When Julie Aftab was 16 years old, a man walked into the office in Pakistan where she worked and asked if she was Christian. When she told him she was, the man sprayed her in the face with battery acid, then grabbed her by the hair, and forced it down her throat -- burning her esophagus, according to the Houston Chronicle.
Aftab suffered bone-deep burns on her chest, arms and much of the right side of her face.
Now, 10 years and 31 surgeries later, the paper is reporting Aftab has found a new life in Texas, majoring in accounting at the University of Houston-Clear Lake and preparing to take the United States citizenship test this month.
Aided by host parents Lee and Gloria Ervin, the now 26-year-old woman says the attack has cemented her faith even further.
"Those people, they think they did a bad thing to me, but they brought me closer to God," Aftab told the paper. "They helped me fulfill my dreams. I never imagined I could be the person I am today."
Since the attack, Aftab has gone on to accomplish things no member of her family had done, including graduating from high school and going to college.
"I'm the first person in my whole family who graduated from high school ... and the first person who entered to college in my whole family, I changed my family's history," Aftab told Fox 26 News.
Persecution of Christians in Pakistan is an ongoing problem. Last year, Christian schools in Pakistan closed for a three-day protest of the murder of the country's Minister for Religious Minorities.
Christian leaders in the country have said that if the persecution of people who "exercise their freedom of conscience and expression," is allowed to continue, then "criminals" vying to take over the country will be validated, according to the Associated Press.
WATCH: Julie Aftab On Fox 26 News:
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