As you know, we’re praying for the city of Mardin this month. Though Mardin is not typically considered part of the Arab world, the Syrian Civil War has pushed hordes of people to flee across the border into Turkey, making it a crucial part of our ministry outreach. In fact, Turkey continues to host the largest number of refugees worldwide with close to 4.1 million refugees, including 3.7 million Syrians. And one of those Arab refugees is Miran*.
A long pursuit
Miran is a very recent contact of ours, first getting in touch via WhatsApp at the beginning of April. But his pursuit of the truth began a few years ago.
‘After fleeing Syria in 2014, I found myself in a new city. I wanted to understand more about the different kind of people I was living beside. I consider myself a thinker, so I thought I would read the Bible for general knowledge. At least, that’s what I told myself. Really, though, I had some doubts about Islam. I also participated in discussions on Facebook groups about all sorts of religions. After I left Islam for a temporary period and believed in Christianity, I became terrified. I started having awful dreams about demons, so I returned to Islam. Though I put the Bible down and didn’t reread it for years, the seed of Christianity was planted. It stayed in my heart.’
Leap of faith
Miran went on to explain that he kept sensing something was wrong in his life. Recently he went through a period of intense fasting and praying, but things went from bad to worse. He said it was as if his life was going in the opposite direction, and he felt he was hearing nothing from God.
‘Maybe it’s because I’m a little older and wiser, but I had greater courage to research the Injil again. I’m at a point in my life that I need to understand and have security in my faith.’
He began to reread God’s Word. This time, something had changed in his heart.
‘I read the whole Old and New Testament, from beginning to end. After that, I told my Christian friend that I believed it was true. Is it a mere coincidence that I found your Facebook ad a few days after I dared to believe Christianity was the way? And that I saw Jesus in a dream after I believed in him?’
Our responder assured Miran that it was not a mere coincidence and that Jesus has been pursuing Miran’s heart.
Over these past two months, our response team have been sending Miran encouraging Scriptures and online ministry materials and spending time with him exploring answers to biblical questions. Though he has engaged to some extent, Miran is struggling with depression. His most recent question is
‘As God redeemed our sins at the atonement of Christ, why are we still on earth?’
We’re thrilled that Miran has accepted salvation. His testimony is very encouraging, as we can see God’s faithfulness and intentional pursuit of this young man. But Miran has been through some incredibly difficult circumstances. Making sense of a new faith while grappling with questions of life’s purpose alongside depression is exceptionally challenging.
Ways to pray
- Ask the Lord to fill Miran with his peace that passes all understanding. Jesus walked this earth and experienced depression and sadness. He is the almighty comforter who is full of empathy and love. Pray that Miran will know that deep relationship with him and fully trust his Saviour.
- Pray for our responders as they disciple Miran. Ask God to lead them with grace and wisdom as they speak into this young man’s life.
- Lift up Arab refugees living in Turkey. Many are in similar situations to Miran, struggling with life’s meaning, and needing a sense of direction. Pray that seekers would turn to the Lord and put their trust in him.
*Name changed. Image for illustrative use only.