Imagine being married to a Taliban fighter – a man of terrifying rapport and horrible violence – a global enemy. This was the dark reality for Aadab*, whose normal life was full of instability and governed by a harsh, twisted morality. Even essential things like family were overtaken; through her husband, loyalty to the clan was enforced over loyalty to her own children.
One fateful day, after the violence came to her own doorstep, Aadab was left alone with no husband and two young children, but with an opportunity to change her life. On that day she realized her family’s safety would only be found in escape.
Along with many others fleeing hostility in their home countries, she chose to risk her family’s life to the the danger of an inflatable raft journey captained by rough smugglers. Jammed in a tiny raft with many others seeking the same fate, Aadab fled her war-torn home with her children to seek a better life.
When Aadab arrived in Greece, the smugglers immediately demanded payment, though she had no money.
Yet God had a plan for her. In order to work-off her debt, Aadab joined a group of women who met to learn how to make and sell bags. Imagine that this happened to be led by an Muslim-background immigrant named Parisa, whose Christian ministry in Athens teaches not only crochet but the Bible.
Aadab was captivated with the woman who sat with them and talked about God like she knew Him. She was still, resolute, and peaceful in a city deep in financial crisis, then swarmed with desperate people.
Aadab had never seen such peace in the midst of s deep waters. Her whole life had been heartbreak. She wondered what it would be like to feel hope, to feel safe? Spellbound by Parisa and by the glow of her hope, one day Aadab approached her.
“Tell me why you, in the middle of this destruction, feel no turmoil? Why is your heart light?”
Parisa then told her about Jesus and the adoption into His family that the Father offers because of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. Aadab had never felt like she was part of a family, but she wanted what Parisa clearly had: belonging. Parisa talked to Jesus not as a prophet, but as a Savior.
Aadab left Greece, continuing further into Europe. But the words “new life” came with different meaning now. She left the Middle East in pursuit of a new life in Europe. She found it in ways she had never expected.
Many Muslims like Aadab are arriving in Europe. They are leaving broken cultures and asking, Why are things this way? Why are Muslims killing Muslims? Why are the Christians helping us, not the Saudis, the Qataris? How do they have peace and hope? Why don’t we have those things too?
A GEM worker serving in Greece alongside Parisa’s ministry quoted 2 Corinthians when responding to the question, “Why are women like Aadab accepting Christ”
“Men will praise God because of your obedience that accompanies your confession.”
Obedience which accompanies confession. Will we as believers be obedient to the call of Scripture, to the call of the One who adopted us and gave us hope? It is GEM’s belief that all the nations of the world can be reached through ministering to Europe. Now more than ever, all nations are represented. As migrants and refugees flood the major cities, let us be found in obedience – caring for, loving, and confessing the Hope of Christ to our neighbours.
*Name changed for security reasons