A Refugee’s Encounter with God
A Refugee’s Encounter with God
“What kind of father are you?” the immigration official asked. His voice was full of scorn.
Something within Amin broke. The strength that had carried him and his family through the last few difficult weeks crumbled.
Amin couldn’t argue with the man. The hardship Amin and his family had endured was apparent in their faces, and this official held the power to grant or refuse Amin’s family refuge in Cyprus. Their circumstances were the result of Amin’s actions. Yet, he hadn’t done anything wrong. In fact, he’d tried to do something right.
Just a few weeks before, Amin had been a successful mechanical engineer in Iran. He and his wife, Roushan, were well educated and lived in a comfortable home with their four-year-old son. They were faithful Muslims and had a good life.
Then Amin’s employer informed him he would need to travel to Syria for work. Amin complied. But en route, he discovered the trip’s true purpose was to press him into service with a group of Muslim extremists. Amin’s employer had conspired to send him to fight an unjust war.
Amin fled to Turkey, sending a message for Roushan to meet him there. Reunited, they quickly realized their family would not be safe in Turkey either. So, they moved on to Cyprus.
Amin, Roushan, and their son bounced between cheap hotels and caught a few nights’ sleep at a friend’s home. But for a long-term solution, Amin would have to find work and a more permanent place to stay.
There is No God
After losing everything in a matter of days, Amin tried to obtain papers that would allow his family to become legal residents in Cyprus. The immigration official loudly criticized Amin for his predicament.
“What kind of father are you, coming to Cyprus as a refugee with your wife and child and no place to shelter them, no way to feed them? Why would you do this?”
Desperate to provide for his family, Amin endured the humiliation of the official’s reproach. Without warning, a business trip had turned into the hardest and most frightening weeks of his life. Amin couldn’t help but wonder, What kind of god would let something like this happen to good people? What kind of god rips a family from their home and abandons them to beg for bread?
The answer Amin came to was simple: No god would do that. There must be no god.
Amin abandoned Allah, and his family became atheists. In the hard years that followed, as he and Roshan struggled to make ends meet, it was the only thing that made sense.
Then one day, the Every Home team in Cyprus knocked on Amin and Roushan’s door.
A Knock at the Door
Cyprus has a large, diverse refugee population, and its geographic location lends it a unique blend of European, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern influences. Every day, the Every Home team strives to serve those living at this busy crossroads of cultures. The team met Amin and Roushan while delivering food packages to families in need.
“We met their physical needs,” our team said. “God met them spiritually that day. We shared the whole gospel. They were broken, hurting, and asked a lot of questions.”
Amin and Roushan were skeptical but curious. They were in no hurry to get involved in another religion. The last thing they wanted to do was put their trust in someone else who would let them down in their hour of need.
“I think our gesture with the food packages and our genuine love and concern for them made them feel safe and trusting,” a member of our team in Cyprus said.
The team didn’t pressure Amin and Roushan to accept the gospel or attend church. Yet, Amin and Roushan regularly attended church for several months, seeking answers to their questions.
For months, Amin and Roushan listened to the Word of a God who doesn’t leave or forsake. They witnessed the love of his people. Finally, they asked to be baptized themselves.
“I wasn’t looking for God,” Amin said. “He found me.”
Seeing how God has reached out to Amin and Roushan’s hurting hearts has encouraged our Every Home team in Cyprus.
“We knocked on their door, and God met with them that day,” a team member reflected. “God was pursuing them through our ministry. Glory to God! I didn’t know until now the impact we had on lives, but we witnessed Amin and Roushan pass from death into life. We met them when they were atheists, and — in the blink of an eye, it seemed — God did the work in their hearts. These fruits make us tirelessly labor in love for the gospel!”
Amin and Roushan were recently baptized. They have found a community where they belong in their church. After years of struggling to find work, Amin finally has the necessary papers to work at a job in his field. Now, he and Roushan are expecting their second child.
“God has restored my life completely!” Amin testifies.
When Amin stood humiliated before the immigration officer, it seemed his story was a testament to his failures as a father. But Amin’s story is about the Father who will never fail him — the Father who pursues us and sends his people to embrace us amid brokenness.