The warm welcome that many Muslims from Syria and Iraq have experienced in European countries has opened their eyes to the gospel, as hundreds of refugees are accepting Christ at a dramatic rate.
"Some European communities welcomed immigrants and harbored them, showing love to them," a ministry director in Iraq told the Christian Aid Mission. "This stirred feelings in the Muslim world, as they started realizing the difference between European countries, which carry the principles and history of Christianity, and Muslim countries such as Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states, which refused to receive any refugees."
According to CNN, while most of Europe has attempted to answer the humanitarian crisis, no Syrian refugees have been resettled in Persian Gulf nations like Kuwait, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, countries with significant financial and political interest in Syria. Officials in such areas have defended themselves by noting that each has given millions of dollars to the United Nations to help the refugees.
However, because they are shut out of the Persian Gulf states and are facing hostilities from ISIS, many Syrians and Iraqis have denounced Islamic teachings in social media outlets, and in the past few months, hundreds of Muslims have come to Christ.
"What ISIS is doing today is dictated by the Quran and Islamic books and has become visible and public to people," the ministry director said. "Every day we hear testimonies from Muslims that have accepted Christ."
The ministry director shared the testimony of one of his childhood friends, who was forced to flee Iraq. After making it to Turkey, the Muslim survived a treacherous trip to Athens on one of the feeble "boats of death" before arriving in Germany, where he telephoned the director in Iraq.
"He said, 'I found all love, respect, and appreciation in Christians, and all that I saw of believers in Christ was the purity and sincerity of heart, and the love is unconditional,'" the ministry leader said. "And then he asked me how it would be possible for him to follow Christ. He surrendered his life to Christ over the phone; he and his wife prayed and asked the Lord to enter into their hearts and help them with their new life."
Despite facing prejudice from many in Middle Eastern countries, Syrian and Iraqi refugees find themselves embraced by Christians. One ministry leader in Lebanon revealed that he opens church doors on Friday evenings to refugee families for coffee, socializing and sharing about Jesus.
"We often see miraculous answers to prayer," he said, adding that one of his team members had been meeting for Bible study with a Muslim woman named Yana, whose eyes were slowly being opened to the truth of the Gospel.
"Her brother was very ill and was told by a doctor that he had to be hospitalized immediately or he would die," he said. "Having no money, Yana pleaded for prayer for her brother. Soon after being prayed for, the brother's fever left, and he stopped coughing up blood."
Yana informed the doctor that her brother no longer needed treatment, but he refused to believe her story until he witnessed the miraculous healing for himself.
"Together they went to the home of Yana's brother, and the doctor was able to see for himself that the illness was completely gone," the ministry director said. "The doctor was completely amazed and described it as a miracle. Yana accepted the Lord Jesus into her life and went on to share the good news with all her neighbors."
He added, "Praise the Lord Jesus that His glory has been revealed among this community!"
As the cold weather approaches, Christian ministries are asking the international community to help provide for winter needs, as families in 90 tents have an urgent need for heaters, firewood, and food.
"They need immediate help from us, since no one can work in winter time, and their life is getting even harder," the director said. "We have visited a tent where a mother had a 10-day-old son. They were freezing, and the baby was coughing, so we brought him to a doctor, paid the expenses and got medicines for cold and bronchitis."
"We have also received phone calls from the refugees, and they keep telling us about their urgent need for items to keep them alive," he said, adding that in addition to physical needs, many refugees display a thirst for spiritual fulfillment.
"They had asked some questions about Jesus," he said. "They kept saying they knew about Jesus from the Quran, so we explained verses from their book that salvation will be only from Jesus. We prayed for them. We are also praying that we can bring help to the other 90 suffering refugees soon, and that we can touch their hearts to the Lord Jesus."
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