(Name changed for security)
Fatma is a 34-year-old woman. She lived as a Mulsim in Syria all her life. She practiced prayers and fasting in the hope that there is a God up there who listens to her. She was never sure where her prayers landed or if Allah did listen to her. A Muslim woman is a second rate citizen. If her husband is not pleased with her, she will land in hell even if she prayed, fasted, and did everything the Koran told her to do.
Her husband, Mohamed, started experiencing back pain. He could hardly sleep all night because of the referred pain he felt in both his hip joints. Pain medications did not seem to alleviate the pain.
When he visited the orthopedic surgeon, he informed him, after many tests and X-rays, that he needed back surgery for four prolapsed discs.
This kind of surgery in Syria would be life-threatening, but Mohamed could not work any longer. He felt helpless, not being capable of providing for his family. Mohamad’s brother, Omar, suggested they call on his American pastor friend Andrew. Andrew was an American pastor living in Syria. Omar got to know Andrew because Andrew came many times to Omar’s pastry shop to have coffee and pastry.
Omar asked Mohamed to bring Andrew to encourage them during this difficult time. “Pastor Andrew has a unique relationship with God, unlike anything we have ever experienced. He prays that God will bless my business every time he comes to my shop.” Omar explained. Mohamed and Fatma resisted at first, but they gave in when they knew how special and loving pastor Andrew is. They thought they had nothing to lose.
“Pastor Andrew came to our home and prayed for Mohamed’s back,” Fatma said. “He even prayed for the rest of the family. It was amazing to see that he actually loved us, although he never met us before. My husband’s back was totally healed there, and then! God really showed us mercy because the surgery seemed to be very dangerous. We were worried Mohamed might have complications and not be able to walk or work again.” Fatma accepted Jesus as her Savior there and then. Yet, she is sorrowful, that Mohamed, her husband, who was healed, has not accepted Jesus until today.
Pastor Andrew then invited Fatma to attend a conference on a beautiful mountain top conference center in Lebanon. Fatma was given a single room which many would covet, but Fatma had never slept alone her whole life. Even before she got married, she used to sleep with her three siblings in the same room. She was terrified but could not share her fear with anyone lest they make fun of her.
As she lay on her bed alone that first night, she felt a peace she had never encountered before. “Jesus was right there with me in that room. True, I did not physically see Him, but I could feel that unexplainable peace fill my room. I felt safe. I felt loved. I knew I was not alone: Jesus was right there with me”. Fatma stated.
“Before meeting Jesus, my life was pretty mundane. Now I have the Holy Spirit living in me. He has made me sensitive to God’s voice, and has made me love people in a way that was foreign to me before”.
Pastor Andrew encouraged Fatma to start reading the Gospel of John. “The thing that really touched me was the Father Heart of God and the peace that Jesus bestows on anyone who chooses to accept Him as Savior.”
Fatma was exhilarated to attend the Middle East North Africa conference in Lebanon on August 2019. She knew it was an opportunity to know more about Jesus and meet other believers who are actually living their faith in spite of persecution.
“I could so relate to the course we studied, Unshakeable. It told me how others like Daniel and his friends were not afraid to share their faith even though, like me, they have been displaced from the comfort of their own countries.
Since I accepted Jesus, I have been reluctant to share my faith because I am afraid I don’t know enough information about the Bible. I am so nervous that someone will ask me something for which I do not have the answer.
But I realized that I have a compelling story to share: the story of how God healed my husband. This is a story no one can refute.
I also own the story of how God changed my life. Now, I am encouraged and will share my story with many. Pray for me and for the salvation of my husband.