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MIDDLE EAST: Refugee Remains Faithful Amid Hardships

MIDDLE EAST: Refugee Remains Faithful Amid Hardships

Abdallah, a Syrian refugee in Lebanon, holds fast to his Christian faith despite suffering unemployment, homelessness and persecution from Muslim family members.

Although his father was a committed teacher of Islam, Abdallah was attracted to Christianity at an early age. He said he resisted his first visit to a mosque, which left him with a feeling of “fire coming from my face … as if evils were in front of me.”

Abdallah purchased his first Bible after his father died, but his mother did not approve. “When my 90-year-old mother saw the Bible, she fainted,” he said. His brothers threw the Bible away and forced him to take a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia. Then, when war broke out in Syria in 2011, the family moved to Lebanon, where Abdallah bought another Bible.

He has had difficulty finding work, however, because of his Christian faith. “Even though I have many problems, I decided to get baptised one year ago,” Abdallah said. “I have really faced many hard situations and I became homeless, but I will never leave my faith.”

Source: The Voice of the Martyrs USA

  • Thank God for the way He has worked in Abdallah’s life. Pray the Lord will provide all his needs and continue to strengthen him spiritually.
  • Pray the Lord will use Abdallah’s testimony as a powerful witness for the Gospel in his local area and beyond. Pray for his protection.
  • Commit to the Lord Abdallah’s family members and pray for their salvation.

Post your prayer in the comments below.

A Family Pays for a Father’s Apostasy

A Family Pays for a Father’s Apostasy

When Ramzi converted to Christianity from Islam about eight years ago, the persecution he faced in his Middle Eastern country started out small. Muslims would call him names, including ‘infidel’ and he received frequent threats.

Then, as the former sheikh began boldly sharing the Gospel and leading Muslims to Christ, he was occasionally attacked and beaten, which he expected as a follower of Jesus. What he didn’t expect was seeing his 15-year-old son, Samee, lying unconscious in an intensive care unit after being violently attacked simply because his father refused to deny Christ.

“Before we really knew what condition he was in, we knew that the Lord was with us and we didn’t feel anger,” Ramzi said.

“Of course there was crying, but there was not anger. I feel like the Lord took my anger. I had been praying at the hospital, ‘Lord, I am giving You my son and whatever happens to him with the doctors, it is up to You.’”

As Samee had been walking through his village the morning of Saturday 19 March 2016, a man on a motorbike struck him from behind, leaving him for dead on the side of the road. Neighbours who saw the incident rushed Samee to hospital, where he remained unconscious for three days. After regaining consciousness, he underwent several surgeries to repair his arm, which was broken in three places. He also suffered multiple cuts and bruises and lost hearing in his left ear.

Ramzi knew the attack was in response to his own refusal to renounce his faith when confronted by 60 village elders and sheikhs. Many people encouraged him to report the incident to authorities and sue the attacker in court. Instead, he made a phone call.

“The day the guy ran my son over and put him in the hospital, I called him up – I knew who he was – and said, ‘I am forgiving you’,” Ramzi said. “The guy was very surprised; he remained silent and didn’t say anything. I am confident that if someday I get to see him again, that he will come to faith in Christ.” Ramzi’s wife, Palma, had a harder time putting it behind her. “It was really difficult,” she said. “Here is my son in the hospital. He is broken and I am his mother, but because of our faith we have to forgive.”

A police officer eventually came to the hospital to investigate the attack on Samee, but Ramzi didn’t want to press charges. He wanted only for his son to be healed and God to be glorified.

As serious as the attack on Samee was, it wasn’t the only persecution the family endured. One night a mob surrounded their home, throwing rocks and smashing their windows. Even as rocks were hitting the house, Ramzi climbed up on the roof to pray for God’s protection and for those who were throwing the stones. “I wanted to see my attackers’ faces,” he said.

Sometime later, the mob returned to attack both Ramzi’s house and that of his brother. Islamic extremists sprayed the houses with bullets before setting them on fire.

In 2017, Voice of the Martyrs helped Ramzi’s family relocate to a new city, where Samee continues to recover from his injuries. VOM helps the family pay rent and other living expenses, as well as ongoing medical costs. “You are an example of love,” Ramzi said about VOM and its supporters.

Ramzi continues to grow as a leader and encourages from afar the groups of believers he used to lead. He and his family are thankful to continue their ministry and experience the blessings of a new community of believers.

“As it became much more difficult for us to endure the persecution, the grace of God increased with it,” Ramzi said. “But there came a point where we could not continue. When we couldn’t walk any more, we came out and the Lord gave us family … a family of faith. [The persecution] was nothing compared to how the Lord Jesus Christ suffered on our behalf.”

Although Ramzi and his family have experienced great pain and loss, they know God is with them and that He will help them face whatever may lie ahead.

“The grace of God is so great in our lives,” he said. “It is without boundaries. Everything that happened truly was hard, but we are not upset. We are happy because God has chosen us, so we have given our lives completely to Him. Before, we were living in a life of darkness and a life of ignorance. After we came to faith in Christ, we experienced joy like we have never experienced before. We see something new every day.”

