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Her Life Shattered, Ukrainian Refugee Turns to God

Emotionally shattered while recovering at a local ministry’s care center in southern Spain, Natasha prayed after losing the life she’d had in Ukraine’s second largest city.
Leaving her husband behind to defend against the Russian invasion, she and her son had walked most of the nearly 700 miles from their home in Kharkiv to the border, and from there had made it to Spain. “When they left their city, they were only carrying what they were wearing and a backpack each, so during the journey many times they thought they were going to die of the cold,” the ministry leader said.

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God Answers Prayer of North African Muslim Refugee

Living on the streets of a predominantly Muslim country in North Africa, at 18 Ahmed was already hardened from the beatings and insults he’d endured at the orphanage he’d just left. Considered nearly unemployable because he had no family background, he ate only what he stole from markets or received from charities. One night he was under the stairway of a building entrance, soaked from freezing rain and covered by cardboard, when local missionaries came upon him and asked if he needed anything. They didn’t realize they were interrupting his prayer.

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Traumatized Refugees Taught to Rely on God

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.”

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Tortured Refugee Finds Freedom amid Captivity

Armed men in a European capital tied up a Druze refugee from Saudi Arabia last year and were torturing him as they recorded videos demanding his family pay 25,000 euros (US$28,900) for his release. When Khaled cried out to God, his Muslim captors told him that if he was going to pray, he should pray like a Muslim to Allah. In the midst of his ordeal, Khaled found himself in an unexpected spiritual battle.

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Syrian’s Life Takes New Direction as Refugee

Hasan Qasim was a young, well-off businessman in a major city of Syria when police stopped him at a checkpoint five years ago. The government wanted him to rejoin the Syrian army. Qasim had completed his mandatory military service 11 years before. “They pushed me to fight again,” Qasim said. “And I didn’t want to fight.”

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Divine Encounters at EU Crossroads

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?”

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Greece Still Awash with War-Ravaged Refugees

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.

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May 12, 2022
Like most refugees from Afghanistan, Gayana lived in a broken, drafty apartment with no means to keep out the winter cold. To keep herself and her small daughter warm, she had taken the last Bibles and other free Christian literature from a stand outside a church in the Middle East with the intention of burning them in her potbelly stove. “My house was cold, and my little girl was cold,” she said. “In the evening, I took the wood and tore off the Bible pages and threw them into the stove, and they started to burn.”
May 5, 2022
Kamal had been raised to become a mosque leader in such a strict Islamic home that his religiosity alienated even other Muslims. But since seeing an online ad stating, “God loves you,” he had been reading the Bible on the internet. The university student was in crisis.
April 28, 2022
Two Christian women told a visiting leader of a native ministry in Vietnam that when they lay in bed at night, they suffered deep dread as they felt the devil’s power – a sensation of cold going from their feet to their heads, cold sweats and uncontrollable shaking. In a country where some tribal people walk on burning coals to demonstrate the power of supernatural evil, the women were desperate for deliverance from demonic attacks. “Please pray for us,” one of the women said. “We don’t know what this is.”
April 21, 2022
In the five years that local missionaries provided aid to Syrian refugees, Zainab often asked why Christians would bother to help Muslims. In his discussions with them in a Middle Eastern country, the Muslim recently insisted the Bible was corrupted by changes over the centuries – but then he had a dream that both excited and horrified him. Having experienced Christ’s love from the local workers, Zainab was eager to tell the ministry leader about the dream.
April 14, 2022
In war-ravaged Burma (Myanmar), violence and the pandemic complicate local ministry efforts at a time when they are most needed. A worker recently told a ministry leader that local missionaries and their families had to flee their homes. “He told me that he was one of three pastors who fled with their families to the forest and stayed at a cave, trying to run to a village where they could stay temporarily,” the leader said. “His son, who was 19 years old, was killed by the terrorists.”
April 7, 2022
Infection from COVID-19 is just one risk local missionaries in Latin America face as they serve the unreached and needy. While the pandemic has increased resistance as villagers fear workers from nearby areas could bring infection, spiritual warfare and persecution are prevalent and gunfire paralyzes some towns. “Armed conflicts in the towns are a problem for the mobility and security of our missionaries,” a ministry leader in Mexico said.
March 31, 2022
Ahmed was so heavy-hearted and sullen you could see it on his face the moment you looked at him, according to the leader of the local ministry offering the program. What you couldn’t see was that, as he was receiving vocational training in North Africa, Ahmed was carrying a lethal weapon. During a time set aside for a spiritual message at the training, Ahmed heard preaching that led to him revealing why he was carrying the weapon.
March 17, 2022
With unemployment at 55 percent, runaway inflation and more than 60 percent of the population in need of aid, many people in Lebanon are in despair. COVID-19 and a collapsed economy are driving some Muslims to join the Islamic State, but others are finding joy in Christ. “Joy filled the faces and the hearts of those who were getting baptized as they worshiped the Lord and presented their testimonies,” the leader of a native ministry said.
March 10, 2022
“Where are you going every Sunday – have you become a Christian?” a Muslim father in the Middle East asked his teenage son. The father had noticed him leaving the house each Sunday. The boy knew that his answer would lead to punishment and possible expulsion from his home. “I knew I couldn’t deny my heavenly Father – I was aware that if I denied my heavenly Father, I would lose eternal life with Him,” he said.
March 3, 2022
Muslim villagers in West Africa saw a local missionary as someone who could bring shame on their families by steering relatives away from Islam. Others found his teaching laughable. Laughing or scorning, the villagers took a dim view of Christians and Christianity in a country where Islamic extremist violence against churches was on the rise. The brutal murder of the worker marked a turning point in the community attitude toward Christians.
February 17, 2022
Depressed since her marriage started to sour a few years ago, 32-year-old Ximena Flores suffered steady deterioration of her mental health, cementing her husband’s desire for separation. A schoolteacher with a 5-year-old daughter, Flores’ condition worsened when the COVID-19 pandemic forced her to teach online from home – where the sources of stress and conflict overlapped with work challenges. “Someone told me that there was another teacher who was a Christian and could help me,” Flores said. “She told me Jesus is the answer, and I said, ‘How?’”
February 10, 2022
Police in Laos recently summoned the residents of six villages to make this announcement: “Since Christianity is a Western religion, any child under the age of 17 is not allowed to believe in Jesus.” “They later made a threat,” a native ministry leader said, “that if they found any Christians gathered in groups of five people or more, they would be nailed by their hands and feet, and then shot to death.”
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