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War-Hardened Refugees in Turkey Learn of Love

In his refugee tent in Turkey, a Muslim father of two was talking with native missionaries who had just given him tarps to help keep out the rain. He wanted to know why they were doing it.

The Turkish ministry leader realized the refugee believed they would expect something in return for helping them. He needed to put him at ease.

“Who are you?” said the refugee, a schoolteacher in his native Syria. “We never heard that we should help unbelievers. If we had the chance, our priority would be to kill you.”

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Displaced Muslims in Iraq Struggle to Recover

Five years ago, a Muslim family man in northern Iraq believed Christians were misguided and that Islam was the solution to the world’s problems.

When Islamic State (ISIS) militants took over his town in the Nineveh plains, he rejoiced that Islamic law would finally be implemented.

Within a month, ISIS forces had beaten his sister and mother on the street and killed his brother.

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Muslim Refugees Know Christians by their Fruits

The leader of a native ministry in Turkey was shocked when a wealthy Muslim friend told him he was planning to buy a Syrian refugee girl as a slave. The leader’s friend told him, “In a few weeks I’m going to go down to the camps. I have a wealthy old friend who bought a young Syrian girl and made her his second wife; I was going to go pick one for myself.”

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A Life Condemned to Darkness Finds Light

After shelling in Aleppo, Syria wiped out her entire community, destroying her home and killing relatives outside of her immediate family, Jana lived in depression for five years as a refugee in Lebanon. Jana and her husband had never lacked anything in the life that was shattered in Aleppo, but in Lebanon they struggled to keep their five children fed and clothed. When a friend brought Jana to a prayer meeting at a church established by native missionaries, it did not solve all her problems. But she did gain a new perspective when she gave her life to Christ.

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Displaced Refugees Driven to Remote Wasteland

Some were driven from their tents or slum dwellings by surly Turkish neighbors, some saw the government bulldoze their tents. For one reason or another, the Syrian refugees were no longer welcome in the city in southern Turkey where they had lived for years since fleeing the atrocities of their war-ravaged country.

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Opening Young Hearts to Know Jesus in Turkey

When the director of an indigenous Christian ministry in Turkey was a small boy, his Muslim family used to watch the television show, “Little House on the Prairie.” “They were so kind to one another, and spoke so nicely about one another, that my mother once said, ‘Look how nice these infidels are to one another,'” he said.

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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 24, 2022
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.
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 24, 2022
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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