Refuge in Community: Help for Persecuted Christians
Nadir* is a refugee living with his family in a Middle Eastern country. He and his family fled their home country when their lives were being threatened because of their Christian faith. Through the generosity of a Nazarene church in his new neighborhood, Nadir found support, provision for his family’s basic needs, and education for his children.
This is Nadir’s story:
I met Christ in 2006. I had a childhood friend who became a believing Christian, and I saw a great change in his life. He gave me a New Testament and asked me to read in it. After giving my life to Christ, my life changed 180 degrees.
I started going to a church with my Christian friend. I saw love and forgiveness.
After a while, I could not hide my faith. When my father-in-law, a fundamentalist, heard about my conversion, he came and took my wife and kids to live with him. I lost all contact with my family.
I was in the army, and when they found out I was going to church, they sent me on a mission. Armed people shot directly at us. The driver was killed, but I survived. The church told me to leave [the country].
I went to [a neighboring country]. While there, I was able to contact my wife. I was waiting for permission to enter [another country]. I was not allowed to work, and I was passing through a very hard time. My money was spent and I was eating only rice and water for a long time. On my last month there, my [home] church sent me money for rent. At the end I sold a gold ring I had, and I returned with the money to [my home country].
My wife loved me a lot, and I did not want to ask her to believe in Christ because I did not want her to believe for me but for Christ. I used to leave Christian books for her to read. She started to ask me questions. Then, in 2009 she came to faith. We now faced a new problem because we were afraid that our kids would speak about Christ in the school and face danger.
After a while, some of our powerful relatives placed me in jail. Jail was terrible with beatings happening every day and sorry living conditions. Yet God was with me, and through many miracles I was kept alive, and what is more, two people with me in prison accepted Christ.
I left prison in June 2011. Four days before leaving prison, I was speaking with my wife on the phone. Her father heard her speaking with me and mentioning the name of Jesus. He threatened to kill her in brutal ways. Therefore, when I left prison, we immediately left our house with only our clothes on us and went to a nearby town.
During the summer of 2013, I was still in contact with one of my sisters who was still speaking to me and was near faith. She told me that my father in law had discovered our location through Facebook, which was my mistake. He announced that he wanted to kill his daughter, my wife.
God saved us and once more we left in a few days. We escaped to [our current country]. There, a Nazarene brother gave us an apartment. We are still there to this day.
I cannot forget the work of the Nazarene school. When my children came, they were very sad and stressed. In our last days in our home country my kids were terrified and would spend their hours hiding. The Nazarene school has changed their emotional state, and now they have many friends. The administration also took them for free and treated them in a professional and kind way. I am not allowed to work in this country, but I have applied for asylum with the UN.
The thing that gives me the most joy is the work of the school with my kids. The work they did was miraculous, and I thank the Lord for them every day, everywhere.
As we pray together for peace in the Middle East, local churches are living compassion in their communities, even when they are placed at great risk. As they minister to individuals and families who’ve crossed their borders in search of safety and freedom from violence and oppression, these congregations are living out Christ’s call to love and serve in tangible ways.
This year, NCM's Christmas Project will provide education for children who have been displaced. If you would like to support churches in the Middle East in their efforts to care for others, you can send children to school through the NCM Christmas Project or provide immediate help for persecuted Christians.
*This story is true, but the name has been changed and the places have not been identified in order to protect the safety of “Nadir” and his family.