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MIDDLE EAST: Former Muslim now Following Christ

MIDDLE EAST: Former Muslim now Following Christ

Pastor ‘Abraham’ works in an area with a high concentration of Syrian refugees. He often struggled with fear when sharing the Gospel with Muslims, but then he had an experience where the Lord told him not to fear.

Soon after that, ‘Fadi’, a Syrian man who once associated with extremist Muslims, came to see him. When he arrived at Abraham’s home, Abraham boldly told Fadi that Islam was inspired by Satan. Abraham then walked closer to him and said, “God is here beside you now. He is putting his hand on your shoulder, asking you, ‘What do you want?’” “I want salvation,” Fadi answered. Abraham shared the Gospel with Fadi and prayed with him. He soon came to faith in Christ, and four months ago, Abraham baptised Fadi.

Fadi and his wife, also now a Christian, share God’s love in their refugee camp.

Source: The Voice of the Martyrs USA

  • Thank the Lord for the faithfulness of Pastor Abraham, in sharing the Gospel even though he has been fearful.
  • Pray that Fadi’s powerful testimony will draw many Muslims, including other extremists, into a relationship with Jesus.
  • Pray the Holy Spirit may be at work in a miraculous way in drawing Muslims to Christ, throughout the Middle East.

 

MIDDLE EAST: TERRORIST TURNS TO JESUS

MIDDLE EAST: TERRORIST TURNS TO JESUS

The woman sought “Samuel” out. Samuel’s team came to the area a couple of times every month to distribute food aid to the thousands of Syrian refugees spread out across Lebanon’s countryside. The refugees live in very rough conditions with little opportunity for work or school. Over the years, Samuel’s team developed many friendships with the mostly Muslim refugees, giving the team many opportunities to share Jesus’ love with them.

“Hanan” heard about the Christians through friends and invited the team to come to her house. A widow in her 40s, Hanan lived with her mother and other older female relatives in one of the Lebanese fields where Syria refugees have made their homes in makeshift buildings. Her adult children had gone to Turkey early in the conflict, but Hanan and the older female relatives stayed. When the daily bombings in their village finally destroyed their home, they fled to the Lebanese fields.

During their first meeting with Hanan and the women, the team showed them the JESUS film. “I talked with them about God’s love and presented the Gospel,” Samuel said. After the film, Hanan’s mother, a woman in her 80s, and the other older women began to cry. “They had never heard anything about the Gospel and Jesus Christ,” said Samuel.

With tears in their eyes, the family prayed with the team, and Samuel and the others began to visit them twice a month. Samuel felt a special bond with the family, because they came from the same province as his father’s family. Every other week, they studied the Bible together, and Samuel taught them how Bible stories could change their lives. He gave Hanan a New Testament, and she began reading it consistently.

PRAY

  • That God will raise up more people like Samuel who are willing to reach out and share the Gospel of God’s love to a people suffering from the effects of war
  • May those who have committed their lives to Jesus, pray they will remain strong in their faith
  • Ask God to use Muslim Background Believers to share the knowledge of who He is with others

Source: The Voice of the Martyrs USA

MIDDLE EAST: “Thousands Coming to Christ!”

MIDDLE EAST: “Thousands Coming to Christ!”

An encouraging message from Arabic broadcasters in the Middle East….
Despite the mass exodus of many Christians, the church is far from empty in Syria, Iraq, Jordan and other parts of the Middle East. God has been very faithful. There are strong Christian believers remaining, and tremendous growth is taking place in the lives of new believers who were Muslims.

The presence of the church is vitally important. People are desperate and see very little hope, but the fact that there still is a church gives them encouragement and hope.

Historically, Middle Eastern Christians have made significant contributions for the good of society, especially in Syria and Iraq, going all the way back to the first century. Their contributions include working in the areas of health, literacy and the translation of the Bible into Arabic. They were among the first to introduce charitable works and work with missionaries and NGO workers. They are often recognised as the most honest when it comes to business and trade. In the future, Christians will be vital to maintain diversity and ensure sustainable peace and lasting stability in the Middle East.

We are in regular contact with our FM stations in Iraq and have talked with many people who have family in the Middle East. Some of our Middle Eastern broadcasters have shared testimonies with us (which they hear directly from listeners when visiting there). They are sharing exciting news of what God is doing in the Middle East. There are thousands upon thousands coming to Christ. May the Lord be praised and worshipped with great honour! He is worthy!

Source: Voice of the Martyrs Canada

 Prayer Points

  • Praise our Lord God who uses strife and unrest to bring good by revealing Himself to many (Genesis 50:20).
  • Commit to the Lord those who are working in the Middle East to share the Gospel including pastors, evangelists, aid workers and those involved in Christian broadcasting.
  • Pray many Christians who have left will have the opportunity to return to their homes and help to rebuild.