Aram’s Exodus: One Refugee’s Story of Escape and Redemption

Aram* grew up in an Iranian home of great privilege. His father became a renowned imam, a spiritual teacher of his city and its outlying regions. Not only that, his father served faithfully in the military as a fighter pilot. He was a military hero and spiritual leader. Aram had every reason to expect an upbringing of plenty and protection. Such was not the case, however. Neither was his home life happy: his father was detached and controlling. As a child Aram recalls being beaten mercilessly just for playing with a Christian. He longed for a father of mercy, of nearness, and a home of peace. He sought it in Islam, but never found it. Allah is referred to by many names in the Koran, but father isn’t one of them.

A Dangerous Journey
Escaping from his father’s tyranny, Aram set out for Europe. He had no clue where he might end up. The journey was long and perilous. He recalls the most horrific part: the two-hour boat trip from Turkey to Greece. On an inflatable raft meant for 25 people, 87 braved the turbulent waters. The raft began to fill with water, meaning a most certain death for all on board. Aram, a diabetic lacking his medication, was able to bail water for hours. "I can't explain it. I felt peace ... and a power rush over me. God met me there.” It wasn’t Allah, though. It was something, someone completely different. Aram sensed God preserving his life for something more. In that moment he began a search to know this God who preserves and protects.

Aram eventually made it to Berlin and became friends with a woman who attends our church. Niki sensed Aram’s spiritual hunger and brought him to our German/Persian Bible study. We saw the scars from years of physical and emotional abuse. He shifted nervously in his chair, scanning the room for possible recording devices. If it was known he was attending a Christian Bible study, it could have dire consequences for himself and his family.

On a Monday night, while studying the Passover in Exodus, God met Aram again. He saw God’s care, His provision, His protection of His people from certain death. Aram also saw from Luke 22 that Jesus is the true fulfillment of the Exodus. He then asked the questions we all dream of hearing as missionaries: “What should I do? How can I believe?” On that Monday he confessed his sinfulness, his need for Jesus’ blood to cover the doorposts of his life, and entrusted his life to the only God who provides and protects. He finally found a home. And a Father who loves him.

David Stoddard is MTW’s international director for Europe, serving from Germany. Aram continues to attend the Bible study and soaks up Scripture. He attends worship regularly and was recently baptized along with four other refugees. 

*Name changed for security reasons.

___________________________
 

This year’s pre-conference to the PCA Global Missions Conference is “Welcoming the Refugee.” Join us in Dallas November 9–10 to learn about refugee and immigration issues from ministry experts. You’ll hear powerful stories of changed lives and find out how you can be part of a worldwide kingdom movement to be the hands and feet of Jesus to the displaced. Learn more at www.mtw.org/preconference.

 

David Stoddard in Berlin SW Germany on Jul 11, 2017

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Pray for Muslims coming to faith in Christ across Europe. Pray that they would be discipled and find a church home. 

Pray for the refugees who have recently immigrated to Germany and are being drawn to Christ and becoming active in an MTW church.

Pray specifically for the refugees in Berlin with whom our missionaries are building relationships. Pray that these refugees would come to faith if they do not know Christ.

Pray for MTW's ministry to refugees in Greece, Germany, Ukraine, Uganda, Panama, and the U.S.

Give thanks to God for a movement of the Spirit spreading across Europe opening doors that have been long-shut.

Praise God for breaking through barriers in Germany and producing long-sought-after fruit! Pray for new believers to grow in their faith and lead others to Christ. 

Pray for Europeans who have heard the gospel but are hesitant to fully commit to Christ. Pray that God would draw them to Himself.

Pray for refugees who have flooded into Greece and Germany and are encountering believers from MTW church plants. Pray that they would find community among believers and come to faith in Christ.

Pray for missionaries seeking to minister to those who are critical and hard to love. Pray that missionaries would love their neighbor as Christ loved us. 

Pray for churches to grow in passion for unreached people groups and to mobilze members to give and serve.