Refuge in Jesus
In 2014, the world was awakened to the plight of refugees from Syria that fled their homeland because of the civil war. Some found refuge in faraway countries like Germany and Canada, while others fled to neighboring countries like Turkey and Iraq. On a recent visit to the Middle East, a small team from MB Mission met a young man from Syria named Ahmad. Below is an excerpt from KB’s conversation with Ahmad, which affirms the truth of Jesus’ message of peace and healing in a world of violence and pain. KB serves with another organization that works in partnership with MB Mission.
KB: Where are you from?
Ahmad: My family is Kurdish. We lived in the northwest part of Syria until 2014 when we fled the country because of the war. We came across the border into Iraq as refugees.
KB: What about your religious background?
Ahmad: I was born in a Muslim family and it means everything to us to be part of the Muslim Community. Personally, I was very committed. I was fasting regularly and reading the Quran. I’ve read the whole Quran more than three times in my life.
KB: What happened when you came to Iraq?
Ahmad: Life as a refugee was not easy. I had to work very hard just to eat. The life circumstances were very, very difficult and even though I was praying regularly and practicing Islam, I didn’t have any peace and there was a lot of heaviness in my heart. Then, two years ago, I met a few Christians that came here to Iraq just to worship and pray. Just meeting them, I saw love and joy in their lives and that made me kind of wonder, and I started searching more and asking questions like, “If I know God, if I know Allah, why don’t I have joy?”
KB: What happened next? Did you find the answer to your question?
Ahmad: So one day, when I was really depressed. I was really down. I was close to the end. I remembered these Christians who shared the Gospel with me and I just asked them out of nowhere, “Do you think Jesus can help me? How can I meet him?” We talked together for more than two hours, and they prayed for me and I prayed. And just in one tiny moment, I felt God’s nearness. I felt his presence for the first time in my life and just in that moment all of the heaviness was lifted off of me, and I said, “This is it! I’m not going to turn back. I’m just going to believe in this man. I’m just going to believe in this God. Because he did a miracle in my life.”
KB: Is there hope for the Middle East today?
Ahmad: Everything that the enemy has done in Syria since 2011 was for bad, but God is so amazingly using it for good, and is showing people the reality of religion, the emptiness. And he’s using it to bring people to himself. He’s moving so powerfully, and he’s revealing himself to Syrian people and to Iraqi people. He’s meeting the hearts of people by his love. Because you know, his love is more powerful than anything. It’s more powerful than death itself.
KB: What would you say to other refugees?
Ahmad: I would tell them my story about how I came here as a refugee, but I found my refuge in Jesus. God’s love has met my heart and that has changed my life forever. I would tell them that they need to seek God for themselves. Because the religion of your parents will not benefit you when you stand before God, and your teacher or leader is not responsible for what you believe. Only you are responsible for seeking God, and he has promised that if you seek him with all of your heart you will find him.