It took five long, lonely years before Fatima*, an Afghan mother of five, could finally embrace her husband, Sayyid, again. During their escape from their war-ravaged country, Sayyid was shot in the hip by the border police and unable to make the exhausting journey across Turkey and the Mediterranean Sea. Sarah and Andrew – WO global workers – met and befriended Fatima when she arrived with her children at a camp near their town.
During those five years, the family began to change: feeling the freeing effects of a European culture originally based, in part, on biblical ideas. Sarah has had numerous opportunities to pray with Fatima for the safe return of Sayyid, for healing (both are severe diabetics), and the insurmountable paperwork. In response to life questions from their children, Sarah and Andrew have also furnished them two Bibles in their own language.
Several weeks ago, after a perfunctory tea and Sayyid stepping out of the room, Fatima boldly proclaimed her opinion that Westerners have better ‘hearts’ than Muslims. Andrew disagreed with her, saying that all hearts are evil apart from God’s saving work.
The challenge with our ‘cousins’ is to move their eyes away from works and religion to issues of the heart, and free grace in Jesus. For this reason, this conversation was a breakthrough moment for Fatima.
It is a joy and privilege for Andrew and Sarah to walk alongside Fatima, Sayyid, and their family on their journey of integration into a new culture, but also their journey into an encounter with the triune living God through His people.
There are many other displaced people who share similar stories. Since 2016, Andrew and Sarah have met and worked primarily with Syrians, Afghans, Iranians, and Iraqis – some of whom have become like family. As the horrific events unfolded in Afghanistan last month, they received a voice message from Fatima saying that her family had spent the whole last week weeping over the destruction of their country and friends and family in harm’s way.
Please join us in prayer for Fatima and Sayyid, and so many other Afghan families alike.
*Names changed for security of our workers and those they work with.
Written by WO global workers, A & S, serving with refugees in Europe.