Faith Under Cover
by Audra Grace Shelby
Her brown eyes crinkled in the slit of her black veil. I returned her smile and patted the top of her toddler’s curls. Her black covering fluttered as she took my hand and murmured Arabic words I had not yet learned. I wondered if she was inviting me to visit. Blaring from the mosque a block away, a prayer call erased the rest of her words with a deafening cry. The woman shifted her young son to her other arm and nodded before turning away to continue down the cracked sidewalk.
I looked up at the bluest sky I had ever seen and felt overwhelmed. Would I be able to learn the language and know these Yemeni women behind their veils? How could I impact the lives of these conservative Muslims? I was an ordinary woman from Texas and Alabama—the mother of three children and the wife of a man called to missionary service. Why God would choose me to be a missionary, too, was beyond me. But I learned that was the point. It was beyond me.
Beginning with a powerful demonstration of Christ’s sufficiency when my husband lay dying, Behind the Veils of Yemen is the account of our journey deep into the heart of Islam. It is intimate glimpses of lives such as Fatima’s, as she struggles with relationships and the needs of her disabled newborn, grasping for my faith when her religion is not enough. It is glimpses of women celebrating life as they dance in splendor or share hot tea in their afternoon visits, hidden from the eyes of men. It is glimpses of despair—a widow mourning her husband’s death, a wife torn by her husband’s pornography, a bride whose dreams have been shattered. It is walking into lives lived as they have been lived for hundreds of years.
Going deep into the lives of Muslim women, Behind the Veils of Yemen also goes deep into a personal relationship with Christ. As a strong woman answering the Call, I discover the limits of inner strength when I face devastating trauma. Surrounded by a devoutly religious people who denounce my faith, I become plagued by doubt as I seek to understand the differences in the ways we follow. Convinced I trust Christ enough, I see the limits of my trust when my daughter becomes gravely ill. Christ answers each situation, demonstrating His all-sufficient authority, and gives me an intimate glimpse of His passion for those separated from Him when my fourth child is born critically ill.
Filled with laughter, tears and the drama of life in a closed Muslim country, Behind the Veils of Yemen is the story of an ordinary woman among fascinating people in the hands of our extraordinary and all-powerful God.