Having spent the first 18 years of his life in an orphanage, Ahmed* was released into an African society that viewed orphans as cursed.
He was living on the streets of a predominantly Muslim country in North Africa, already hardened from the beatings and insults he’d endured at the orphanage. Having no job skills and despised as someone with no family background, he ate only what he stole from markets or received from charities, and he slept in abandoned buildings or under bridges.
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 to God.
“Right away he told us that he had not eaten in several days, so we took him out to eat, got him new clothes, and our local missionary took him to his home to sleep,” the ministry leader said.
Later, they learned that his mother had left him at the orphanage shortly after birth, and Ahmed told them what he had been praying when they found him: “My God, I have no one in this world, only You can help me. I know I don’t deserve your help, but I have been taught that You are merciful, please help me.”
“We told him that we were the angels God had sent to him, that he was not an orphan and that God wanted to take him as His son through Jesus,” the leader said. “He cried, and days later he received Jesus as his Savior.”
Now Ahmed had the best Father he could imagine, the leader said, and as workers discipled him, he became a faithful Christian with no fear of speaking to Muslims about Jesus. He talked about Christ with a Muslim friend from the same orphanage, Ayoub, who had recently been released.
“Even though he listened to talk about God and Jesus, Ayoub did not make a decision to follow Him,” said the leader, whose European-based ministry serves many refugees from Africa, among other troubled areas. “He was paralyzed by fear of his friends and the consequences – Islam makes you fear being condemned if you don’t follow the prophet’s rituals.”
The leader later visited Ahmed and Ayoub at the local missionary’s home in the North African country, where Ayoub told him the worker was like a father to him. The leader said he asked Ayoub, “If you say he is your father because he helped you, and because you live with him, why do you despise your Father God?”
“Ayoub thought about it, and later that day he gave his life to his adoptive Father God,” the leader said.
Recently the two young men were able to cross into European territory with a group of Muslims from their country. When the others learned the two refugees were Christians, however, they shunned them, refused to share food with them and beat Ahmed several times – and threatened to kill him, the leader said.
“His life was in great danger, real danger,” he said. “Ahmed could not sleep because he feared he would be murdered while sleeping, so they asked me for help.”
The leader had been praying for a young man to help him work with young Muslims at the ministry’s refugee center in Europe.
“God was answering my prayer,” the leader said. “The only thing left to do was to use my contacts through our refugee center and rescue the two young men.”
Ahmed has begun helping to minister to other refugees in Christ’s name. Besides providing food and other aid, the center provides a refuge for persecuted Christians, binding physical and emotional wounds and saving lives, the leader said.
“Ahmed’s life is an example of a life transformed by the gospel, of young Christian men being willing to pay the price of persecution and risk of death,” he said. “Thank you to everyone that has been helping our ministry with refugees. Your support is helping us save souls from lies and bringing them to the freedom of the truth in Jesus Christ.”
The ministry received 120 new refugees over the course of six months, mostly from areas of conflict in Africa, and more continue to stream in.
After having their immediate physical needs met and learning the gospel, the refugees go into the next phase of integrating into society. As they move into their own homes, local missionaries continue visiting them, the leader said.
“Usually they invite us to come, and they feel very proud to cook for us – at last it is more about a family than a center,” the leader said. “Many families receive government help, but we think it’s better to provide training in different jobs or kinds of business for them to support themselves. This is why we want to start different kinds of businesses to train them, as well as support the ministry among refugees who no longer need aid.”
Local missionaries are helping transform refugees’ lives in various parts of Europe. Please consider a donation today to help equip and encourage them in the task.
*Names changed for security reasons