Testimony of Transformation in the Middle East
Here is a testimony from a house church planting movement in the Middle East that SOM is able to support from your participation, we pray you are encouraged.
My name is Nazir. I grew up as a Muslim from the Middle East. My parents did not care about me because living in the Middle East is very difficult, so people regret bearing children. One day my mother stepped on a bomb that my father had in our house. She lost both of her ankles and one of her wrists and became disabled. I remember growing up and how she would punish me severely. Since she was disabled, even as a young boy, I started to abuse her every day. I would beat her with wood and I loved beating because I was beaten every day of my life. My teacher at school would beat me, once so hard that I couldn’t even stand on my two feet for a week.
From my early childhood experiences, engaging in violence, persecuting and killing people grew in my heart. I was beating everyone I could and when I was 15, I voluntarily went to war and I joined a guerrilla group. I loved to kill and killing made me calm down. One day there was a war in the mountain and so we went there. They gave me mortar bombs to take out the people and the rest of my group left. Most of the time I was using hash, that night I used hash and started using these mortar bombs to destroy a village nearby in that mountain. I didn’t know if they were enemies or friends, but I used 50 bombs there and I destroyed that village with its citizens who were men, women and children. I was laughing when I was doing it. The morning after that night we went to that village and there were a few people who survived. Where I live, there are no special principles for war, the one who has the most weapons is the winner and no one can ask why you destroyed a place. There is always an excuse for killing. That morning I saw the extent of the destruction I did to that village and I was very happy as I had killed so many people.
Pray for the Middle East
After years I decided to come to another place in the Middle East for work and I left the war. I married and I have three children now. I was still bloodthirsty and there was no one to kill so I started to misbehave and began to abuse my wife and children. I would beat them with electrical wires and they couldn’t stay on their feet for two or three days. My wife was depressed and once I decide to throw my children who were two and four years old, down from the fifth floor of my apartment. I hung them over the edge, but I couldn’t throw them down. Something stopped me.
I have a nine year old daughter named Fereshteh. She was working in the subway and once she came home with a couple that she met there. They started talking to my wife about God.
I couldn’t trust Middle Eastern people because they had hurt me very much. They came to our house for two months and talked about a God who I had never heard about. I didn’t pay attention and I hoped they would stop coming by, but they were coming once a week and brought my children clothes and food and helped them learn their lessons.
In those days, I was using crack and it calmed me down, but my body was full of worms. One day I thought this couple had something I hadn’t seen yet. Our new friend’s love was so strong, that the love made me give up using crack and I only used hash. I told them hash was from God and makes me nearer to God.
My friends were bringing us stories about God. I felt God’s love in those stories and I found out how God wants me to live and why he created men.
God’s love and my new knowledge about him affected my heart and one day we read about Jesus Christ. In the story about Jesus and Nicodemus, Jesus says you must believe in me and be born again. That night God awakened me. I went to my wife and apologized for the injustice I had done towards her and kissed my children and told them I am born again and want to love my family. I was crying for hours.
Now I believe that Jesus died on the cross for my sins and after three days he was raised from the dead. One night I saw a dream and God showed me what He wants me to do. (I always wished I would go back to my home and start a war and kill.) God showed me I will go there and gather weapons away from the people and preach the message of peace to groups of people I know. I will talk about Jesus Christ and share His stories. I will talk about stories with groups of warriors and gather all Islamic teachers of my country and read the stories for them so they can experience transformation in their life and know the real God.
I have been a believer for 2 months now and my family has come to Christ as well. I have found healing with my wife although there are still times I get angry, but I can control it much better now. We are learning more stories about forgiveness and patience. My obedience to the Lord is to love my wife like the Lord loves me. That was my obedience lesson from last week.
I no longer hit my kids. It has gone from 100% of the time to now 2% of the time and it will get less as God continues to work in my heart. I had one relapse with crystal meth 2 weeks ago, but I have decided not to smoke again and I have been clean for 2 weeks.
My wife is a believer and we are moving forward very carefully. We know that Jesus Christ is the Lord and the Lord gave me a vision, but unfortunately we cannot read and write, so we are learning how read and write now. We have the help of our daughter to tell stories to others as we are now discipling new people about Jesus Christ.
Pray for God to open up more hearts in the Muslim World
Even though I still have anger issues and want to fight sometimes, now when I get angry I struggle with saying hurtful things, but I don’t get physical anymore. I have been touched by the love of God and I am trying to love everyone around me. I have joy in sharing these stories with other Middle Eastern people. I have been changed into a man of peace and I am sharing the Gospel wherever I go in my community.
I am working as a butcher and it is very difficult, I work from 12 in the afternoon to midnight. I am ministering in the morning and so I lose a lot of sleep because of ministry.
Praise God for His love and peace that has changed me and my family and the lives of others around us. All glory goes to Jesus Christ from whom all blessings flow.
SOM is able to financially support this network of Muslim Background Believers in Jesus in the Middle East. They are living martyrs of love and witnessing the transformation of faith in Jesus Christ to others. Nazir and other house church believers thank the SOM partners and supporters for their love and help during this critical time and growth of the Church in the Muslim world. Ex-Muslims in the Middle East are now in danger of being put to death and persecuted for the name of Jesus. However, they express feeling more at peace, secure and safe than they ever felt in their previous lives of sin. Thank you for continuing to keep the growing Church in the Middle East in your prayers. Click here if you would like to support God’s Kingdom work in the Middle East.