When *Maya was just 19 years old, ISIS soldiers invaded her home in Baghdad, Iraq, and ordered that she and the rest of her Christian family either convert to Islam or pay a heavy fee to stay in their home. If they refused, they would be killed.

The family did not convert, but they tried to pay the fee. It wasn’t enough.

When the soldiers came back, they shot Maya’s brother in front of the family and kidnapped her sister. They warned that they would come back and kill the second daughter if the family did not leave or convert to Islam.

The remaining members of Maya’s family fled to Jordan, and happily learned that their kidnapped daughter had escaped to Australia.

It was stories like Maya’s that inspired Gia Chacon last year to found For the Martyrs, a non-profit organization that raises awareness of the plight of persecuted Christians throughout the world and advocates for religious freedom….

“I wanted to do something in the United States for the people of the West, to not only wake them up to the reality of what’s going on around the world, but also connect them to know that we’re one body of Christ. When one member suffers, we all suffer.”

This May, For the Martyrs will host the first March for the Martyrs on May 9 in Long Beach, California….

The march will be immediately followed by a ‘Night of Prayer for the Persecuted’ featuring speakers such as Sean Feucht from Bethel Music, Father Benedict Kiely, and others who will highlight the plight of persecuted Christians and what can be done for them.

“Our purpose for that night is to pray for the persecuted, worship the Lord for victory and for protection over the persecuted, but also to gain insight into the reality of Christian persecution and learn what we can do as a body of Christ in America for our persecuted brothers and sisters around the world,” Chacon said….

The above comes  from a March 5 story on the site of the Catholic News Agency.