Bringing Hope To Persecuted Refugees
When your faith leaves you with only two options – run or die – what would you do? Read on to discover this brave family’s story of fleeing for their lives and finding hope at last.
“My father-in-law said that if you don’t renounce Jesus, we will give you over to the Taliban. They will stone you and kill you. So, we fled from Afghanistan because if we didn’t, we would have surely been killed,” Fatima tells us.
Every year millions of Christians in the middle east suffer persecution and oppression because of their faith. Often, they are left with two options – get killed or run away. Fatima and Hasan along with their two children are the fortunate ones who made it to Europe alive, but they didn’t know what was awaiting them in Greece.
Fatima continues, “When we got here, we had to live with other Muslims in a refugee camp. It was so dangerous for us to practise our Christian faith. One day they found out that we didn’t follow Islam and went to Church, so they beat and threatened us and said that they would kill us if we continued.”
The couple went to the Police but found no help, so Fatima cried out to the Lord.
“I prayed to God and said, ‘Lord your word says forgive those who persecute you, so I forgive these people. We take refuge in you. You are God almighty, please save us from the enemy.’
Every year millions of Christians in the middle east suffer persecution and oppression because of their faith. Often, they are left with two options – get killed or run away.
Vision of Hope
“God gave me a vision. He was showing me images of people being taken into captivity. Christians being persecuted and beheaded and running for their lives which I couldn’t understand at the time because I was 14 and I’d never been to the Middle East. I’d never met any Muslims or Middle Eastern Christians,” says Yochana.
Yochana is the founder of the International Christian Consulate that helps rescue persecuted Christians fleeing from the Middle East. It was only when the Syrian conflict began, her vision started to unfold before her eyes.
Yochana continues, “In the book of Galatians, in chapter six verse ten it says, do good to all people, but especially those of the household of faith. When I came here. The Christians were completely alone. Nobody was helping them. Nobody was listening to what was happening but you know, when Jesus comes back, he’s going to judge the nations based on how we treated his brothers and sisters.”
A Safe Home
Today, the ICC brings hope to many displaced Christians by providing safe housing to numerous families along with food and education. Fatima’s family is one of them.
“I have received the love of God here at ICC,” says Fatima. “I am so happy that now we live in a safe place. We can study the bible together; we can worship Jesus. We also learn English and Greek. I lost my family in Afghanistan but here I have found a new family and I am very thankful to God.”
Yochana adds, “This is like an outpost for the kingdom. And discipleship is really important. Jesus said, go into all nations and make disciples. He didn’t say, just go make converts and then leave them. No, he said, make disciples. So, these are people who have come from places where converting to Christianity is illegal and it costs them everything”
“I have received the love of God here at ICC,” says Fatima. “I am so happy that now we live in a safe place. We can study the bible together; we can worship Jesus.”
More than 5000 people visit the ICC’s ‘House of faith ’every year but it doesn’t stop there. ICC have plans to build a ‘Healing Sanctuary’ and God has already provided the land for this project.
“It’s very beautiful,” Yochana tells us.
“Our next step is to develop that to make it into a real place of safety. So, people can come with the trauma that they’re carrying. They can come for a week; they can come for a month. And, you know, just spend time resting and recuperating, but also engaging in some activities like small scale farming and therapeutic activities in an environment which is actually quite healing.
I know that God will provide for this because this is his mission, his vision, his work, and God owns the cattle on a thousand Hills.
I’m grateful for every person that wants to come on onboard and help support this work. It’s going to cost around a hundred thousand Euros to get this next stage done, so that’s going to cover the communal areas, the toilets, the showers, the kitchen, the storage facilities, the well, the tents and the solar system.
It’s a big amount of money, but God will provide.”