Inspiring Faith from a New Syrian Friend
During our recent visit to the Middle East we had the opportunity to meet a number of individuals and families that had escaped from Syria and were now living as refugees.
On one of these house visits we met Mary. She sat with us for a while and shared her inspiring story and allowed us to pray for her. Please read these words carefully and note her incredible faith. Please keep this family and her church community in your prayers. We have been privileged to meet and be invited into some of these lives and we now have a responsibility to lift them up in prayer.
Q – How many children do you have?
A – I have 4 kids, 2 boys and 2 girls.
Q – How old are they?
A – They are 10, 7, 6, and 4.
Q – How long have you been in Lebanon?
A – We have been here for 13 months since we were in Syria. From one of the worst nightmares you can ever live.
Team – “We are glad to see your husband coming to church now.”
Mary – “Yes, it looks like he doesn’t have a problem with it now.”
Q – How long have you been going to the church?
A –For some time now.
Q – What made you come?
A – I go for prayer and love. Sometimes I feel so down and then I go to church and I read the Bible and listen to the Word of God, I feel like the burden has been taken off my shoulder.
Q – So your husband has started to come to church?
A – He just started coming yesterday. He didn’t give his life to Christ yet. Just I have. I work on him. (She is laughing). Where we came from we only had one church and they would not let us go in because we were Muslims. In the Qur’an we only see that Jesus was a prophet, but I see he is more than that now that I came to Lebanon. When we first went to church we thought it would be dangerous or weird or something like that. And then when I started going to church I learned that there is nothing called religion and that religion was man made. God looks at us as individuals and not as a religion. Jesus is from the Spirit of God. And we have been told (as Muslims) that being a Christian is very bad and we should be killed. Jesus is love, Jesus is the Spirit of God that came to earth for us.
Q – Do you learn these things from the church?
A – People come to visit us and talk to us and also we learn from the church. It is both. It bothers me when some Christians come and tell us not to go to protestant church and I’m now persecuted on both sides from Muslims and Armenian Christians. I don’t care about any of it. I know the road I lived and I know it was wrong and I know what Jesus has done for me. My life was in total darkness. I lived in fear. The moment I gave my life to Christ and started walking with him, now I am walking in the light! Now it’s like I walk with blindfolds and there is a light that guides me.
(We all look at each other and are laughing and blown away at the joy that is beaming on Mary’s face)
She continues – This is the joy I have. When the cousins come to visit and see me reading in the Bible and going to church they say I’ve left Islam and now become a person that should be killed, an infidel. And they ask my husband why he would let me do this and let me change her religion. He tells them I am old enough and can make my own decision. I didn’t see anything wrong with this and if I had seen something wrong with it, I wouldn’t have taken this decision. So they try and convince me to go back to Islam. I don’t want to go back to Islam. You know, when I read the bible I don’t want anyone else to teach me because the Bible is so clear about things for me. It’s the Holy Spirit.
Q – Do you have your own bible?
A – Yes, the Old and the New Testament.
Q – And the children, what do they know?
A – The children come with me to church. Maybe God has made it special that we had to leave our home and come here to Lebanon to learn of Him. I don’t know. Maybe this is part of God’s plan so that we make this decision ourselves. If we were still in Syria and someone came and talked to us about Jesus we wouldn’t have believed them. So maybe it was God’s planning to leave everything and come here with nothing so we would have to go to the church for help. I’m grateful for what happened.
Q – How difficult has it been to come here?
A – It’s been very difficult. The most difficult part was that we never knew at any checkpoint we were crossing whether or not the checkpoint would be ISIS or another terrible group. It was very difficult to go to Damascus to do the paperwork.
Q – Is there any difficulty living here?
A – Praise God. If God is with us then we are doing ok.
(One team member then said, actually, they are very poor and not doing well at all, but this is how she sees it, she doesn’t care.)
Q – Tell us a bit about how you pay for things.
A – This place is $350. We don’t have a generator, or washing machine. We wash clothes with our hands. This cost does not include utilities. The power comes on for 2 hours a day. (She is telling us all this with a grin on her face.)
Q – Where does your husband work?
A – He does dry walling and paint. He works day to day whenever there is work. There is not much work. This is his skill from Syria as well.
Q – When you made the decision to leave how long did it take for you to get here?
A – It takes about a day to go from one village to another village because you are walking and then another day to the next village. So it took 6 days. Normally it takes 6 hours to drive to here. So it took a long time, and some of it you are running and hiding.
Q – How can we pray for you?
A – Lots of people died in our family so it’s been hard. 9 years ago my dad had a brain problem and is in the hospital, but praise God he is in Jesus’ hands. Three of my cousins have been killed. And there is war still in the area we left in Syria. Also, I go to a women’s group that needs prayer. My son (holding him in her lap) has a fever.
We prayed for her, her husband, her baby and her family. We then left this wonderful lady feeling totally blessed!