An Iranian couple who fled economic hardship and violence in their hometown became Christian. Before, smugglers had taken her hostage.

Omar and Jayda * decided that it was time to leave their city in Iran. For two years they had discussed how to get to Europe.

The situation in their city got worse every week. Poverty, violence and constant instability made the future bleak. After borrowing from their bank, they set out for Greece, the gateway to the European Union.

However, they were barely over the border when their “guides” (human smugglers) attacked them, deprived them of their possessions and held them hostage for a week. Captive, threatened with knives and no other options, Jayda’s mother sent more money from Iran for their release.

Freed but penniless, the couple wandered through dangerous parts of Athens. After a while, they finally stopped in front of a house where they were invited on Sunday by two women to an international service. According to God’s plan, they met some old friends there and were invited to a Farsi service next week. Persuaded by the promise of Iranian home-cooked food, they cautiously accepted.

The next Sunday, it was clear that God was worknig in their hearts – they felt an indescribable peace as soon as they arrived in the service. But the decision to learn more about Jesus was not easy. Omar had been working in his local mosque in Iran for ten years. Their Muslim friends and family in Iran have been their only support so far and their lifeblood during their time as a hostage and during their time in poverty in Greece. Turning their back on Islam would mean estrangement from their loved ones.

Three months passed. Gradually, Omar and Jayda learned to trust God and decided to make their belonging to Jesus public through baptism. Their lives are still hard, but through Christ they have found the ability to forgive their smugglers and those who have harmed them. They now know the true peace and joy that come from a relationship with their Creator. They hope to move to Germany and continue to serve the Iranian refugee community and reach them with the light of the Gospel.

(Names changed for security reasons)