Salvations, Persecution, Hope and Hardship
The dichotomy between hope and hopelessness here is incredible. Before coming to the refugee camp here the word God gave me was, “I shine brightest in the dark.” This has proven completely true. Many days our hearts feel torn from our chest as we help people or listen to their stories, many days as we walk through the camp and the slums we can’t help but feel hopeless and helpless, yet we press on and rely on our great Hope, Jesus. We take time for the one He puts in front of us and help them one at a time.
There are 4 young men who have recently given their life to Him. They immediately began sharing the truth in the refugee camp. They began receiving death threats for this, one of four friends husband started keeping a close eye on them. One night we received a message from one of the boys, “David* and Emel* have been stabbed.” Our friend’s husband immediately went into the camp around midnight to try and find the boys and we stayed back and prayed for them, prayed they would survive. The boys had been coming from the restroom when a group of masked men jumped them and it was apparently a very violent fight. The masked men shamed them for their faith as they attacked them. Thankfully the boys were found and taken to the hospital and then to a safe zone and they all survived and are recovering. The violence here is brutal and the refugees say this is the worst part of Moria camp.
Please pray for these four boys and for others persecuted in this camp. Pray for protection, their faith to remain, for forgiveness and mercy and the persecutors to encounter Him!
New Family Members!
Our global family gained new members this month!
One afternoon we went to the Christian center here where many gather to get warm chai and shelter from the cold. We sat with a group of three women and listened to their stories. As one woman, Fatma*, shared I felt God speak that she consistently had thoughts that God has forgotten her, forgotten her children and that perhaps he is not real. I shared this with her and then spoke that God does see her, that He has not forgotten her, that He loves her. She began weeping and we prayed with her. We then called over an Iranian pastor and He clearly shared the truth with her. As He shared the word with her a small child came over and curled up in my lap and fell asleep. His mother, Aria *, came over to take him but her attention was caught as the Iranian pastor shared the truth. She ended up sitting and listening.
Fatma responded quickly and gave her life to Him! As the mother, Aria *, watched the other Afghan woman give her life she called her husband and children over. After we finished with Fatma *, we went into a separate room and Aria’s* whole family gave their life! We have seen each of these individuals several times since that day and the physical change that has occurred in them leaves me awestruck!
This is the greatest miracle and the greatest thing we could see!
New Years Eve
We partnered with a local NGO here and an Iranian couple who are pastors in Germany to gather as many people as we could to feed them, worship and watch the Jesus film. The room was packed full and those helping host and cook became extremely concerned we did not have enough and that we needed to turn people away. We spoke in faith that we can welcome in as many people as possible and trust God to feed them all. Sure enough, even when the pots were almost empty from food the food kept coming. We had more than enough and even a little leftover for the volunteers to eat!
About an hour before midnight we were called into a back room where a young Afghan woman, Fara*, was laying down sobbing in pain. We began praying for her and thankfully she came into a more peaceful state and most of the pain left, however, she was extremely sick and we knew we needed to take action. We called her husband, Ahmed*, in to get more information. She had been sick like this for weeks and he had taken her to the hospital many times but the hospital kept sending her away saying it was just PTSD. We took a moment to pray and felt that this woman could not spend the night in her tiny tent in the cold refugee camp and that we would take her in for the night. Her husband agreed but became terrified about spending the night alone in the camp. This is justified as the camp becomes very violent at night. I instantly felt peace in my spirit and that even though we only have a one-room flat to take both the husband and wife in for the night. When we brought them into our home and gave them a bed the wife instantly fell asleep so I gave the husband a picture Bible in Farsi. He proceeded to spend almost 3 hours reading the word of God!
The next day we took them to the hospital and fought with doctors for many hours to test her for pneumonia which she did in fact have. She was treated and while we waited we were also able to help many other refugees get care. One woman came in having bad seizures and the doctors would not help her. We laid hands on her and she was healed! We got a hotel room for Ahmed and Fara* for a few days so she could recover and they’ve become dear friends to us now.
Abuse and Honor Killings
Yesterday we helped a young 16-year-old girl, Mariam*, who’s in severe danger. She was on the way from Iran with her uncle and aunt and their son (her parents are back in Iran) when she was raped by a guy in Turkey. She became pregnant and her aunt and uncle were furious and beat her so bad the baby died, something very common for Afghan women to experience at least once in their life. They began threatening to kill her and her parents have disowned her saying she’s brought great shame to the family. She has been here in Moriah camp for about a month and every day the beatings and threats of an honor killing grow worse. Daily she is beaten, and assaulted by her uncle.
Those in neighboring tents say they often hear her scream and cry out. We heard about this young girl through two Iranian pastors who were briefly ministering here. We met up with this young girl in the camp today and she had a bloody lip from being hit last night. This sweet girl was shaking and had so much fear in her eyes.
The major dilemma is that her story is common here in Moriah camp and even though there is a safe zone for women and girls like her in the camp it is currently packed. This means that no one could help her until next week but the young girl was far too afraid to return to her tent and the reality that she could be killed any day was overwhelming. We stood for hours with a translator on the phone and workers of the camp trying to convince them to help her today and asking the Lord what we ought to do.
Naturally, because these workers hear these stories daily it’s challenging to be compassionate, not only this but there are thousands of women in similar situations waiting to get into the safe zone. The three of us, myself, my German friend and a young woman from a Mennonite ministry we partner with, felt strongly that today this young girl was the “one”. Just as Jesus left the 99 to find the one we believe that in the face of overwhelming need the best you can do is stop and help and love the one God’s put in front of you. After hours of talking it became clear that organizations in the camp would do nothing for her until next week. The young girl said she would not go back home though so we began discussing taking her into our flat. The issue with this is that it’s illegal as she is a minor, we could be charged with kidnapping, her family could find our flat and put many more of us in danger and it could cause issues for the NGO’s here.
After trying everything, many meetings and phone calls we prayed and several of us felt clearly to take her to a local Christian center despite the risks. We drove her to the local Christian center in town and sure enough, this act caught the attention of the NGOs and
aid workers here. God used it to show them this girl really needed help today. We were
able to pass her off to an aid worker and they spent the whole day with police creating a report so they can legally remove her from her tent and aunt and uncle.
Late that night we received a text that she made it into the safe zone! This is all thanks to a Mennonite group we have been working alongside here and one amazing woman we
passed this teenager along to! I feel overwhelmed, celebrating all God did today to save this girl’s life and to show her that He sees her, He protects her.
Thank you for your prayers and support on this journey. Not only have you blessed me but you have left a lasting impression on the refugees here in Greece. Together we have sown into the lives of Afghans and Iranians, God is truly encountering them, keep praying for physical and spiritual provision.