Although I was born to a family of the majority background and grew up in Syria, I had an extraordinary attachment to the church and loved being among Christians. I loved the sound of the church bells ringing from the church near my home, while the morning call for prayer from the mosque made me feel insecure and often caused me to cry. I also loved attending church with my Christian neighbors, lighting candles, observing communion and praying with them.
Suddenly, the war in Syria erupted, and much hatred rose from a fundamentalist group. This group became more powerful and took over; implementing their religious law. They killed, kidnapped, and raped women and children. They stole the belongings of those following other religions. My resentment of this religious group grew. I continually compared this majority religion to Christianity. I found love and forgiveness in Christianity and began learning from Jesus’ teachings. In my mind, I repeated the verse, “Love your enemies ….” However, I didn’t dare tell anyone what I was thinking and experiencing. I was afraid of my family’s reaction and afraid the radical militants would kill me.
One day, while I was alone in the house, a stranger came in and attacked me. He accused me of being against the Syrian regime. He put a knife to my throat. I was horrified and began calling upon Jesus to help and save me. I told Jesus I loved Him and asked for His protection over me. Then, suddenly, I felt Jesus near me, protecting me. I received a strange strength in my body, pushed the criminal away and ran outside, screaming for help.
After this event, I was discouraged and depressed. The depression continued until one night when I saw Jesus in my dream. He had His back to me, and I asked to see His face. He turned, and all I saw was light. When I woke up, I felt His presence in my life. But I was afraid to share this experience and speak to my family about Christ. One thing had become evident: I felt the need to leave. I told my parents I wished to leave and go somewhere more secure. They agreed and encouraged me to go. Iended up in Iraq. There I met with some pastors. They listened to my story and encouraged me to become a Christian. They helped me learn more about becoming a follower of Jesus, and I asked to be baptized.
I am grateful for the grace of Jesus and how He put people in my life to help me grow in faith. Now, I pray I can share my faith in Jesus with my family and that they will be saved.
Photo: Ahmed Elnokrashy on Unsplash. Photo is not the actual person