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.
Arman* had fled military conflict in Iraqi Kurdistan with his young son and was living in a refugee camp. After the Bible study and discussion at the home of one of the native ministry’s interpreters, the group leader asked the Kurdish refugee if they could pray for him.
Arman said yes but was shocked when those praying for him referred to Jesus Christ as God.
“His eyes got big, and he spoke about this,” an assistant director of the native ministry said, recalling how Arman objected to referring to any man as God. “We said, ‘OK, so let’s ask God to reveal himself to you.’”
Arman had been homeless when he first arrived at the ministry office, and the local missionaries initially put him up in a hotel before they managed to find a place for him at a refugee camp. A few days after the Bible study, he showed up at the ministry office again and told the interpreter he had dreamt about Christ, the assistant director said.
Arman told him that someone came to him in his dream and said, “I am Jesus – you need to get clean. Your son is clean, but you are dirty. You need to get clean. Go to [the ministry director], and he will wash you.”
And so he had come to the ministry office, Arman told the intrepreter. The interpreter was surprised, as Arman hadn’t had much contact with the director (unnamed for security reasons), and they spoke different languages – the director Arabic, and Arman Sorani.
He met with the director, and they had their first discussions about God. Arman was skeptical of Christ’s claim in the New Testament that He and the Father were one, and that those who had seen Him had seen the Father.
He later showed up at the ministry center again, however, looking for explanation of another dream.
“He was in a place where it was raining, and then it started to snow, and everything was dirty,” the assistant director said, recalling the dream. “He was there with his son in the filth, and he saw someone coming to hug his son. But this figure was like the light. He couldn’t see a face. He hugged his son and told him that now he was clean.”
The figure of light lifted his son up and placed him in a house that apparently belonged to Arman, the assistant director said.
“Then He turned to Arman and told him, ‘Now it’s your turn. Go to [the director] and ask to get cleaned.’”
Although the director did not speak his language, the dreams pointed to him as the one who would guide Arman through the steps of repentance and salvation, the director said.
“Arman came to ask for more information, and after teaching him, we led him to the Lord,” he said.
The refugee began coming regularly to Sunday church services.
“About two weeks after we led Arman to the Lord, he and his son came again to the office to spend some time with us and to learn more about the Lord,” the director said. “We had an exceptional opportunity to lead his son, 10 years old, to the Lord. We all enjoyed the presence of the Holy Spirit, and we became witnesses of the young boy surrendering himself to Jesus.”
Up til that moment, the boy appeared so shy that they could barely hear his voice, he said.
“To our delight, it was the first time that we heard him speak with such a loud and stable voice, inviting Jesus into his life,” the director said.
Besides the twice weekly Bible studies at the ministry facility, local missionaries offer intensive training in discipleship every six weeks.
They undertake visits to refugee camps for Bible studies with various groups twice a month, and for studies at the ministry facility they sometimes pay for refugees’ transport to the office or pick them up in their own vehicles.
Of the 50,000 refugees in Greece, 40,000 are living in reception centers built to accommodate only 6,000, according to the International Rescue Committee. They are also facing an increasingly hostile society, especially on the islands of Lesbos, Samos and Chios, whose people are targeting them and even aid workers in attacks, according to IRC.
The native ministry on mainland Greece was able to provide food and housing for Arman and his son when they first arrived, and local missionaries spend much of their days trying to meet urgent physical needs – from diapers and baby formula to interpreters accompanying them to doctors and hospitals – of the constant influx of refugees from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and other countries, the director said.
Workers also help refugees get their children registered for school, obtain tax numbers and apply for asylum. Please consider a donation today to equip local missionaries in Greece zealous to help physically desperate and spiritually troubled refugees.
*Name changed for security reasons