Just three days into their married life, Mariam and Yusuf were forced to flee their home . Mariam's older brother had been prominent in helping victims of the Gojra attacks in 2009. This enraged local Islamic extremists, and they targeted his entire family, specifically threatening to kill Yusuf and rape and murder Mariam.
Mariam and Yusuf fled to Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital, hoping to start a new life together, but threats against their life continued. Feeling they had no other options, they fled to Thailand with little more than two suitcases.
When they arrived, they found out Mariam was pregnant. They were joyful, but also terrified. They weren’t sure how they were going to support themselves, let alone a new child.
As they faced these fears, Yusuf and Mariam met Jan at a local church. Jan, who is Thai, opened her heart to them and befriended them. Eventually, she was able to connect with Life Raft, who provided financial support to Yusuf and Mariam, and helped guide Jan in how to effectively help them.
Thanks to their friendship with Jan, Yusuf and Mariam were able to survive their time in Thailand, and even start homeschooling their daughter. Recently, Canada accepted them for resettlement.
As their time in Thailand draws to an end, Yusuf and Mariam jokingly refer to the past three and a half years in their adopted home as an “extended honeymoon”.
Mariam said they will miss Thai people and their hospitality.
“When you have nothing and somebody helps you, it means a lot,” said Mariam. “There is so much to be grateful for, we cannot even begin to say to thank you. We only know that God is showing his lovethrough Jan.”
Written by Tim Lefevre