Pastor's wife fined for prayer walking

by Vanessa Garcia Rodriguez, |
African native Martha Nagbe and her husband Juwle left their country for the opportunities and freedoms of America. Instead, Nagbe has faced fines and law enforcement for praying loudly on the city's sidewalks. | Valley News Live

LISBON, N.D. (Christian Examiner) -- A local pastor's wife received fines and a citation for "unnecessary noise" after practicing her faith by prayer walking her hometown's streets last month.

The native African couple left their country for better opportunities and religious freedoms. Instead Martha Nagbe claims she experienced a violation of her rights and says police now prohibit her from praying in downtown Lisbon, North Dakota, and neighborhoods near the Methodist church her husband leads.

Though Nagbe attended two court dates and paid a $150 fee for praying too loudly on city sidewalks, she said she will not stop interceding for her community.

"In the United States it's one nation under God," Nagbe told Valley News KVLY.

Pastor Juwle Nagbe called the circumstance a disrespect to his wife. "For them to antagonize her, to make her look like a bad person, sometimes makes me angry."

But Lisbon law enforcement told the news station community members have complained about Nagbe's loud praying and praising as she walks by carrying her Bible during daylight.

Police Chief Jeanette Persons called Nagbe's actions "disturbing the peace."

"We all need prayers and great she's out there praying for all of us, but it's just the volume of her voice," Persons said noting some neighbors claimed they had been awakened by Nagbe standing near their home shouting.

"It's not that she just walks by, but she will stand out there for a lengthy period of time."

Persons noted the issue was not one of race or religion and that if Nagbe simply lowered her voice, she may continue to practice her prayer walks.

Nagbe said she intends to continue the practice. "I can't stop," she said. "I'm trusting God."