She pointed to her brightly colored hijab (head covering) and said, “back in Syria I would have been killed by Isis for not wearing black!”
This is the story of Abda. I interviewed her while in Lebanon. For this story, her name has been changed and the image here is not factual but her story is very real. Our visit was almost 25 minutes so this is a condensed version of her story. She was a very attractive young Syrian woman, a mother of nine and almost a widow. But “almost” is the story…
Abda came to Lebanon three years ago to escape Isis when her house was bombed. When Isis had come to her home, she and her husband hid in the mountains with several of their nine children. Other family members fled to Lebanon. Abda and her husband eventually worked their way to Lebanon leaving a daughter in Syria. She did not know if her daughter was alive or dead.
They got to the Lebanon border and they were stopped and told by the guards that they would not be allowed to get into Lebanon and they would have to go back to Syria. While the guard was inspecting their papers, he came across her son’s name, Isa. Isa is Arabic for Jesus in the Quran. She said, “I named him after Jesus although I did not know Jesus yet.” The guards told the family that they could enter Lebanon just because she had a son name Isa!
When they got to Beirut, hungry and with very few possessions, she met-up with her sister. Her sister told her they could get some food and clothing at a church nearby. Abda went to the church, received some food and then someone at the church prayed for and with her. She said, “I was just there for the food, I did not know how to pray.”
The second time she came to the church for food, the people began sharing their hearts about how they had met Jesus. Abda was touched. She knew she did not want to live the way she was living but she also did not want to become a Christian. But she became curious to know more about God and she accepted an invitation to come to a worship service.
Shortly afterwards, her husband got very sick. He was always tired, could not walk and so could not work. Abda took him to the doctor and they ran tests, discovering he had a severe of lack of blood in his body. They had to go to the hospital so he could receive some blood but finances were obviously a problem. She wondered with the lack of blood and a lack of oxygen to the heart, how he was even living. Some of the people from the church and her family volunteered to give blood, so the hospital admitted him. He received four bags of blood and began feeling better.
A month later, he began feeling tired again. After re-testing him, the doctor said that all the blood given to him was gone from his system. The hospital gave him some medicine, other friends gave more blood. But his body would not take the blood and the hospital told Abda that he was going to die. The doctor told her, “I can’t do anything about it, just take him home.”
Abda was crying and watching him die in front of her but she could do nothing. She knew the church was praying for her and they told her to have faith. The pastor told her, “If you have faith in God, your husband will be healed.” After she went home, she found her husband laying on the floor, unable to move. She grabbed her husband and told him, from the bottom of her heart, “Have faith in God and He will heal you.” “Don’t believe in anything else, just believe in Jesus Christ.” Abda prayed to God, “I believe in you and if you exist like you are saying, give blood to my husband.” “God I know you are alive and the doctors could not do anything, but I believe in you and I know you can do it, you can heal him.”
Within a month, her husband was healed. His blood was completely restored. The doctors were amazed. They told Abda that this was impossible but her husband told the doctors that God was alive and he had healed him.
It’s been a year since God’s healing touch and God has been helping them with everything. Abda said, “I and my family are serving God and putting all our lives in His hands. I am teaching my children about the love of God and the peace that He gives us. Even with war and everything else happening around them, He is never going to leave them. And the best thing He has shown us, is that we will be with him at the end of the world.”
She concluded, “We did not know Jesus in the Islamic world, but now we know how loving and how peaceful he is. I thank God for saving us from the war and letting me know him. I have no fear and will keep talking about God and serving him. I hope that anybody that is away from God will meet him and know how loving and peaceful he is.”