Exclusive stories from the mission field
A young man in Iraq, Sami, and his father were descended from multiple generations of historic Christians, but during occupation by Islamist militants they had been forcibly converted to Islam. Such converts have trouble showing loyalty to a new caliphate, often refusing to join the fight to establish and expand it. Both men were subjected to torture; Sami told native missionaries in Europe that his father died trying to save him from the militants.
A Christian ministry in Greece helped a traumatized refugee mother from the Middle East obtain an appointment with a psychologist, but she also wanted to speak woman-to-woman with one of the ministry’s two directors. The refugee had left her four children, ages 4 to 13, behind. “She left her country running, trying to rescue herself,” the director said. “Her kids didn’t blame her.”
Two Kurdish men who had fled hardships in southeastern Turkey surprised local missionaries in Greece when they eyed books on the refugee ministry’s shelves and asked, “What are these?” When workers answered that they were Bibles, one of the men asked if there were any copies in Turkish. “I am interested to know more about God,” the refugee said. “Can you teach me?”
Before the novel coronavirus struck, a Muslim refugee accepted an invitation to come to a native ministry’s Bible study at a home in Greece.
At a gathering of refugees in Greece, a native missionary’s message about hospitality and serving others struck a note with a new Christian sharing a large tent with 10 other families.
Three years after Greece signed an agreement with Turkey to discourage refugees from trampolining off Turkey to Greece, Greek facilities for receiving them are still overwhelmed – prolonging the crisis. Many of the newcomers are disillusioned with Islam and open to the gospel. Most refugees in Greece today come from Afghanistan, including Muslims who must avoid hard-line neighbors finding out they are learning about Christ.