on several territories. This crime of crimes is calling for all serious people to do more."